Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered by Square Enix as the title suggests, is a remastered version of the PlayStation 2 version of Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song that was only released in Japan. And that version was a remake of the original Super Famicon title – Romancing SaGa. Still with me? Okay, good.
In this remastered version, is chock-full of quality of life improvements. Aside from the HD visuals included in more recruitable characters where previously unrecruitable characters like Schiele, Marina, Monica and Flammer are now able to join in your party.
Along with brand new events, enhanced bosses with new music, the addition of mini-maps, new classes as well as a high speed mode that lets you speed up traversal, or make battles flow faster.
A Tale to Tell
The story of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is told through the perspective of the different playable characters in the game. And while two characters might start off in completely different locations, they would be able to interact and travel together if recruited to your team.
This makes for good storytelling since it allows players to feel like they’re going on a grand adventure that’s part of this one big world as they slowly uncover the story set in the land of Mardias.
The land of Mardias is huge, packed with many faces both friendly and not so friendly. Each location you travel through feels both visually and culturally distinct from one another. From the pristine and bustling place of Crystal City, to the port town of Yeoville acting as a key trading centre, to the rough streets of South Estamir, filled with thugs and starving children.
Characters in the game have voice acting and it makes for a great addition since it manages to give these characters more personality, making the game feel more alive, even if some of the voice acting are sub-par.
Meanwhile, the soundtrack are really memorable. Tracks like Overture manages to give off a grand and epic feel as if you’re setting off on an adventure, while tracks like Passionate Eyes Captivating Dance gives off a snazzier feel as you follow the rhythms and break into dance.
Visually, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered definitely got a fresh coat of paint as compared to its PlayStation 2 counterpart. Visuals look clearer and sharper but still manages to keep that vintage feel with it. Although, I’m personally not a big fan of the character models. They don’t look bad per say, but it took me a while to get used to its uniqueness.
A Poetic Saga
If there’s one way to describe Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- as a whole, it’s very reminiscent to a tabletop RPG. Similarly to something like Dungeons & Dragons where the player’s actions will change the story’s outcome. If you’re a fan of that style of playing, you’ll be in for a treat.
One of the main highlights is how open the game is in letting players choose the journey they want to carve out. Players are given the freedom to explore just about everywhere and anywhere the moment they pick a character. They’re able to venture out the beaten path and experience the game’s sea of content and the best part is that there’s no “right way” to play the game.
Although the openness of the game is not without its flaws. The game rarely holds your hand and the quest description are extremely vague without much information given. This makes reading up a guide being recommended if you want to avoid painstakingly travelling everywhere and hope you’re going in the right direction.
As for combat, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- is the classic turn-based combat, but adds in some twists to the formula. There are some key factors that you’ll need to keep an eye out in fights, first of which is Battle Points (BP), a resource that a character can use to perform powerful actions and regenerates over the course of combat.
The other factor being Durability Points (DP) that shows you how worn out a weapon is, once a weapon is out of DP, it becomes unusable till it’s repaired. (something like the weapon durability in Fire Emblem but the weapon doesn’t disappear if the DP runs out).
Characters learn skills through an in-battle trigger called “Glimmers” where characters can randomly use a new skill during challenging fights or how proficient the character is with their weapons. And while characters don’t have levels, they instead gain stats which are randomly given out after winning a battle.
Hit Points (HP) automatically replenishes after every fight, but if a character’s HP falls to 0 during a fight, they will be knocked out but they can be brought back into the fight when healed. Although, this is not without risks as failing to heal a knocked out character will cost them Life Points (LP) that when reached 0, the character will be permanently lost. Though you can restore LP as well as weapon DP by resting at inns in the cities.
The game gives you a lot of information at the start which can be extremely intimidating at first, but I feel like the game explains it well enough and if you have the patience to read through, you’ll be able to get used to all of the stuff as you progress through the game.
Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is a breath of fresh air to the traditional JRPG system. Which makes it baffling that it came from a PS2 game, it just feels way ahead of its time. Mixed in with its style of storytelling as well as an in-depth and interesting combat system, the game makes for a unique experience to play through.
However, I personally have a few gripes with the game and some of its design choices. One of which is being unable to control the camera at all, which is very odd and frustrating. Especially in dungeons where there’s dangers lurking in the corners and you might just unknowingly get ambushed as the enemies are outside of your camera view.
But if you’re willing to look past its flaws and if you’re tired of the conventional RPGs that follow the same formula. Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered offers an immersive game filled with impressive world building, in-depth battle mechanics, as well as an interesting cast of characters.
|High Replayability||Information might be overwhelming for new-comers|
|Fresh and unique concepts||Very vague quest lines|
|Rich world paired with in-depth combat||Questionable design choices i.e: uncrontrollable camera|
Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered was played on the Nintendo Switch.