Game: SaGa Frontier
Release date: 1998
A lot of gamers--especially American ones--love to complain about Squaresoft's SaGa series. I'm not one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed playing through each of the series' GameBoy iterations--known as Final Fantasy Legend in the States--as a tot, and I've similarly enjoyed what (admittedly little) I've played of the Super Famicom-based Romancing SaGa titles. That said, none of those games have tripped my trigger as much as the series' first 32-bit offering, SaGa Frontier. Sure, this expansive, open-ended RPG (one of the many traits it shares with its predecessors) isn't for everyone, but those looking for something out of the ordinary for the genre are most likely to enjoy it. My favorite aspects of SaGa Frontier: Its sci-fi setting; its non-linear storylines; its bevy of playable protagonists, party members and optional quests; and its beautiful battle scenes. That last bullet point, by the way, is chiefly responsible for my enjoyment of this crazy, Akitoshi Kawazu-crafted creation--especially when one of the game's many over-the-top combination attacks come into play.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts