Hi all. Friday December 15th, Romancing SaGa 2 drops on all formats. You should buy it.
It’s an amazing game but it does have its idiosyncrasies. Here is a quick primer to help folks that aren’t quite familiar with Akitoshi Kawazu’s brand of crazy W/JRPG hybrids.
First and foremost, no you don’t need to have played Romancing SaGa 1 beforehand to know what’s going on. Each SaGa game is in its own universe. That said you should play the PS2 remake of Romancing SaGa. It was brilliant.
Unlike most JRPG’s you aren’t controlling one hero (and his/her bros/ladybros) throughout a single world saving quest. Romancing SaGa 2 puts you in charge of a dynasty, gradually expanding your empire, and eventually saving the world many generations after the game starts. More on generations in a bit.
The first thing you need to understand is that your characters have two types of health:
HP, which works the same as you’d expect if you’ve played a JRPG before with some exceptions. First, after each battle HP is completely refilled so you don’t need to worry about healing outside of battle. Second, HP is a shield against your second type of health, LP. Literally life points. If your character loses all of their HP in a battle they are knocked down and lose one LP. If they get hit again while knocked down, they continue to lose LP. If a character runs out of LP they are Dead. Capital D Dead. So make sure you heal any character that gets knocked down. There is no special item to resurrect downed characters. A regular healing item or spell will get them back on their feet so long as they still have LP in reserve.
There is one item in the game which refills LP. The item is somewhat rare so ideally you’ll want to hoard them until absolutely necessary. There is also a cursed ring that will cause all of your party members to lose 1 LP every time they go to an inn/sleep somewhere that isn’t the emperors bedroom. So be careful.
Talk to everyone. There is not an overarching quest line pushing you along. There often aren’t indicators that you’ve started a quest once you’ve stumbled upon one. Often times if you need a push in the right direction your palace advisors may be able to give you a hint, but the game wants you to explore.
Stop back home every once in a while. It is essential that you sit in your throne occasionally in order to be presented with civic building projects. Your people won’t build new facilities unless you tell them to. These improvements range from essential (the magic academy. INVEST IN MAGIC ASAP!) to simply helpful (Expanded living quarters for foreign classes.)
There is also a forge in the back of the castle. The forge is the R+D department for weapons and armor. New items won’t be added to stores unless you research them however with limited exceptions the gear you find in chests is usually better than anything you can get in stores. The forge workers can also turn special items into special weapons. All building projects and R+D cost a pretty penny so fill up the empire’s coffers from treasure chests in the field.
There is a time mechanic in the game. Roughly speaking time passes as a combination of total number of battles + quests completed. Complete a bunch of quests and you’ll reach a time jump.
After the introductory generation you will be asked to select a successor from four of the character classes you have access to.
Note: You start with a handful of default classes, you get access to further classes by completing quests and adding territory to your empire.
The new emperor will carry over the statistics of the previous emperor and also gain the class based bonuses/proficiency. Classes used in previous generations will pass on their stats as well.
Finally all classes will benefit from ‘global’ stat boosts. ‘global stats’ raise the base level for that stat type across the board. So if you use swords a lot with your team in generation 2, characters in generation 3 will start with a higher proficiency in swords (enhanced or hindered by their class.) Global stats make it easier to try new classes each generation and help get characters up to speed with magic.
After ascending, the new emperor can learn a new formation in the dojo. Formations provide position based benefits and may dramatically alter play style. Ideally you shouldn’t ascend a character class more than once as each class only has one type of formation. It’s highly unlikely you’ll learn every formation. It’s 100% worth rotating save slots to make sure you have a save before a generation change to make damn sure you can ascend a character that will give you a new formation.
Each class has a default set of attack/defense/and magic skills. Annoyingly, after a generation change all character att/def/mag skills are reverted to their default set. Att/Def skills carry over from generation to generation however in order for a skill to be added to the skill pool, the character that learns it must survive until the end of the generation. If a character learns some new skills and makes it to the end of the generation all characters in subsequent generations will be able to learn those skills at the dojo. Att/def skills are learned at the dojo. Magic has to be relearned at the magic academy (when open.)
Note: Characters CAN NOT learn new skills if all of their 8 skill slots are full. Always leave at least 1 skill slot open on each character so they can learn new skills! If a character learns an 8th skill, remove a skill that’s already in the skill pool to keep an open spot.
All items are carried over generation to generation and can be picked up from the castle depot. Usable items will often increase in number during the generation switch. Weapons and armor that are equipped by party member when a generation ends will be stored in the depot to be retrieved by the new emperor.
Additions to the re-master (assuming the same content as the mobile version.)
The Maze of Memory is a bonus dungeon. Enemies start very easy, every floor gets incrementally harder. There are four different mazes, each has a helpful bonus for getting apx halfway thru. All four ends with a battle against a bonus boss. Every couple floors you are given the option to exit. The bonuses are definitely worth checking out once you get access to this bonus dungeon.
NG+. Can be accessed any time. All stats, items, and skills carry over. Formations do not.
This is a great game. Buy it. Maybe if enough people do we’ll get the new one out west.