The charm of RPGs has always been in their ability to make us go on grand adventures, to introduce us to all kinds of worlds and the beings that inhabit them, and to tell us stories that move our hearts, whether based on delight or sorrow. . In the case of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered, this is a game that understands that better than any other, and delivers it to you as faithfully as possible.
An unforgettable classic
As the name implies, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is a remastering of Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song for Playstation 2, which is, in turn, a reinvention of Romancing SaGa — nothing more and nothing less than one of the great classic jewels of the memorable Super Nintendo video game catalog, launched in 1992. So far so good? Let’s keep going!
Romancing SaGa It has been the fourth installment of the revolutionary SaGa video game series, created by Akitoshi Kawazu, who is also credited with the existence of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and its successors, and is, in general, an important member of the development team of a large number of titles both in the main line of Final Fantasy and its derivatives.
Saga is a series recognized for its great peculiarity and influence within the video game industry, because its game mechanics break the barriers of the JRPG genre without mercy and without apology, and Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered it only reinforces this fact. From the outset, I warn veterans of the genre that to play it they must forget everything they know about JRPGS, because that expertise will only work against them in this title. But if they succeed, what awaits them is a unique and fascinating experience.
Boundaries? What are those?
The first thing to understand when entering this adventure is that we are in control. Deliveries of Saga they despise the idea of pushing you in a specific direction, their tradition dictates that you decide where, when, how and with whom, in a more literal sense than you can imagine.
Despite the fact that there is a main story, it is not linear, and this is that this game does not even want to order us who to choose as our protagonist or where to start our journey, what it does do is introduce us to the extensive world of Mardias, within which we can travel through various countries and regions, visit cities, towns and villages, all with their particular culture and socio-economic situation.
This in itself already makes it very interesting, but it gets better when you discover that nothing is static: Mardias is a world that breathes with us, it is full of narratives that take place alongside ours, with a wide variety of characters in possession of their own dilemmas and aspirations; something that is even more true in Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered. The detail is that you are the one who decides which narratives you want to be part of at any given moment, which beings you want to meet, how to help or harm them; the path you will travel depends only on you.
problems are shared
You can form your group of adventurers as you prefer, but you must take into account that several of them come with their pros and cons. For example, the status of one of them could give you access to a king’s castle, but you would also have to deal with those who want their head on a platter.
Of course, your actions have both positive and negative consequences, everything you do or don’t do alters both the flow of your story and that of the entire world, thus ensuring that your experience as a player is different not only from that of others, but the one that you will have the second time you play it, and even the third, the fourth, every time!
We cannot go on an excursion without a good musical theme
And speaking of the experience, this one comes very well accompanied from beginning to end with a splendid soundtrack composed by Kenji Ito, whose talents can be appreciated throughout a good number of titles of Square Enix, in which the Mana saga stands out, as well as others outside of it; notably, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2. On the other hand, the iconic and addictive main theme of the game, Minuet, we owe to the singer Masayoshi Yamazaki, who wrote, composed and performed it himself.
To this we add the graphic section, which Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered optimizes to the limit of its capacity, and that has Yusuke Naora, known for his work on most of the installments of final fantasy and his contribution to Chrono triggeras the person in charge of an art direction that provides us with enchanting scenes, resembling oil painting paintings, and an eye-catching character design created based on Tomomi Kobayashi’s precious original designs.
However, I must mention that, because it is a remastering, this installment maintains the animation model that was adopted for the characters in its version for Playstation 2, which seems strange at first glance; It certainly takes some time to get used to his peculiar style.
Excellent, but what about the battles?
While other JRPGS focus on the technical aspect of their dynamics, this one is more concerned that you live the adventure of your dreams; He doesn’t want you to spend dozens of game hours training your characters and stockpiling resources you don’t need, so starting out you’ll realize there’s no such thing as experience points or levels.
The reason for this is that, on the one hand, they are not necessary, from the beginning your characters are competent enough to enter danger; but, on the other, it is precisely that danger that the game wants you to feel when you face the enemy, the uncertainty of what the battle holds for you, and finally the satisfaction of winning and feeling that you are getting stronger -or the frustration of losing against the enemy, which we all know well.
It is essential to highlight that, as in its original version, in Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered the clock that advances the stories of all of Mardias does not depend on time as such, but on the number of fights you have and the strength of your characters, so if you abandon exploration in favor of training them to exhaustion like in other JRPGS, only you will make the game punish you by leaving you behind in its narratives; which is also a futile sacrifice, since, yes, you will get stronger, but so will your enemies!
The advantages and disadvantages of a complex system
This does not mean that the battle mechanics are basic or incomplete, quite the opposite and perhaps not for the better; At first, it can be intimidating for those who play it for the first time, since it is governed by various points systems that try to give balance to the mechanics, and some of which do nothing but get in the way.
In addition to this, a problem that hinders us in Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song and that persists in its remastering is the impossibility of moving the camera, which would not be an inconvenience if it were not because it does not always adjust to what we need, and it is especially annoying when we are in a place infested with monsters that we are trying to avoid or surprise.
But going back to the combat mechanics, despite its complexity, another fascinating aspect stands out: the attributes of our characters increase according to the actions we take while fighting, and for their abilities we have a large number of options at our disposal. . There are many classes we can choose from, and even more abilities within each of them, so we can customize our units with great finesse, as well as skip it entirely if we want to.
A solid remaster
Despite the years, Saga stands strong as a one-of-a-kind line of games, innovative through and through, which is why many say its influence is felt even today. In particular, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered It is a fantastic title that no adventure lover should miss, so it is a great success for Square Enix to bring us this classic back.
We played Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered with a code for Nintendo Switch provided by a Square Enix representative in our region.
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