Romancing SaGa 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 07.01.2018

Review for Romancing SaGa 2 on PlayStation 4

While many JRPG classics of yesteryear have received new life and new audiences thanks to remasters and re-releases, there are plenty of series very deserving that have yet to receive their rebirth, often languishing for no good reason. Series like Breath of Fire, Golden Sun, and Romancing SaGa. Romancing SaGa never received regular releases in the West, but now Square Enix is trying to make up for it by bringing back one of its best on plenty of platforms. Romancing SaGa 2 has now hit PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Cubed3 takes on the PS4 edition…

Romancing SaGa 2 follows the lineage of an Emperor, fighting against demons down through generations. Opening on a generic, old school, fantasy setting, the game begins with the playable character being the current Emperor of Avalon, Leon, with a party made up of his son and a handful of named NPCs. After a fatal disagreement with one of the fabled "Seven Heroes," the Emperor is killed by a special ability, but takes the hit deliberately, to come up with a counter to the move that he can magically pass down to his heir. These Seven Heroes once saved the world but now have returned as monsters, bent on its destruction. With Leon taking one for the team, it's down to his heir to avenge his family and save the world.

This is a system that repeats as the story progresses. The Emperor hands down abilities to the heir and a new character steps up to progress the story. It can also happen if the player is particularly bad at the game. The characters in the party can be permanently killed, the current Emperor included, and so too many deaths can result in the next generation forcibly being brought into the limelight. It's like the precursor to the roguelikes and adds a unique flair to the series. This feature was actually introduced with this instalment of Romancing SaGa, a new stat for each character entitled LP that decreased with each death and it meant that party members needed to be replaced when not looked after. The sad consequence of this system is that supporting characters lacks depth or connection with the player. This isn't Fire Emblem where the supporting cast each has a tale to tell. There are a few named characters to use but many are just personality-free classes.

Screenshot for Romancing SaGa 2 on PlayStation 4

There are, at least, plenty of classes to choose from. There are the usual archetypes of Warriors, Mages, Thieves and Rangers, but also, Monks, Nomads, and non-humans, like fire-throwing Salamanders and Earth-casting mole men. This new version includes two new classes, too, a Ninja and the Japanese Exorcist, the Onmyoji. Each class has its own proficiencies and reasons to use. There is a very strange system to the levelling and skilling up of the characters. Tech points are awarded in combat and the proficiencies with different weapons increase based on their use. This system is nowhere explained and skills seemingly appear fairly randomly, meaning it's difficult to plan out some grinding and setting up support characters in a specific way.

Those aren't the only new features, either, as fans of the original have a few new surprises here to explore. Along with the massive overhaul on the presentation, including crisp sprites with more dynamic animations, stunning backgrounds, and enhanced audio, there is a new dungeon. This "Dungeon of Reminiscence" gives some extra explanation to the history of the Seven Heroes through four different areas and gives an interesting new layer to the story.

The classic turn-based JRPG is only part of the game, seeing how Emperor of Avalon brings some required tasks along with it. The town of Avalon has a number of elements that can be developed, whether it be getting the local blacksmiths to develop new weapons and armour or building up gardens, even creating a University and a Magic Research Facility. It's another interesting element that helps give the series a unique identity.

The gameplay is unapologetically old school, with no improvements in the vein of making combat quicker or the fundamentals any easier for newcomers to understand and the unprepared will be suitably punished. The previously mentioned levelling and skilling system is just the tip of the iceberg. Those willing to invest time will find Romancing SaGa 2 rewards their dedication. This version even adds a "New Game+" feature to help facilitate mastering the complexities.

Screenshot for Romancing SaGa 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

This review is of the PlayStation 4 version of Romancing SaGa 2, and this is something of a negative in the grand scheme. This new remaster is hitting almost every possible platform and this may not be the best option. While the upgraded graphics look a great deal better, they really don't require an HD TV and it feels like this would fit better on Nintendo Switch or Vita. Despite that, there is a great and original experience here, one that hardcore old school RPG fans may have completely missed out on. It may not be for everyone but this is a perfect opportunity to try a classic and unique Japanese experience.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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