Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely thrilled we're swimming in actual SaGa as well as SaGa-inspired games at the moment

I've been keenly interested in Square Enix's SaGa series of bizarro RPGs for a long time now.

Makai Toushi SaGa, a GameBoy title that was rebranded The Final Fantasy Legend before it crossed the pond, introduced me to its wonders all the way back in 1990, but only barely.

I didn't fall head over heels in love with the series until I first laid eyes on Romancing SaGa for the Super Famicom.

That's not to say I've spent a lot of time with that 1992 release. Oh, I've tried, but even with my limited--very limited--understanding of Japanese, all of the text Romancing SaGa throws at you is daunting, to say the least.

Still, Romancing SaGa turned me on to just how beautifully strange an RPG can be in the right hands (especially if those hands belong to the one and only Akitoshi Kawazu)--a point that was driven home during my first playthrough of a game that is now one of my all-time favorites, SaGa Frontier.

Sadly, the series has languished in the wake of that late-1990s offering. Although eight SaGa titles were published (in Japan, at least) between 1989 and 2000, only five have come out in the 18 years since--one of which was a remake of an older effort and two of which depressingly avoided consoles.

Amazingly, other developers have stepped into the void in recent years to provide the world with their own SaGa-esque role-players. The Legend of Legacy was the first of these quirky RPGs to hit the market (back in 2015), and while it didn't quite live up to its initial hype, it proved to be an enjoyable enough experience despite its drawbacks.

That game's just-released (outside of Japan) spiritual successor, The Alliance Alive, is an even better "SaGa-like," in my opinion. It's far less experimental, and a lot more straightforward, than The Legend of Legacy, but both of those qualities work in its favor and help it feel like the best SaGa game not made by the aforementioned Kawazu.

You should expect to see more posts about The Alliance Alive here in the coming days and weeks, by the way. I'm so in love with the game after putting more than 60 hours into it that I've got to gush about it a bit.

Speaking of SaGa-ish games I've got to gush about, or that I've got a feeling I'm going to gush about shortly after I start playing them, Octopath Traveler for the Switch is due out in just under two months. I couldn't be more excited about it, to be honest--especially since it looks to be even more akin to the SaGa games of old than The Alliance of Alive.

Will I be gushing about the last "real" SaGa title, SaGa: Scarlet Grace, sooner rather than later, too? It sure seems like it. No less than Kawazu himself recently revealed on Twitter that an English localization of the game is being worked on as we speak.

And then, of course, there's the Romancing SaGa 3 remake that was announced early last year for mobile and Vita. It's also being prepped for a Western release--although no one outside Square Enix seems to know when that will happen (or if it'll hit systems like the PS4, Switch, and Xbox One as well).

Regardless, it's now abundantly clear that the SaGa, er, saga is far from over. I don't know about you, but that thrills me to no end. You can keep your paint-by-numbers RPGs; I'll take weirdo releases like The Alliance Alive, Octopath Traveler, and SaGa: Scarlet Grace over them any day of the week.

How many of you feel the same way?

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