Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered Review – A Song of Fire & Ice
A remake of Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song for modern platforms has revived this long-forgotten, hidden niche RPG. It is not a standard JRPG, with no hand-holding and a non-linear design. The game requires the user to seek out quests and create their own story. It is not an RPG that I would suggest to anybody because it has a certain niche appeal.
I’ve appreciated the previous Romancing SaGa games for their non-linear design, but Minstrel Song leaves this even more open for the players to explore. This is the first Romancing Saga game to be remade for the PlayStation 2, and it has since been restored for current platforms. It is now feasible to go through all of the Romancing SaGa games without having to search for vintage versions.
Romancing SaGa began as a spin-off to the Final Fantasy series, and each game has a self-contained story in its own right. This implies you don’t have to play any of the other games to enjoy this one. The player is asked to choose from a cast of characters, each with a unique talent and personality. The game has eight distinct primary protagonists. Every character gets a short prologue, and the eventual aim of the story, like in the other JRPGs, is to battle a threat that might lead to the world’s destruction.
The game is not for amateurs. There is no official tutorial to teach the battle mechanics or the story. Whichever character is chosen is then dropped into an open world with complete freedom to explore as they like. You can just rush outside and face a big foe, but you are as likely to perish if you do so. Talking to the NPCs that give tips on some of the primary tasks will lead you to quests. There are tutorials available that explain some of the basics of combat, however, they are provided by an NPC and require a lot of reading to complete.
Minstrel Song is an excellent example of the old-school grind and trial-and-error approach. The game rewards the player for conversing with each NPC. They can give guidance, shed insight into the world and its story, and even open up new locations to explore. There is no right or wrong way to approach the story. Because many elements impact the outcome occurring in the background, each experience is generally unique. The narrative advances are dependent on the battles or quests done by the players.
The progression system is likewise unique, although you might recognize it if you’ve played any of the previous SaGa games. The leveling system is not based on experience points, instead, abilities and magic may be purchased from vendors and subsequently increased via combat use. The game discourages grinding in combat by using dynamic difficulty scaling, where the enemy level grows in tandem with the player, so if you think grinding would get you through a challenging encounter, think again.
The key to completing the game is to master its complexities. You must be prepared to face any of the harder bosses by stockpiling powerful equipment and skills. Learning a technique that causes more damage to a certain enemy might be the difference between victory and failure in a fight. Because the battles are turn-based, the player just selects turns for their party while waiting for the enemy’s turn. There are several elements to consider here, such as character positioning, equipment, and even the amount of time spent in the fight, all of which influence the outcome.
Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song contains so much content that it is impossible to complete in a single playthrough. The game is designed for replay value and provides enough of it, especially if you appreciate the non-linear structure and combat. Many of the quests are simply skippable based on the decisions made by the player during the story. Killing a certain boss before a given time might result in a quest vanishing completely.
Additional playable protagonists and an expanded tutorial section are among the new additions to the remaster. Although it is not as user-friendly, it does shed light on many of the game’s new mechanics. One of the useful quality-of-life features is the ability to rapidly save and load the game. Battles may also be sped up, like with most recent JRPG remasters.
Visually, I felt the visual style to be comparable to Bravely Default. While I like the previous SaGa games, the 3D visuals in Minstrel Song aren’t horrible, but they’re also not appealing. Regardless, this isn’t a game that stands out for its visuals, so it’s not a major concern. The performance is also satisfactory, with the game appearing to provide a native PS5 version that looks sharp and clear with almost no load times.
Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered Game Information
- Price: $24.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher