SaGa series has been a hit and miss when it comes to its localization for the Western market. There have been some efforts in this regard but sadly most of the quality games in the series never made their way to the West. Romancing SaGa 2 is one of these games that was initially never localized when it launched back for the SNES, but after a release on the Smartphones last year, the localization was done and the game was later ported to the Nintendo Switch along with a variety of different platforms like PC, PS4, PS Vita and Xbox One.
Romancing SaGa 2 is actually the 5th title in the SaGa series. It was a major success back when it was released on the SNES but the lack of localization hurt its chance in the Western market. The recent remaster is based on the mobile release and features improved visuals, optimized controls in addition to extra content that launched on Smartphones. Despite having launched in English on Smartphones last year, it took a lot of time to make its way to the West but the good news it that the wait resulted in almost every platform being a part of the launch.
Romancing SaGa 2 is a very old traditional JRPG with the old-school turn-based gameplay. It distinguishes itself from other similar games with an emphasis on the choices that you make throughout the game. Right from the get go, you will be given the option to either go through the main story objectives or attempt to tackle the optional sidequests. There will be plenty to attempt here so there is no shortage of content here. The story in the game is unique in that sense that even if you fail some of the main mission objectives, the game will continue with the story without showing you the game over screen like other games. This works so well because the game is designed with a generation inheritance system that basically makes the story progress for years and through countless generations.
One of the most important aspect in making this system successful is the permadeath mechanic that can kill your party members. Basically it works on the basis of a life system where each of the party member has a certain amount of life points left which are decreased after each death. Once the life points end, they can die permanently eliminating them from your party. This system can prove to be both, fun and frustrating, depending on how you approach the game, but there is no doubt that it works really well with the general flow of the story and makes you reconsider your decisions.
Romancing SaGa 2 story spans across the generation with multiple heroes being a part of the family hierarchy. The game starts with the emperor or empress of Avalon. King Leon and his sons, Victor and Gerard are the first that start the journey of protecting their empire from the evil of the world. For some reason, the world is threatened by the powers of the seven legendary heroes, who instead of being saviors of the world, end up being a threat to it. The missions that you will undertake can range from protecting a village from monsters to taking down the heroes themselves. The game makes it your choice in how to tackle the story elements, and make no mistake, your choices will have their consequences.
As the game literally puts you in the role of a king, you will have an empire to command as you start it. Your role will be to expand it, and this can be accomplished with the gold that you have in your treasury. You can attempt the optional missions to get more gold, which you can then use to create new landmarks. However, you will also have to be careful in spending your gold to make sure you have more than enough for any difficult situation.
As the story moves across several generations, your current character will die and you will be tasked with the decision of choosing a suitable heir in its place. This system works on the basis of the choices that you make during the story so it can be pretty random but the good thing is that you aren’t going to lose any progress that you make, as your successor will inherit all the skills of its predecessor. You can also recruit party members from the towns and villages that you come across during the story, and they are similarly impacted by the transition to a different generation. This system was revolutionary for its time and it still manages to hold up very well even today.
Romancing SaGa 2 might not be for everyone, since it is still held back by a somewhat antiquated battle system, but it does offer a lot of content and a good amount of replay value because of the non-linear fashion it unfolds the story. As for the performance, there is a slight lag to the inputs on the Nintendo Switch but it looks great on the portable screen, and honestly this is the best way to play the game since it is designed around playing in small chunks of time.
Romancing SaGa 2 Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Romancing SaGa 2 is a role-playing video game developed by Square and released exclusively for the Super Famicom system in Japan on December 10, 1993. It is the fifth title in the SaGa series.
A great classic JRPG that has found new home on the current generation consoles. It is a nice little gem but with some short flaws that haven't aged well with time.