7 Stories, One Game
Originally released stateside in March of 1998, SaGa Frontier was a Square RPG that gave you seven different stories and let you tackle them however you saw fit. Each of the game’s seven stories features an outcast or misfit of some sort, thrust into an impossible situation.
The game had a relatively revolutionary method of storytelling called the Free Scenario System, with your main characters meeting a massive cast of support characters, some of which multiple main characters will meet and recruit. You form a team of five, develop their skills, build levels, and do other normal JRPG things like dungeon delving and side missions.
Gaining levels is an invisible background system that has stats randomly increase determined by your activity in the fight. Use a sword, you will probably increase Quickness and Strength. Use Magic, you may get a bump to Willpower, Psychic, or Charm depending on the spell school. You will randomly learn new skills based on the actions you take, with some characters learning different skills faster than others and some skills just won’t be learnable by some characters.
Realms to Roam
The world of SaGa Frontier is split up into regions. Travel between the regions is handled by visiting ports, or in the case of Blue, teleportation. The various realms range from the futuristic to the fantastical. Here is a small sampling of the kinds of regions you can visit:
- Luminous: Mystical nexus between light and dark magic. Many adventures will come here at some point to gain mastery in either element. Maybe both if you want to try your hand at it.
- Koorong: A dank and dirty city with a massive collection of tunnels underneath. Koorong is an important hub for travel, adventure, and economics, or maybe Takenomics.
- Shrike: A little bit suburb, a little bit collection of dungeons, Shrike is a gorgeous little corner of the realms. A corner littered with a lot of dark secrets.
- Yorkland: With more breweries than houses, Yorkland is a go-to location for lovers of drink. This powerful liquor may be in part due to the proximity of the Grail card, part of the Arcane quests. You may have to sample some of the local goods to find the mysterious tarot though.
Parade of Protagonists
Your heroes are a varied and powerful lot. All of them are a cut above the side characters you can acquire and most possess unique abilities that others will never get.
- Red: Is literally a superhero. He can transform, has a host of special attacks he can only use in his superhero form, and even has to maintain a secret identity.
- Asellus: After suffering a tragic accident, Asellus is now a Half-Mystic, a kind of vampire in the world of SaGa Frontier. She can learn magic, weapon skills, and powerful Mystic abilities.
- Lute: Okay, well, Lute is just a guy. A normal dude with nothing special, I guess. But he gets a cool monster buddy and the absolute freedom of building him how you want!
- T-260g: A walking scrap heap with a mysterious past, T-260g is a mech on a quest to help their friends and discover more about their origins.
There are over thirty side characters as well, from a collection of monsters, mechs, mystics, and humans. Each with a basic focus at the start, but are widely customizable once they join your team. Some are unique to one character’s story, while others will feature in everyone’s. Some of the main characters can even join up as a side character!
- Rouge: A powerful magician trying to learn as much as he can about magic to overcome his twin brother, Blue. He can be found in Luminous and most characters can recruit him.
- Nusakan: Creepy back-alley Mystic and Doctor, Nusakan will join you in Koorong if you are looking for the Hide Rune!
- Thunder: Ogre one minute, living spear the next, Thunder is a Monster you can recruit him in Yorkland. Just make sure to bring Lute along with you, otherwise, he will just stare off into the mid-distance.
- EngineerCar: Have an existing mech in your party? Need someone to patch them up? Want party members that will not snitch about your superhero identity? Head over to Shrike with a mech in your team and you can recruit EngineerCar, with his repair pack and machine Vulcan.
Though initially met with lukewarm reviews, SaGa Frontier has maintained an enduring legacy. This has given it a re-release on the PSN store as a PS1 classic in Europe and other games in the SaGa series received remasters on various platforms over the last three years. SaGa Frontier joins those games this year with the release of SaGa Frontier Remastered on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. The remaster features slightly updated graphics, a host of new features, and an entirely new main story character with the IRPO Officer Fuse and his handy Blaster.
This game is one of my absolute favorites and I cannot wait for a new generation of gamers to check it out! You can get SaGa Frontier Remastered on April 15, 2021, digitally on the above-mentioned platforms.
What are some of your favorite games you would like to see remastered?