SaGa Frontier Remastered | Review of the return of a classic JRPG

SaGa Frontier Remastered | Review of the return of a classic JRPG

We have seen in recent years that the launch of remastered versions of old titles can prove to be a double-edged sword and a solution that is not always a winning one, when the relaunch of some video games that the software houses have felt they have to republish has always been done. more constant and frequent. A sometimes useful solution, both to "make cash" and try to enrich our digital and physical libraries with otherwise irrecoverable titles, and to refresh somewhat obsolete titles and offer them to a new audience. But donuts don't always come out with a hole, or rather, remasters come out with all the pixels in the right place and the engaging gameplay. In which of the two series can we catalog the next Square Enix house title, out on Thursday 15 April for the first time in Europe, namely SaGa Frontier Remastered? Let's find out together in our preview review, at the (re) discovery of a classic RPG much loved by fans of the time. In fact, almost 24 years have passed since that distant July 1997, when the first original version of this title was released. Geological eras seem past, "videogame speaking", but how much do they make themselves felt by approaching this video game?

SaGa Frontier Remastered, a rediscovered piece of retrogaming

Let's answer these questions gradually, gradually introducing you to the game. In SaGa Frontier Remastered we have to choose the protagonist, among a roster of a handful of different characters, between humans and mechs. With this companion, we will leave for a journey into a world with a classic fantasy flavor, between objectives to be achieved and different endings depending on the character chosen. The game's plot takes place in a universe called The Regions, a complex of 17 planets inhabited by ever-changing cultures, races, technologies and magical arts. It is precisely these differences that determine the pregnant characteristics of the characters among which we will have to choose our protagonist, among humans, mystics, monsters and robots, without forgetting an important addition, which we will talk about shortly.

But so who are the protagonists of the game? A brief rundown of who awaits us, starting with Red, an apprentice engineer aboard the ship Cygnus, with a tragic past and a mysterious being who not only saved his life, but also gave him superpowers that could save the world from ruin. Blue, on the other hand, was born with an incomprehensible magical power, and will only be able to reach his true potential if he kills his twin brother Rouge and reclaim his power. Not only humans, but also T260G, a mecha manufactured with an ancient core, discovered in an archaeological excavation and entrusted with a mission of vital importance, mystics like Asellus, transformed into the only half-human and half-mystical person in history , or even Riki, a creature in search of rings to save her homeland.

The selection is completed by Lute, a disobedient young peasant and Emilia, an ex-supermodel accused of brutally murdering her boyfriend and who now hunts down a masked man named Joker to do justice. Our advice is to start a first run driving Red or Emilia, and then move on to T260G or Asellus, in order to observe different game dynamics and different ways of approaching the adventure. Compared to the previous version, however, we can also enjoy the addition of a new protagonist, Fuse, whose real name is Roster; a character that we can lead only when some of the conditions required within the game are met, including unreleased content and new songs by Kenji Ito. What are these features that allow us to access these contents? We will find out only by facing the challenges that await us and revealing the world seen from a different side than the other protagonists, at least for those who know the original title and manage to grasp the differences.

You are not part of this class of people? No problem: the game, in the initial phase, allows us to approach the game with the basic options of the title, taken from the original version, or to take advantage of the remastering to seize the opportunity of new features, a choice that cannot be changed. during the run. This last version has remastered graphics, new events and features that did not exist in the original version, thus making it a little more accessible on current consoles, but the retro taste of this classic is certainly not lost, a feature that will know prove to be decidedly "cross and delight" for the players.

This in fact involves the presence of an improved graphic sector and new features, but the style and tone of the original game is still maintained, among not very detailed silhouettes of the our characters, menus with not too simplified accessibility and sometimes woody playability and slow gameplay, probably characteristics more in the ropes of the aficionados of the retrogaming world. The game system, however, remains adherent to the original version: centered on the Free Scenario System, it allows free and non-linear gameplay, giving us the opportunity to roam freely in the different worlds, train, discover secrets, perform sidequests, interact with other characters and face the inevitable optional bosses. On this front, each Region will be experienced differently, depending on the character selected; in fact we can observe how in SaGa Frontier each protagonist can learn any type of technique, without a predefined scheme, but on the basis of the orientation to the type of technique for which the character is suited.

What awaits us in the remastered version

Let's focus now on the real features of this release, between novelties and classic technicalities that have remained unchanged. Compared to the previous version, innovative features have been added and able to rejuvenate (not entirely) the title in question, including doubled speed, as happened to the recent remastered version of another Square Enix title for consoles, Final Fantasy VIII, which definitely makes the game smoother and faster, plus adding scenes that were missing. These are various videos of the Asellus storyline, not included in the original game and inserted to delve even further into its history.

A new user interface awaits us, redesigned for current gaming platforms, and it has been also added support for PC mice (STEAM), in addition to the New Game + function, to start a new game while maintaining the save data of the previous run, including objects, techniques, attributes and more. In this regard, we can also take advantage of the automatic saving, which can be activated at any time of the game and which allows us to take a break without worrying about losing progress.

There are also free scenarios: after selecting one of the eight protagonists available, we will be able to discover various ramifications of the story and different endings depending on the choices made, between battles determined by the formation of three groups starting from fifteen characters, including the protagonist and the learning of new techniques thanks to the so-called Glimmer, who they happen randomly during battles. Finally, there are also the classic combos, because when certain conditions are met, they are activated and allow us to perform techniques, spells and special attacks consecutively during spectacular battles.

A classic RPG, perhaps too much

As we can see, apart from some very small innovations, the rest of the technical specifications of the SaGa Frontier Remastered gameplay closely re-proposes the original version of the game, a title that, in our eyes, seemed decidedly aged, while including the new features of this edition. We said it just now, it could really turn out to be a tasty or opportunity for retrogaming enthusiasts and enjoy several hours of play in the rediscovery of a now niche videogame production, able to celebrate the traditions of the nineties of the gaming world, with backdrops that not only recall the first chapters of Final Fantasy or the Mana saga, but also other more hidden titles, but no less appreciated by the public of the time, such as Tombi or a more hidden The GrandStream Saga.

We remember in fact that the original concept of the first SaGa was born in 1987, with the title Romancing Saga 4 and, although it was released close to the SNES era, it represented a certain departure from the production of the time in terms of graphic sector. However, decades have passed, tastes have changed and the evolutions of this world have been truly profound and almost comparable to geological eras. A fact that determines the characterization of this title by now as taken from the "Jurassic" of the videogame world.

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