Romancing SaGa

A remake of an aged RPG makes its way to the PS2. Find out why you should wait for Final Fantasy XII.

With the dog days of summer now over and fall coming into full swing, gamers have plenty to look forward to. It is fall and winter when so many of our favorite games hit the shelves. Unfortunately for Square Enix, their latest RPG, Romancing SaGa, is not one of those games.

Wake Me Up When It's Over
Rather, what we're given is a convoluted and cumbersome RPG that can barely sustain the weight of its bloated and poorly developed story. For those who can tolerate such soporific narratives, Romancing SaGa encapsulates the formulaic RPG: Bad guy rises from hiding; releases evil onto the world; rag-tag team of young adventures try to stop it. If you aren't already uninspired, the execution and progression of the story will lead you to gouge your eyes out with the blunt end of your PS2 controller.

Unlike most RPGs, which follow a story through a linear progression, Romancing SaGa attempts to offer multiple open paths, leaving the entire world map available to the player on the onset. While the idea might sound good on paper, in the hands of these developers, it only serves to confuse and complicate. In the end, you're left wandering aimlessly throughout town in hopes of finding the lone villager who will help advance the story, or traversing the incessant expanses of abruptly ended caves as countless monsters chase you with an unnerving devotion to end your life, all because you thought there might be something nearby to move the game along. Admittedly, some of these issues are less pronounced once your progress in the game, but by then the damage has indelibly been done.

All That Glitters...
If there's one redeeming thing about Romancing Saga, it's that it has an attractive art style and presentation and a rather unremarkable soundtrack. But moderately pretty graphics and average sound don't offset the labored frustration that follows playing this stilted title.--The Watcher

KEY MOMENT: Realizing that traveling blindly through bland expanses of terrain all while fighting a trail of ensuing monsters was actually intended to be in the game