Here we go, another classic gaming experience turned mobile game. Now, I’ll be honest I haven’t played the original Romancing SaGa or any subsequent games in the SaGa series so my views going forward will be based on my first experience with the series and Romancing SaGa 2 in particular.
Release Date: 15th December 2017 (WW)
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Steam, Xbox One
Rating: PEGI 7
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Immediate impressions of the game, it looks great, but while great looking the more modern, for lack of a better term, elements feel at odds with the 16-bit style sprites. The visuals are still impressive but I would have preferred a style closer to that of the Dragon Quest mobile games that stay as close to the original look as possible while making it feel new and fresh.
When it comes to the plot that’s where I feel the game is a little empty. It’s very light on anything meaningful making the whole experience more of a ‘paint-by-numbers’ JRPG. Part of the point of this game is the constantly changing party members as your characters die and are succeeded by new ones. This is part of the larger story and an interesting feature that I just wish had been better implemented within the story.
One aspect of the game I do like is that character progression is not tied to levels but rather weapons. Certainly not a mechanic we see too often and, love or hate it, Final Fantasy II’s selling point. I personally really enjoy this progression system because it allows you to play freely with your characters and you’ll be rewarded for doing so. This also ties into the character succession system as your stats will be carried over to newer characters giving you more options with how you decide to set up your party.
The battle system is very simple and if you’ve played any JRPG you’ll feel right at home here. The enemy AI can be very easy and more often than not had me wishing for a ‘rush/auto’ button which unfortunately does not exist in-game requiring you to quickly tap through each character’s actions over and over. The enemy AI isn’t a total pushover however as some enemies will manage to take out your entire party as you desperately try to heal wounded members. All while questioning the reasoning behind only giving the party leader the option to run or escape. Meaning that keeping the leader alive during tough battles is essential and annoying as hell when you can’t.
Music is another area that Romancing Saga 2 shines, I honestly wasn’t expecting much in this aspect of the game but it was one of the first things that struck me as I booted up the game. It can get a little samey at times but that’s not an issue unique to this game.
Romancing Saga 2 is an odd entity that has some really interesting and unique features but it's so basic when it comes to the story, look and controls that it's more like an RPG lite and feels very mobile freemium type game. Of course, I can’t compare this with the original having not played it but as far as this mobile port version goes I can’t recommend it at its current price point.
This title was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by Square Enix.