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Thread: SaGa Franchise

  1. #181
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

  2. #182
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time:

    This one will be a doozy. The Theme of tonight's playthrough is how procrastination and screwing around instead of doing what you're told can actually be beneficial.

    After getting thumped like four times by the Dragonlord, and thumped in such a way where I knew I needed better gear and a full party using endgame techs and magic, I departed from the ruins, but stole everything else. I'm pretty sure I've screwed up all of my chances to deal with the Archfiend Tower, so I plunged into taking out the Four Sinistrals (Lufia flashbacks notwithstanding) and so I dropped Boston and recruited Flurry the Snowman, who was a bad trade outside of the fact the guy is virtually immune to fire magic thanks to the item that lets him leave his village. The Fire Temple was pretty easy, and I was a little surprised how low level the monsters in there were. Aunas the Fire Sinistral was rather tame as a boss with only his permanent Self-Immolation protection causing me serious issues. In fact that spell did most of the damage for him. He still went down fairly easily though.

    Next up, I decided to drop Flurry cause yikes, as well as the Minstrel after I stripped all his gear off of him. I went to Loann and picked up Mikhail and then I went to Pidona and picked up Sarah. I didn't make the same mistake with Mikhail as I did with Robin, and I made him my spear specialist which compliments his rapier talents. I did slip into the Ocean Palace to clear of all of its treasures, and it was easily the biggest pain in the ass of the four dungeons just because it loved to use narrow corridors with standard SaGa bajillion enemies trying to bum rush you. was still a little worried about tackling Forneus yet, so I left and decided to tackle fan-favorite and Rocbouquet's successor Buné the Wind Sinistral. I remembered getting my ass handed to me by a different dragon earlier in the game called Gwayne whom my party was trying to convince to help them. Walking back to his den, I ended up hitting pay dirt in a battle where I managed to spark Sky Drive, Yo-Yo, Twin Dragon, and like three different Bow techs. Sky Drive, for those who don;t know is one of the best Axe Techs and one that is ridiculously hard to spark. Once I reached Gwayne, I was ready for another throw down, but this time he actually decided to help me out of his pride as the master of the sky. While this fight was super easy, it wins major points for just being super cool as you battle Buné in the sky with just your lead character and Gwayne. Gwayne is a beast in battle and he has a tech where both of you combine an attack together. Pretty neat. Afterwards, I returned to the boss's den to actually collect all the loot because going with Gwayne makes you skip her dungeon entirely and just fight her. Prety annoying place with the weird ameba monsters.

    With that done and the Celestial Armor I made from the Meteorite Shard, I ventured back into Forneus' den to face him. I have a feeling that either he was toned down for this version, I was a little too over-leveled, or the RNG gods were simply in my favor cause I whooped his ass. I only saw Maelstrom once, and it didn't kill anyone either. The only hard part with him was just keeping the elemental field away from water, which I am grateful I bought Earth Heal for Ellen. After that resounding success, I thought I might as well just take down all four.

    Alloces lair was not what I was expecting, but I have to remember he's technically hanging out in the old Archfiend's Lair. It was a pretty trippy sci-fi setting which was neat. The hard part of this dungeon was just making sure I don't find the boss first before the treasure, especially since this lair had more bosses guarding treasure like two more Meteorite Shards! Again, I was way over leveled but the boss ended up getting an advantage over me since he was the last Sinistral. Reaching his chamber had my party encounter the rude boy you always find in Pubs who always tells you to scram. Anyway, with the previous Sinistrals, when you find their chamber you usually have an opportunity to choose whether you'll fight them or come back later so you can heal up, but this story sequence plunged my party straight into a fight and we were a little more beaten up than I would have liked, made worse by me trying to level up magic for my party cause I've neglected it for so long I don't even have enough MP to cast some of the ultimate spells with some of my characters. Thankfully, Alloces was a joke though he did smack Sarah around since she had the lowest HP/Def of the team. With that over, I hit the major twist in the game and lost a party member but traded them in for the Boy. So with that all over, I decided to call it night after I turned in my last two shards for their items in the Blacksmith and I opened up the Matriarch Trials, which I'll do tomorrow.

    Current Team:

    Ellen - Has become a serious powerhouse, I'm still trying to spark the weapons skill off the Axe I picked up in the swamp ruins where the Dragonlord is. I have made the Bowler Axe as well, but I haven't decided if I'm going to upgrade just yet. I've been trying to power up her Earth Magic and get her more MP. She'll need a lot of work in that area, but honestly now that I have Skydrive, I only have one more tech I need for her Axes, which I hope I will spark since it looks like it's an upgraded group hitting attack. Axes have always been a weapon I underestimate int these titles, glad I went with them in this entry with Ellen. She's my powerhouse of the team. She using a Celestial Armor, Lightning Shoes, Power Gloves and the Royal Ring.

    Khalid - Has been having a seriously hard time sparking any new techs, but he did finally master Monsoon Blade which is a tech he's had for over half the game and is his go to boss killer skill. Like Ellen, I've been trying to level up his magic, and likewise, I'm sticking to raise his Wind Magic, of which Khalid has serious envy with Robin who has four times as much MP and double his level in the magic. I'm happy I have him focusing on swords, and he's currently using the Dragonscale Sword as his main weapon. I can't remember what's he's equipped with but I do need to finally buy him a Power Gloves like Ellen. I've been waiting to unlock most of the gear before I go on a serious spending spree.

    Ward - Has also been having issues sparking the last few techs, but most of them are understandable. Ward has been a serious powerhouse and for the first time now, I finally got him out of full armor. Found a few pieces of good gear for him, and the Ice Sword has been phenomenal allowing his normal attack to do as much damage as his lower techs. My only beef with the weapon is that while I love it has the ice equivalent of Self-Immolation, I'm annoyed that activating the counter it gives substitutes his actual turn. I've had a few encounters get dragged out because the enemy target him and he does his weak ice counter instead of his enemy killing tech I asked him to. Other than that, Ward's been great and I really have no qualms with keeping him on the team.

    Sarah - I forgot I gave her the Vivacity Staff in the beginning of the game. That would have been useful... Sarah was having a difficult time catching up, but she was doing a pretty good job, The issue being that I was really bad about mastering bow techniques so she's sparked a ton of techs, just mostly stuff my previous two archer characters had also sparked before. None of them are endgame techs either, but that's fine since I prefer using bows for mobs. I gave her Water magic to go with her Lunar magic, but it's evident she prefers leveling Lunar over water.

    Mikhail - While he is still behind my main three, he's making good strides thanks to giving him spears of which I discovered I had a lot of good techs for, and lucking out and acquiring a Titan Armor in one of the dungeons which has made him as durable as my main team. He's sparked a few good spear techs, and as I said the transition isn't so hard since spears and rapiers are leveled by the same stats. I taught him Fire Magic because I have seriously neglected it, I think Tatyana was the only other fire specialist I've used. Though, much like Sarah, Mikhail prefers Solar magic that he started with. I'm probably going to keep Mikhail until endgame. I'll leave Leonid for NG+, though I may play as Mikhail for my next playthrough if I don't pick Katrina.

    Robin - Has been benched, and while part of me was thinking of dropping him for either Undine or one of the Far East characters, I may stick with him cause he's been with me through a lot and he's better built for it than trying to train up someone new. So he's in reserved, and may be back on the main squad soon if the new kid doesn't pan out.

    The Boy - Haven't had a chance to really use him, but I'm excited he's a greatsword specialist, so I was able to outfit him with some good techs and can now double my chances of sparking the remaining skills. Glad I kept the Flamberge since the kids starting gear was rubbish. I've taught him Water and Solar magic but the kids main issue at the moment looks to be the same problem I had with Flurry where he's so underleveled he may not be able to catch up fast enough. I'm a little annoyed the game dropped him into my party to be honest. This reminds me of Meythia in SF2 who was a decent character that was unfortunately dumped on you in the second to last dungeon and was unfortunately unable to catch up to my main party. Not helped that her specialties overlapped with another character I had longer. I'm hoping this kid will turn out better.

    Overall, it's looking like I'm not too far off from wrapping this game up.

  3. #183

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    If you don't mind playing around the downsides, the Devil King Shield you stole from Undine and Volcano prevents the Ice Barrier status from the Ice Sword from being set, so you won't ever lose a turn to that weak counter attack and Ward will have around a 20% chance to block any blockable attack.

    Forneus DID seem easier in the remake, but he's always been a very RNG heavy boss, so it is hard to say.

  4. #184
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Good to know, I may switch over to the shield for him when I get ready to do the final dungeon.

    I'm sure the Forneus situation was just a combination of me being a little too overleveled, the game making him a bit easier by toning down his RNG, and what little RNG was there just fell into my favor. A similar situation happened with Subier in RS2 though I did deny him his upgrade, but his aspect was the one that seriously screwed me over the most after Rocbouquest's Charm spell for the final boss fight.

    I do need to start leveling magic and maybe practice using those Fusion spells since I know most of them are good from RS2, but it seems like they went out of their way to make them more cumbersome to use in this entry. If I've learned anything from the SaGa series its that you should never neglect magic cause it almost always bites you in the ass by the endgame.

  5. #185

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    Fusion spells and multi-techs in this game, while definitely extremely strong, are limited to Commander Mode and cannot be used normally -- swap Ellen into the 'Bench' spot on your party and go into battle to play around with it a little bit. It makes formations, loadout, and position more important, but you give up fine tuned control for it; Sarah is a really good character to use if you do a later run and want to play through with it.

  6. #186
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Good to know, a later playthrough is going to be interesting.

    Update Time!

    Oof, this was a rough patch.

    So I did the Hunter, Royal, and Challenge trials to gain some of the Matriarch's armor at her shrine. Hunter was a pain because it doesn't really explain what you need to do, so I had to look it up. Basically this ninja guy challenges you to "use your bow skills" but what he's really asking is for you to actually land a hit on him, which is damn near impossible under normal means since his evasion is sky high. The trick is to use a skill like Flash Arrow, which has 100% accuracy. Once that was finished, I made smooth sailing and was happy to learn The Boy is actually not a shabby Bow user.

    The Royal was easier, you either choose a long path that deals with lots of annoying weak enemies, or you do the short path where you fight three bosses in a row. I went short path and even managed to Spark (though I haven't managed to master) Disarm, the final defensive tech for Greatswords.

    The Challenge was interesting and way more obnoxious than the previous two. First you face off with a boss who challenges your life force by using a tech that only targets LP. Thankfully he has like little health and without even using high end techs I could take him down in one round. The second fight was the doozy, involving a fight against five enemies with way more health than I would care for, using nothing but charm attacks on my team. I had to redo this fight several times before I lucked out and was able to win with minimal damage. Charm is easily the most obnoxious enemy ability in the series, being the bane of my existence for all three Romancing entries. More on that later...

    With this done, I learned that all the gear I have left to make at Pidona requires an item. I have all weapons but one, but it requires a Deathshard of which there is only one per game and I've already used it for the defensive item. The last three defensive items I have require rare item drops and one item I can only find doing the Maximus quest, of which I'm pretty sure I missed my chances to activate. So... I went back to the Ruins by the SaGa India city and had my rematch with the Dragonlord. He was still a bitch to face, especially since the Boy is way underleveled, but I managed to score a victory and got to keep the cool shield he was guarding.

    With nothing else to do but the new optional dungeon, I decided to advance the story... Big mistake. I really should have hit up the optional dungeon first, cause I hit a point of no return. So traveling to SaGa China, I learned that the hidden fifth Gate to the Abyss was being guarded by the Emperor of SaGa China and I had to team up with my allies there to sneak into his castle. This involved a war battle, which I initially failed, but retried a few times until I was able to get five hour delay on the enemy despite losing most of my forces. The Castle was a huge boss gauntlet, but I really liked the fact the layout and story sequence was very similar to the Edo sequence in SaGa 2. Even the final boss was a battle on the rooftop of the castle and involved the ruler summoning a proxy to face instead. There were a few nasty fights for sure in this area, but I breezed through faster than I thought I would. What makes this the point of no return is that once you enter a new room that isn't a treasure room, you can't back away, so I was trapped in the castle the moment I entered, and now I'm stuck in the Abyss dealing with the rematch fights against the four Sinistrals.

    Aunus was the first to be taken down. He was more obnoxious than I remember and his permanent Self-Immolation effect meant that characters like Khalid were screwed outside of having him manipulate the elemental fields to keep the boss from getting his regen bonus. In fact keeping Khalid and the Boy alive was a real pain in the ass, but this boss did eventually go down. I find his true form interesting since he was one of the more human looking Sinistrals with this Apollo/Ares style design, while his true form is an old wizard made of fire.

    Alloces was the next up, and the main thing that saved me a bunch of grief for this fight was having the majority of my party spark Earthquake defense which neutered his most annoying attack that I can't normally defend against. I did have a bit more of a challenge trying to keep the elemental field from Earth, not helped by the fact my best mage is earth elemental. Still, this fight has been the least stressful and took the fewest attempts to win.

    Then there is Byūnei. I love how the easiest Sinistral fight for me has turned into the biggest smurfing pain in my ass. She was actually the first one I faced, and she whooped my ass so many times I decided to check out the other bosses hoping to get some stat boosts to make this fight easier. My initial issue was her stupid Gaze attack which kept charming party members, even Ellen. Though to be honest, her entire attack pattern is obnoxious. She can attack up to four times a round, has a charm attack, that obnoxious Delta attack that does ludicrous damage even when my characters blocks it, and her obnoxious shield attack that halves all damage she takes. She's also the fastest of the bosses so far so trying to plan around healing has not been helping and the effects of Hypergravity and Hasten Time don't seem to matter much against her. I ended up going back to the Earth Sinistrals area to grind Lilith's who also have the Gaze technique and I sparked and mastered the defensive technique just so I can give it to my whole party. While the other two were no slouches either, she has proven how poorly developed my team has been up until this point for endgame, especially since I never really had a chance to develop the Boy, and its showing. Not helping things is how Khalid has transformed into a glass cannon for these boss fights. I've had to rest a few fights cause he got LP killed a few times. Once again, the series poor equipment communication is likely to blame cause despite having what looks to be the highest defense and magic defense, he seems to always take twice as much damage so his gear is obviously low on some kind of defense option I can't see. I also really wish I had taught him some water magic cause having my speediest character with a healing option would be nice, but then again, he spends 3/4ths of his time healing himself. Now that I have Gaze defense and don't have to worry about Charm, I feel I have a slightly better chance against her, but she's been brutal and one of the toughest fights to keep out of the Wind field since a lot of her moves are high level wind spells and my MP is limited for high end spells to keep changing the field.

    Course the biggest issue at hand is that my team is hardly optimal. I really didn't think I would be plunged into the final area with no means of going back, so my party is not outfitted as well as I would have liked. I meant to pick up more Earthen Shields and Power Gloves for the whole team for instance.

    The Boy is way too underleveled and while I've tried to raise his MP and magic levels, he is highly resistant to doing this. While I have a few good bows and Greatswords for his weapon options, he's underleveled in them to be a major damage dealer, so I'm mainly using him for support with a Staff of Vivacity. His other issue is that he has the lowest HP and not the best armor options I could really give him. I spent some time grinding him up more HP, but I really should grind him another 50hp just to be safe. I would like to raise his weapon levels as well since they factor in the most for his techs, but magic is priority since he's the only character with Water magic. I am also a bit disappointed with Hasten Time. It has a huge MP cost (all of your MP) and doesn't seem to make as much fo a difference as it did in RS2. I'm also disappointed it doesn't speed up the battle music like it did in RS2.

    Khalid, as I said before, is just taking too much damage per round. I imagine its because I have him equipped with a Twilight Robe, I may need to switch his armor for the boy since Khalid is a front row fighter. I did manage to spark his upgraded Scimitar attack, not that it does me much good at this point. His magic has gotten good, and Tornado proved invaluable against Alloces but against the actual Wind Sinistral, his magic is a liability. Also the ultimate spell for Wind Magic is terrible. Sacrifice LP for HP instead, like that's useful. Maybe if I had a character with 30 LP.

    Ward has been a pretty awesome asset for most of these fights. he's my actual tank, and I'm happy I was told about the Archfiend Shield. While it doubles his SP cost for skills, he has the second highest SP of my team, so no worries there. My biggest gripe was that he managed to Spark Scattered Petals, which is like the best Greatsword skill in the game the last time I fought Byunei, but since I can't run from these fights, I lost it instead. Here's hoping I can get it again cause the extra thousand damage it does is much appreciated.

    Mikhail has also been a great character, but these fights are finally showing that I need to develop him more. I need to boost his MP so I can cast Revivar twice for instance. He's sparked a few good epee and spear techs and he does great damage and can survive pretty well despite his low HP. I just need to beef him up a bit better and I wish I could spark Triple Strike/Triumverate or Beast God Stab/Divine Lancer. He's come through the most of the new characters.

    Ellen is still a gem and the real powerhouse of my team. My only problem at this point is that I need two of her on my team. She's been the happiest accident of the team as she's proven to be the most flexible in that she deals the heaviest damage but she's a good healer in a pinch as well. I have also managed to raise her Earth magic past 20, so she's doing pretty good on that front. She's only missing one Axe skill (the actual best one it seems, Deadly Spin) but she has so many good endgame ones and high enough Axe skill to be the best damage dealer on the team. My main issue now is that my other party members are constantly dragging her into support rolls in these boss fights.

    I may attempt Byunei a few more time. Hoping the Gaze defense will allow me to whittle her health down more and eventually win. I'm already dreading Forneus and grateful I kept all those Fish Scales in my inventory so I can at least have some defense against his water magic. Going back to series tradition, all the enemies in the final area that are not bosses, are not the best for sparking new techs, but I'm thankfully still getting good HP/SP/MP gains. The free healing is also very much appreciated. I haven't been this poorly prepared for a final boss gauntlet since RS1 and probably SaGa 2.

  7. #187
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time:

    Game, set, and match.

    This was a doozy. The extra levels and access to Gaze defense certainly helped me out with Byunei, but I ended up having to sacrifice one of my Vivacity Staffs to save my party towards the end, cause it seems like she gets a boost to all of her attacks after her HP is nearly depleted. In fact, every boss in this dungeon seems to do that, but its never telegraphed to you, you start noticing attacks OHKO people. On the brightside, I managed to spark a new sword tech with Khalid and I got the Greatsword one back as well, though I only managed to master the sword one. She was easily the toughest fight of this bunch, and I would argue she ended up being the hardest boss in the final area overall with some stiff competition.

    Forneus, who turns out is a sexy Greek god in his true form, was far more manageable than the other bosses. Switching to the defensive formation really helped because he likes physical attacks more than magic. The real fun part was deciding I wasn't going to bother switching the elemental field with him cause it was too much of a pain in the ass and lo and behold, I managed to do by accident anyway.

    With those two out of the way, it was time to face the final boss, but RS3 had one more below the belt punch waiting for me. After spending so much time leveling up the Boy, the game removed him from my party for story reasons, meaning I got stuck using Robin of whom I had benched for quite awhile. This caused me to have to rearrange a few things and dropped a second magic healer from my team since only Earth, Water, and Lunar have healing spells. I now kind of regretted using that fourth Vivacity Staff I had. The final boss... is weird. Not that this isn't new for the series in general. Thank god I defeated the Four Sinistral first otherwise I wouldn't have stood a chance. The boss pulls a Xenogears, or more correctly Xenogears does a RS3, and they boss is powered up if you don't tackle the other Sinistrals, gaining more HP and their signature attacks. This leaves me with just three phases. The Light Phase is annoying cause the boss takes half damage from everything, and while most of its attacks are not threatening, they can easily wear you down if you're not careful. This is important cause just before it goes to Dark Phase, it gives you a taste of its true power and can knock out a few weaker characters in a round, before it gets two more turns to pull off its phase shift. Dark Phase is a bigger pain in the ass with more group hitting attacks, harder hitting single attacks, and instant death attack, and a move that makes a character accidentally attack their comrades instead. On the brightside, he takes full damage, on the downside, your party takes area damage during this shift making all of those attacks I mentioned above and easy means of getting killed quickly. In act, dying to this boss pulls a Lavos and you get a special ending where the bad guy wins.

    He annihilated me about twice and then I reformed the team a bit. The big issue is that I'm not sure if the boss shares HP or not between its phases. Which came as a shock when it went back to its previous phase. I had to use the Genbu Formation for its Regen effect as well as sacrificing all of my Vivacity Staffs (for those wondering, SaGa traditionally never has group healing magic, the staff has one as its ability but it sacrifices the staff when you use it) and was down to almost no SP when Mikhail managed to land the killing blow. You have no idea how relieved I was cause I was really not prepared for this endgame.

    The ending is pretty interesting, especially since it shares some elements of the bad ending. Ellen's personal ending was kind of boring, but to be fair, Ellen is probably the most down to earth character from the initial lead selection. She's just a tomboy from some back wood village, and unlike Justian she has no desire to get mixed up with royals, and her sister ended up being more important to the plot than was first thought. In fact, that may be one of the bigger criticisms with RS3. It has a similar issue from RS1 where your chosen lead doesn't matter after the intro. Until we sealed the fourth Abyss Gate, Ellen honestly had no stake in anything in the game. I don't even really know why she bothered to face off against the Sinistrals in the first place other than she was a traveling mercenary who took some odd jobs towards it. Granted, we the player are meant to fill in the blanks, and I did so, so I'm not that annoyed, but for a game that does a lot more for characterization, it was a bit disappointing it still ultimately fell into the same trappings as RS1.

    Until the very end, I really enjoyed this game overall. I really wish I had not jumped the gun and went into the final area unprepared, because the last two nights have been frustrating and stressful, and while I want to blame the game, it technically gave me fair warning. So I have no one to blame but myself. Still, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth which is a shame cause I was having a blast before that. I imagine a second playthrough will be much nicer. I still wish I could have figured out how to do fusion spells and combo attacks cause the ending exhibition made them look super cool and useful. I'm not surprised the game made them harder to implement seeing how utterly broken fusion magic is in RS2. So let's do a breakdown:

    • Favorite Weapon Techs: Axes and Greatswords
    • Most useful tech: Focus (I can never remember the long winded new translation name)
    • Least favorite Weapon: Rapiers as usual.
    • Weapon I wish I mastered more: Bows and Fists.
    • Best magic: Earth and Fire
    • Magic I wish I used more: Solar and Lunar
    • Favorite characters: Ellen, Robin, Boston, Mikhail, and the pushy old lady from the Far East
    • Least favorite: Muse and the Minstrel since he cost me a few quests.
    • Favorite boss fight: Byunei/Gwayne fight, and the Hot Rod battles
    • Least Favorite Boss Fights: Yama, True Byunei, and the Final Boss
    • Favorite story arc: The Warring mage village, anything with the Professor, Vanguard, Muse's Nightmare.
    • Least Favorite: Finding the East, Forneus' Dungeon, and screwing myself over with a few quest cause I had a full party.
    • Best soundtrack of the 16-bit entries? Yep
    • War Battles? They were fun if a bit tricky.
    • NG+ Lead: Either Mikhail, Theodore, or Katrina.


    I'm happy that I got a chance to play this entry. I still prefer RS2, but this game is a strong contender in its own right. Now I only need to play SaGa 3 (FFL3), SaGa Frontier 1, Unlimited SaGa, SaGa Scarlet Graces. Of course I only own one of those four right now (Unlimited) but I'll definitely invest in the others when the time comes. It will be interesting to see what the new mobile title is going to be like considering its a distant sequel to this entry.

  8. #188
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    The mobile game just dropped the other day. Just wanted anyone interested to know. It looks like it's FF Record Keeper just with SaGa characters and mechanics. Not sure how I feel about it being a distant sequel to RS3.

  9. #189
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Alright, I have officially started Unlimited Saga. I'm starting with Laura's quest. It has been a really weird experience so far, but I'll probably post a real update once I get a little farther in. I have only reached the second town so far.

  10. #190
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time!

    Okay it's official, Unlimited Saga is easily the weirdest and most brutal entry in the franchise. The series bad tendency of not explaining anything really hits its zenith with this entry because even having played through so many entries myself at this point, this game is a radical departure from previous entries.

    So dungeons and the world map now work like a table top game, where you move your character's avatar piece on the board. Sometimes you find monsters, sometimes you find treasure. Like D&D, as long as your characters have the skills, they can check the area to find any treasure or evade a monster by checking for initiative. Treasure chests now need to have traps removed and lockpicked to even get to their contents and any time you use a skill, the Reels appear to serve as the dice. It's pretty unique, though I wish that either treasure chests weren't all booby trapped, cause it sucks to screw up and watch your LP get shaved off. I also really wished that the movement controls were not mapped to the analog stick only. The UI for these sections are not the most intuitive.
    When you reach towns, you visit Inns and Blacksmith shops to get items, information, recruit new people, or go on adventures. Most of this is done from a menu system. It's a real shame actually because the sprite animations in this game are really fluid and nice but they're only relegated to combat. The rest of the game's visuals are a little disappointing though the actual background drawings are nice and detailed. Musically, this might actually be my favorite OST by Hamazu. It has a nice Suikoden IV vibe to it with some of the instrument choices though he loves his violins a wee bit too much.

    Combat is the weirdest part, as it looks familiar but plays very differently from any entry before it. So you still have LP and HP, but unlike every entry before it, your HP basically works like armor. So even if it's reduced to zero, your character will still stand, but now they'll likely take LP damage from any attack afterwards. Enemies work the same way where you really need to strike their LP instead of just shaving off their health. HP regenerates, but not after combat like in the RS series, instead you have to make the character rest by either making them set out of combat or when you're exploring you hit the R3 button to choose to wait for your turn and have the whole team regenerate their health. How much they regenerate depends on their regeneration level and what they are equipped with. Light armor tends to give you a bonus to HP Regen in exchange for lower defense, while heavy armor gives you a penalty for better defense. Equipment itself is complex with armor now having skills attached to them. Some gear just come with good skills, some armor skills can be unlocked in battle, and the blacksmith shop can add some to weapons and accessories as well. Crafting seems to be a big deal as well but I'm only scratching the surface for that at the moment.

    Weapons and accessories still break in combat, and the only thing taken from SF2 is the idea that magic is tied to the materials in your gear. So instead of MP, your magic will consume your weapon durability. Though it helps if the item or weapons has a spell art attached to them to do so, otherwise you need special panels to use magic. Weapon Skills also consume the durability, though I'm not sure if higher skills drain the durability faster or not. Though I do seem to burn through gear faster in this entry than in SF2 or the GB entries. Speaking of weapon skills, they have the most radical change in this entry. The game brings back RS1's weapon system with a twist by merging it with later entries sparking mechanics. All weapons can have four skills unlocked on them that vary from different attack types, to parry skills, to magic arts that allow magic use. When your character sparks a tech in battle, what they are really doing is sparking an advanced version of one of these weapons skills and then it is permanently added to the weapon reel and works a bit like a critical hit. I'm not sure if sparked moves can spark higher moves, but I'm going to assume so. When you engage in combat, you get five turns for one round of combat. You can either have your whole team use a move or you can have some use multiple turns and others none. Characters that are not given turns will leave the field of battle which allows them to regen some HP and protect them from getting hurt in the combat round. When you get your turn, you choose what attack you want from a list based on what your equipped with and what magic may be available to the character. you input every character command and then the round starts with turn order based on speed. When a characters turn comes up their battle reel will come on which at first just lets them do their attack but as you spark better moves, they will be added to the reel. You also have the option to Hold the attack, which delays it so that it can be combo with other attacks your party does, so for once you have a little more control over the combo system than you did in the Frontier entries. What makes it dangerous is that you sometimes combo with enemies instead and that can sometimes end a battle with a pyrrich victory.

    You only level up when you finish a quest, your character will generate four random panels to add to their board. These range from weapon panels that increase your proficiency and spark rates with a particular weapons, skill panels that give your character the ability to avoid enemies, diffuse traps, pick locks, haggle, or use diplomacy, and finally there are familiars and magic tomes. Familiars grant your character access to particular elemental magic, while tomes allow you to teach your character specific spells but they work a bit funky as they actually gain a form of XP from fights, and occasionally, the game has you choose one of three spells to level up. Tomes are not generated like normal panels, you have to find them on quests, and then at the end, choose to give them to a character in exchange for a panel. The way panels are arranged on the character grid determines their stats, and you gain bonuses if you have panels arranged a certain way. What the game doesn't tell you is that you can't rearrange a panel once it's placed. So if you're not aware of these arrangements and don't pay attention to the stat screen when your choosing where to put your shiny new panel, you can accidentally screw yourself over. The panel grid itself also has a rather unintuitive design where each point on it corresponds to a particular stat that is only shown to you as a symbol and some of them are vague, and others are not as important as you would think. So if you want to raise your strength, you need to pop a weapon panel next to the strength panel and if you have two of them adjacent, you'll get a bonus. Some of your stats are your characters elemental affinity, and that is actually more important than your magic stat in determining magical damage. You'll need to place familiars or magic tomes by them to get bonuses. Skill is a stat that determines damage for daggers and spears, they need skill panels like Lockpicking or Diffuse to raise their stats.Magic is a useless stats, and so is endurance since it doesn't affect defense. Panels also have levels so if you get a higher level one, you should replace the old ones unless you're trying to maximize stats.

    Oof.... so yeah, complex.

    I have reached Voldstam, which is like the fourth town in the game. Laura is an ex-pirate who accidentally saves a kid's life and learns he's actually the missing prince of a fallen kingdom named Henri. So her story is mostly about trying to get him to a safe place while being pursued by mercenaries and bounty hunters. We recruited one of the other "main" characters in Judy. She's a pint sized sorceress looking for her grandfather. I really wish I could find more characters because having a large team seems important in this game considering how long dungeons can be and how quickly LP can be shaved off if you have a few bad run ins with the Reels or combo attacks.

    Laura - Is specializing in Axes and Swords a the moment since they are powerful strength based weapons. She also has Diffuse Lv. 2 and Lockpick Lv. 1 for notable skills. I'm debating if I'll make her pure melee or try to go with the red mage route with her since she starts off with Fire magic. Hybrid classes are apparently not ideal in this game but apparently Laura and a few others are rare exceptions.

    Henri - Oof, he's a mix bag. I really need to get his panel board under control to get him some decent stats. He's a skilled based fighter so only daggers and spears for him. He has a Lv. 1 Diplomacy skills that has come in handy but his board is all over the place. His saving grace among the team is that he comes equipped with a special dagger weapon that is unbreakable, so at least I won;t have to resort to melee when his weapons break.

    Judy - Has been surprisingly more useful than she looks. She starts with some good fire magic, but I have unfortunately burned through the weapon that had the spell. I gave her a bow and she has sparked some really good techs with it already. She sparks more than poor Henri. I have her with mostly Familiar panels as well as her starting Forbidden Tome Panel and a Metal Magic Tome I acquired in an earlier mission. I probably should have checked first to see if she was even good with Metal before giving it to her so I feel like a dunce in that regard. My biggest boon with her was acquiring a Lockpick Lv. 2 Panel for her. Now if I could only have her gain a Fortunteller or Magic Lock panel I would be set.

    It has been a serious uphill battle in terms of the learning curve, but I am having fun.

    EDITGA: I forgot to mention the true scrappy mechanic this game introduces. Combat actions, in addition to consuming weapon durability, also consumes HP. So fighting a few battles can quickly drop your HP to 0 before your next battle, leading to either more risky encounters, or forcing you to consume valuable turns in side adventures to constantly restore health. It bring me back to Romancing SaGa 1 which also punished you for fighting too much. It's such a counter-intuitive design and probably my biggest pet peeve so far besides the game's general "I won't explain the rules to you, and don't bother with the manual because it also leaves out a lot of info" nonsense the series is known for.
    Last edited by Wolf Kanno; 05-19-2020 at 07:31 PM.

  11. #191
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    Well, I don't actually have much of an update other than to say I ended up having to start over. It's been a mixed bag. I learned that one mission I screwed up earlier always has a dumb ending no matter how well you do. I ended up losing all of my nifty bow techs from Judy. Laura is also just not earning weapon panels like she did the first time through. I worked my way back to where I left off.

    There is a side mission involving a really obnoxious haunted mansion. It's filled with treasure, undead, and demons and unfortunately for me the enemy types are the ones that will pursue you and attack on sight, so the place is obnoxious, especially when I keep screwing up diffusing traps or lock picking treasure. I got farther than IO did the first time, but I'm thinking of tackling this dungeon once I have another party member or two.

    I'm going to re-attempt the Cemetary mission since it was another one I screwed up my first time through. I have to find a key among some graves, but if you fail to acquire the key from the right grave, the grave disappears and you can't see how the quest really ends. It was screwing up all of these minor quests that drove my OCD to restart. Unfortunately, I saved over my first file... This game is starting to become a bit like Demon's Souls where my constant failure is driving me more than "I am having so much fun" but hopefully like DS, I'll breka through and start to really appreciate it. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm still technically in the early game.

    Laura - Has been doing better unlocking skills for her gear, and even a few techs for them. Sadly she has not been getting weapon panels as much as I would like. I'm guess it may have to do with trying to avoid combat too much in some missions and the few I fight a lot in I can't seem to complete within the mission time limit. She has managed to get a high level lockpick skill which I'm happy that I have, I just wish Henri had gotten it instead. She also managed to get a Fix-It panel which allows her to repair weapons in dungeons as long as they have some durability left. I need to clear her panel of all these skill based ones cause they are not doing her any favors stat-wise.

    Henri - Is still a mixed bag. He's the one who keeps learning the weapon panels I want for Laura and he keeps getting haggling skills as well. He has managed to get a higher tier diffuse skill so that's been a real boon. Yet he's having a hard time unlocking weapon skills or techs. He did manage to gain a Shield panel which was nice since shields are useless without one. He's still a work in progress overall. I'm trying to turn him into a thief build since Skill is his highest starting stat. Now if he would only learn lockpick...

    Judy - Isn't quite as awesome as she was in my first file. I did manage to unlock all the skills for her starting weapon, and I made sure not to burn through her spell uses. She learned Detect Undead, which doesn't do what it says. In fact I've learned a good chunk of the game's magic spells have incredibly misleading names. Detect Undead actually lowers the stats of all undead enemies on the field. All of the "Detect" skills do this with their appropriate enemy class. I am annoyed that I lost the item in my old file that taught her to use Purify. That spell turns out to be a Healing/Esuna spell all in one. So I'll need to keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, I'm just trying to get her awesome bow skills back while looking out for fortuneteller.

    As of now, I only wish I knew how I can get blacksmiths to repair weapons. I've tapped out two really good items and I don;t want to reforge them through weapon creation in case I lose some of their awesome skills. I also don;t want to resort to save scumming just yet, but this game almost seems to be built on it. I'll clear out the next set of quests and hopefully hook up with the other character I met in an inn who looks like she may may be a potential party member.

  12. #192
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    I have been coming to the conclusion that the game really wants me to be following the main plot and wait until I have a real party before tackling some of these missions. I've been stuck on the Abandoned Castle mission for the last two days. I've spent that time failing this mission reading up on some stuff for the game. I've been dabbling in blacksmith stuff and even managed to make a Damascus weapon for Laura, though it's on hold until later since it qualifies as "too good to be used" at this early point in the game. I'm hoarding any Mullock I find since it and steel are the key to forging Damascus gear.

    I did advance the plot a little and acquired a fourth party member. I also did a wacky mission that involved destroying a mansion with a magic axe. Pretty fun stuff. I did technically advance the game much further but reset because I was afraid that this might fall into one of those weird categories where some side missions may disappear if I advance the plot too much because SaGa is kind of notorious for that kind of thing. So I know I get a fifth party member rather shortly after this next story part, so I may just advance and grab him since I can only level up by doing side missions and story dungeon missions.

    For those wondering why the Abandoned Castle mission has been a bitch and a half, the structure of this mission is just cruel. You have a 150 turns to finish the mission. It is three stories with close to twenty rooms per floor. The place is loaded with treasure which I've already cleared out most of it. The issue comes that you kind of have to follow a story element in this dungeon where you're chasing some Crazy Old Man who is responsible for the curse on the dungeon. The place is crawling with aggressive monster types and they will level up into their higher tier classes depending on a few factors. The dungeon has several puzzles which often require lots of backtracking to hit switches. One of them will likely take 20 turns on its own. Half my issue is just getting harassed by the monster in this dungeon and the other half is messing up trying to open locks or diffuse traps which the place is filled with. The boss of the dungeon is the Old Man's pet Wyvern who slaughtered my battered party the first time I encountered him. I whooped his ass the second time, the one time I got to that point with most of my party's LP intact since everything in this dungeon is either tanky, powerful, or both. The issue is that once you beat the boss you have to leave the castle within the allotted time frame and that is what failed me the last time. I needed maybe five more turns to escape and finally beat this silly dungeon. I'll come back with the fifth guy I feel...

    Laura - Has been doing pretty good with sparking new weapon techs and really showing how fun the battle reel gets once you've acquired a few skills. As I guessed, there are higher tier abilities for the different weapon techs. She's been an Ax/Sword specialist and if I ever manage to find a decent magic based panel for her (like a Familiar) I may start having her move into the Battle Mage role I plan for her. As series tradition, she can't seem to spark any new techs from Tomahawk. She did once, but that was one of the times I got killed doing the Abandoned Castle mission. She's been a real powerhouse and has the best LP of my team at the moment, which is a bit of a problem since I tend to make her tank hits but this is one of those games where "MC death = Game Over" so I'm hoping I'll get a better tank later.

    Henri - Has been my second tank character since he surprisingly has the next highest LP at 12. He also tends to parry attacks more often than poor Laura, probably due to using daggers instead of swords. I have him using Spears which has been really good for him as well. He's been sparking some good moves and Spears are once again pretty brutal. In fact I'm starting to see that piercing weapons are more consistent with doing LP damage to enemies. I'm trying to keep him light weight since it affects his ability to dodge and his speed. While the third skill for his unbreakable dagger is so-so, the fourth skill is actually pretty good and compensates better for the weapons low attack power.

    Judy - Has been doing a bit better now that I've figured out how to do learn and use magic more effectively. So in order to learn magic from tablets, you have to use magic in battle. The issue is that casting takes time so magic is notoriously slow. I also think the amount of XP you get is dependent on both the type of spell you use and the tablet. She's focusing on her Forbidden Magic tome. for the moment. She has done a great job sparking moves for her bow, I'm only annoyed that heavy metal bows are the ones that start with the more useful Random Arrow skill than lighter wooden bows. One saving grace is how her staffs do learn a parry skill so that's been helpful. I am annoyed because I learned too late that enchanted weapons can't be reforged, so her awesome starting staff with Fire Arrow is now just a staff that lets me use any Fire Magic I've learned but sadly she hasn't learned any spells for that class. I did manage to find an armlet with the Purify spell so she can actually heal in my team. I'm hoping I can find a Water and Fire Tome for her once she masters her Forbidden Tome.

    Michelle - Ah the new girl. Michelle hits a character archetype I always forget that I really love, and that's the character that is cursed with bad luck. You bet your ass that Ashton was my favorite character in Star Ocean 2. Like Ashton, her bad luck does actually play into her character build. She has a cursed gauntlet on her that she's trying to get rid of. I would love to get rid of it too because it's occupying her middle slot on her board and is a Negative Panel that can't be combo with any other panel for stat bonuses. So she's kind of gimped, except her starting stats are pretty damn good, she';s one of the fastest characters in the game, and she comes with a gun. Her panel selection isn't bad either except for the fact they're all in the wrong place. She has a sword panel but it's over by her magic while the Earth Magic Tome she has is where her strength is. On the other hand, her stats seem to lie, or equipment simply makes that much of difference because she's on par with Henri at least with damage and her Earth Magic is pretty good. I've already taught her Boulder and Sleep. I've even upgraded her gun for more uses, but sadly it doesn't look like guns get additional techs like other weapons, instead their reel modifies damage based on if you hit a reel that has a focused shot versus a miss panel where she fires blindly at the enemy. Her biggest draw back so far has to be pathetic LP. She has 6 in total. My ten year old squishy mage has 10. So poor Michelle has to stay in that back-row until I acquire more gear with Life Protection. She does have a serious knack for unlocking skills on her gear though. Like in the first dungeon I had her for, she was unlocking a skill for her equipment about every other battle. Did I mention she reminds me of Scorpia from the new She-Ra series? She actually says hi to monsters when you encounter them and will say Oopsiedaisey when she screws up a skill roll.

    Overall, my team isn't too bad. The big change has been delving into weapon crafting a bit more and finally getting everyone geared with some better materials. Going from stone swords and Copper axes to ones made from Iron or Silver is a big boon. I just need to be careful because my team really does better with lighter gear. I'm also trying not to ignore magic and build Judy up with Michelle and Laura as backup mages. I can give Henri some enchanted items so he can cast magic as well but I'd rather focus on getting him more thief skills like higher tier panels for Lockpick and Diffuse. I may just jump further into the plot to recruit my fifth party member who looks to be the heavy hitting tank character this team desperately needs. I wonder if Laura and Henri's story is partially inspired by Albert and Sif from RS1? Henri is also a run away prince of a fallen kingdom, and Laura is a bad ass semi-replacement mom figure/bodyguard. It just reminds me of the scenario I sort of wrote for the two characters when I played them.

  13. #193
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    Only a minor one. Quests take way longer in this game than other entries so this game may be a slow burn but I'm starting to "get it" and it's becoming quite enjoyable.

    I moved the plot along and got a damn CGI cutscene no less. I keep going back and forth with the VA work in this game. Some people work, others are terrible, and then some people go back and forth. Laura is such a character where her VA is sometimes pretty good and other times groan worthy. Henri's voice only throws me off because he's voiced by a girl who is not trying to hide the fact. Michelle's is bubbly and fun, Judy's is a bit too squeaky for my taste, and Francis... well I feel his VA wasn't even trying with him.

    Laura's plot is starting to get interesting, and I'm grateful my copy of the game still had the manual in it because it actually delves into a lot of background lore that made the cutscene actually more powerful than it would be otherwise. Manual fails to explain how to play the game, but gives you important plot details considering the significance of the festival the whole game revolves around. We're now on a quest to return to Henri's fallen kingdom and figure out what's up with this fancy dagger he's carrying around. We also picked up a new character in the form of Francis who compliments Michelle's design of both of them looking like ninjas.

    I then did a small quest involving a local custom from a forgotten tribe near the islands that involves exploring a cove and finding two alters to receive a blessing. By blessing I mean it sucks away all your HP, takes one LP from my whole party, and then has me face off with a trio of powerful monsters. To make matters more hectic, I'm only allowed three party members on the field at a time. My first attempt was a success after battling some annoying mermen but the panel selection I got from the missions was hardly ideal so I reset and tried again. This time I got stuck fighting some really beefy whale monsters and learned the hard way that if a character fall in battle, I can't switch them out with a living party member unless I use an action called Rescue which takes up a turn to remove the fallen comrade, still prevents me from bringing in a new character that round, and can fail based on factors like the character weight and who is trying to do the rescuing. Suffice to say that Judy can't rescue anyone. My second attempt still had me fighting the whale monsters, but I managed to get through the fight with most of my team's LP intact, the second fight was tough as the whales do massive damage and Francis bleeds LP despite having the most on my team. He was taking 3 LP per attack from some of the attacks. The fight ended with a standoff between the last Whale monster and Laura who had 4 LP left when the fight was over and only Judy was left alive because I couldn't drag her out since both Henri and Francis were dead. I still managed to complete the mission and got a much better panel selection this time around, allowing me to finally give Michelle some much needed strength/skill boosts, scored a Lv. 3 Familiar for Henri that allows him to use magic without a medium, and scored another one for Judy that finally gives her a permanent offensive fire spell to use.

    Afterwards, I hit up all the shops for new materials and managed to forge two more Damascus items. One is an accessory I gave to Laura and I'm really hoping it will have Life Protection on it, the other item is a sword for her as well which I'm going to hold off on until closer to the end game.

    Laura - Is still doing pretty awesome and sparking more moves. She even managed to spark a new move for fists and she has at least one move for most of the weapon types I have her using. I am still on the lookout for certain panels for her build but I'm okay with her current setup outside of her low Fire affinity.

    Henri - Has finally come into his own. He's bad at sparking new moves but he's pretty damn good at parrying moves so I've moved him to point for a lot of fights. His new Familiar also give him some more utility with magic that won't cost me weapons or accessories. I really hope his story mission improves his unbreakable dagger because I have a lot of good moves for it, but it's low stats are starting to show.

    Judy - Is a beast of a character to be honest. Her spells are powerful, she has some great crowd control moves with her bow and giving her a staff that has block has improved her survivabilty. I am debating about switching her tablets after I learn my next spell for it because the spell growth of the Forbidden tablet is really slow compared to more conventional ones and I would like to expand her spell repertoire.

    Michelle - Has been way more useful than she looks. I mastered her Earth Magic tablet so she has some good spells, managed to get her good weapon panel in a decent spot that finally raised her two attack stats to something respectable. I just need to find her a good sword with deflect as a secondary ability to improve her survival rate. She's honestly better with melee than weapons though...

    Francis - Ah the new guy. He's a bit of the opposite of Michelle who looks unimpressive on her stat sheet but manages to work. Francis looks great on his sheet, but me thinks he's padded his resume. He's got 19 LP which is great and he even starts with a shield panel and a bunch of strength panels. He sparks moves okay but I'm starting to think he may be using the wrong weapon with spears and I should move him to axes instead. His biggest problem is that since I don;t have much gear with Life Protection (it's an armor skill that lowers the chance of taking LP damage from attacks) and the few I have is on Laura, he is not as tanky as he looks. His HP is pretty bad, but the rest of my team has a few missions under their belt compared to him so I'm sure that will change. I just need him to tank damage better so his high LP pool doesn't got to waste. I'm starting to think shields are useless in this game even with a panel.

    I'm currently attempting the Abandoned Castle one more team and it's been going a bit smoother than normal, helped that I'm ignoring treasure chest to conserve time, and one of the scripted fights net me a Magic Tablet, so I have a bigger incentive to actually complete this mission. We'll see if I finally succeed.

  14. #194
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    I feel for the first time now, I've reached this personal point with Unlimited Saga:
    bfb.jpg

    So yeah, I feel I've passed the learning curve, figured out the rules more of less, and I'm finally enjoying my overall experience with the game. I feel my biggest issue was just trying to rush things, and do everything as it unlocks as I usually do, when it is apparent I really should be advancing the plot to gather my team so I can use these hard missions to build up their levels.

    It also helps I finally conquered the Abandoned Castle mission, so my OCD is finally feeling better. Having an extra party member has been nice, and Francis and Michelle have both obtained some Life Protection skills for their armor so I don't have to worry as much about them losing LP every time an enemy just looks in their general direction.

    I only progressed the story a bit, we have reached Henri's (fun fact, it's pronounced Anri) homeland so we can investigate his mysterious family heirloom and trouble is already brewing with the party as Laura aught Francis sending a message to his lord sine he's technically on loan to Henri. So she thinks he's a spy whereas he believes she's only helping Henri for some material award considering she's a pirate, though oddly enough this has not come up yet in the plot so I'm not even sure if Henri actually knows Laura's background. Anyway, I'm simply tickled this game has a bit more of a plot structure than usual for this series.

    The rest of my evening was spent playing around with the blacksmith system and traveling back to former towns to pick up any new good items I can use. Blacksmithing is weird because on the one hand, it's not nearly as complicated as say... Legend of Mana's system, but on the other hand, it does have some serious RNG shenanigans if you want the actual good stuff. Basically the only way to get certain materials for weapons is to either buy it in a shop, find it, or for some craft it in a blacksmith shop by combining certain materials that only have a 15% chance of actually becoming that material. So save scumming and soft resets are a big deal. Damascus is probably the most annoying to get likely due to being the best material. First, you have to get your hand on a cheap but rare material called Mullock which stops appearing in shops after a certain point I've been told. You merge it with a gem that grants a Magic Art to a weapon and make a dagger. This part is relatively easy as long as you have the materials. The tricky part is the second material. Turns out a lot of materials in this game have two versions of them. Mullock is one, which is why you have to merge it with a gem to gain it's 2nd tier form. It's not a pain since you have a 100% chance of gaining the second tier by doing this. Steel is the other one, and that's the tricky one. Steel is not common, you pretty much have to make it by combining Iron and Wood, but it's second tier is deceptive and only has a 15% chance of occurring when you merge them. The only tell you have done it right is the weapons attack power. Since you have to make a Steel Dagger (for some silly reason the steel base items for Damascus have to be Daggers) which normally has an attack power of 39, you need it to be 38 in order to know it's the secondary tier. Once that's done, just find a blacksmith who will make the item you want and merge the two to get their Damascus equivalent which generally has attack power in the 70 range and durability to match. Sadly, you can't make armor with a blacksmith, so I'll have to be lucky to acquire some. It looks like Damascus armor and armlets have a high tendency of having Life Protection so that's a boon.

    So last night I manged to make a Damascus Spear for someone, and a Platinum Sword for Laura, while also amassing quite a few good items for future investments.

    Laura - Is still doing good, her panel board is shaping up nicely and she managed to learn Sharpeye which is a great skill for treasure chests because it tells you what kind of traps are on one. This is mostly important because it will tell me if a chest is a mimic. Mimics are not as bad as they seem in this entry because they are one of the rare enemy types that have a high chance of dropping Magic Tablets in the game. So knowing a chest is a mimic beforehand means it's more beneficial to trigger the trap and fight the mimic than diffusing all of the traps. My one gripe for Laura at the moment is that I want to drop Lockpicking from her panel for something more useful, but its a Lv. 4 Panel (Panels only go up to Lv. 5) so losing it without an equivalent ranked panel will cost her some serious stats. She's been doign a great job sparking moves for her weapon types, and Sharpeye finally made her magic a bit more viable for battle since her Fire affinity was mostly trapped at it's starting level.

    Henri - Is not doing bad, he's not sparking moves like I want him to and while he now has a Familiar for magic, he's not setup well for it. I'm mainly trying to get him to get him to acquire most of the skills Laura seems to keep getting. He's been well rounded for the most part, but he's not excelling anywhere either.

    Judy - Is still going strong and getting better Familiars. It is so nice to have access to magic without worrying about item durability. I just need her to get a high tier Water Familiar so I can have access to Purify all the time. I have really three Panels I'm looking out for. I need a Bow panel because staffs are useless and she's much better with her bow. I need Fortunteller since it's a great elemental boosting panel and a useful skill in dungeons. Of course I also need to find the Holy Grail of magic panels in this game, Magic Blender which is super rare (I believe it is only a Lv. 5 Panel) and is the only means of accessing the other half of the magic system. Besides that, I'm trying to master her Forbidden Tablet, but it looks like I may have to try to master some of the other spells first because the particular spell (Degenerate - Lowers enemy's Attack Power and Endurance) I'm trying to master only levels up occasionally. Her other two spell choices are not part of the Forbidden spell line, so they tend to get more XP when I choose to level them, so I may try to master them first. I still haven't had time to hit up the other Magic Tablet on her panel.

    Michelle - Has been doing really good, and I learned she's one of the better characters for melee options, so I'm thinking of trying to build her with more light armor so I can haves access to Light Martial Arts which are apparently a better version of most of the melee options. This means I may have to drop her gun, which is fine because guns are not terribly useful in this game. They can't be upgraded, only have their number of uses increased, they always seem to be heavy iron so they weigh a character down, and they can't learn arts because they are sort of built in already. So it's been kind of silly to keep her equipped with it. I am gambling with one area. I made her a Topaz Sword with Earth Arts, but this cost the weapon the use of the Deflect skill which she sort of needs, but now I have access to an item that can allow her access to cast Earth Magic she's mastered and it has a huge durability so I don't have to worry about having to use the fix-it skill in dungeons to keep her previous armlet that did this from breaking. We'll see how well this build goes. I did manage to get her a great Lv. 3 melee panel which boosted her stats considerably. if the sword doesn't work out, I may switch her to a dagger with parry skill and focus on making her a melee specialist.

    Francis - Now that he has some gear with Life Protection and a better shield, he's starting to move into the position I want him to be in as a tank. He has four more LP than the next highest character so I want to utilize that. He did piss me off because he keeps getting panels I want for other characters. He managed to roll Fortuneteller for example but he's not really built for magic. This skill is useful because it will tell you what is in a treasure chest before you open it, except if you succeed in the roll, it actually upgrades the item into something better whereas a fail will just tell you what it is, and a critical failure will lower it's value. I opted to give him a higher tier Fix-it panel so I can eventually drop the one Laura has on her chart. He's doing okay with spears, but I'm really starting to toy with the idea of switching him to axes since they seem to be a the most recommended weapon type in this game besides daggers.

  15. #195
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time!

    Got a lot to cover. I advanced the story and ended up unlocking like five story missions that ended up removing all of the side missions. I also did not realize how many party members Laura gets in her quest because every mission has gained her a party member. When the party returns to Henri's home of Escata they found out his little dagger is some secret powerful weapon when combined with five elemental gears the royal family gave away to the various tribes of the world for safe keeping. If you're the type of person who hates non-human characters, well this is the point in the plot most of you would be checking out of unless you gave up hours ago. What is super nice about this is that I proved my theory right, and collecting these items does in fact improve Henri's blade with each item I gain. The Elemental Gears themselves turn out to be various pieces of armor that all have Life Protection as a starting ability. So super neat here, and I'm already going to assume this trout is going to be stolen from me because SaGa is many things, but generous is not one of them.

    I went after the Earth artifact first which is being safeguarded by the Petra tribe, a race oif sentient rock creatures. I gain Anzan from the tribe as a party member as he guides us through the Mural Caves. Of the dungeons I've tackled on this quest, this one was easily the hardest. The cave is filled with tanky and hard hitting enemies. The gimmick of the dungeon besides making use of the Swimming mechanic I had fortunately not taken from Francis is that the cave walls have murals of monsters on them. Touching them causes them to come to life and you have to fight them, but on several occasions, the mural is hiding a crevice you need to use to progress further through the caves. The Beast ones involve an annoying common beast creature already swarming the cave, the firebird one has you fight a boss like creature that is thankfully not too bad since it;s a solo fight, and heaven help you if you touch the fish one. That thing will kick your ass and so far fish enemies have proven to be one of the nastiest enemy types to run into in this game. The boss of the dungeon was surprisingly easy after the BS of the rest of it. My team got badly beaten up even with Anzan's help.

    The second challenge was going after the Wood artifact which is protected by the Lilean tribe, which you guessed it, is a tribe of sentient plant people. My new party member isPlatyphyllum who has a pretty surreal but cool voice that is two voices dubbed over each other. As a major contrast from Anzan's quest, this one ended up being the easiest of the bunch. You take a road to a forest that the artifact is hidden from and then it turns into a lost wood scenarios except I'm pretty sure the item pops up after so many turns including the ones on the path to even get to the forest entrance. The boss was this cool looking if underwhelming tree monster that may be the easiest boss fight I've had this entire game. It's biggest attack which hits my whole party pretty hard also hurts him and I've seen him kill himself on accident with it. This scenario was so short and easy I ended up redoing it like four times just so my party could have more ideal panel selections from beating it.

    Next up was the Metal Gear, which was not a walking nuclear equipped battle tank, it was hidden in an old mine shaft by the Anubito Tribe, which is a race of Anubis looking dog people who consequently turn out to be the same race as the guy who torched Henri's homeland. We're joined byMusol Yanii who assures Laura's concern that his tribe is not related to the same one as the bad guys. This dungeon has a slight puzzle aspect to it. Basically the entrance to the treasure room is blocked by a cave in, I need to find some Bomb Ore which used to be mined in the area and usually attracts a special type of monster the miners used to help get to the ore. Two of hem are still in the mine, one is cranky and likes to sleep a lot so you have to kind of play a bit of red light, green light as you dig in his cave area for the ore while trying not to wake him up. The second beast likes to play with the ore and so I had to crawl to a bottom lair to try to get to one that creature was kicking around. Once both are obtained, I can clear the cave in and fought a pathetically easy boss who was taken down in a single round. The big twist here is that the artifact has already been stolen by the big bad. I was however able to get the Fire Gear from Henri's vassal who may or may not be spying on me.

    The final one I'll talk about later because I haven't finished the scenario yet. You get Armic, the squirrel looking character that is also one of the leads. All I will say is that this scenario is filled with fish monsters...

    As for my party...

    Laura - Is still going strong, though I really wish I could get a third Axe panel for the bonus. She's been the most frustrating at the moment because I only need a few more select panels to get her in ideal shape. I've mostly been updating her gear to tweak her more.

    Henri - Has been doing good as well, he's finally starting to amass all those thief skills I need, I just need to arrange them better on his panel for the bonus. The boost to his dagger has also made him quite nasty in fights.

    Francis - Is doing alright, but I'm going to drop his Shield for a sword instead. Shields are just not worth the trouble it seems. He has not improved too much since I ended up benching him so I could try out the other new characters.

    Michelle - Light Martial Arts do live up to their reputation, they are pretty brutal. The hard part was just getting her outfitted enough to utilize them, and I think she; still too heavy to use the alternate Throw move. I am thinking of giving her a dagger for the parry skill but I may have to strip her of some more gear to maintain the weight. She has also been benched at the moment for the new characters since her LP does make her a liability.

    Judy - Until the last mission she was waffling a bit, she kept pulling heavy melee panels for some reason or if not that, she would pull Familiars of a lower rank the ones she currently has equipped. I managed to grab a Lv. 4 Magic tablet for her though, and I replaced the Lv.2 earth one I gave her way back in the game because I know I'm not going to get to it, and earth magic is not covered for my team. I am one spell away from finishing her Forbidden Tome tablet, but I'm a little upset to learn I can't access the unique spells it teaches until I find an item that I can use with a blacksmith to place the Forbidden Arts skill on something she can equip. I am also thinking of stripping her of her Bow because she's honestly been sticking to magic purely for my team.

    Anzan - Is a bit weird because he is simultaneously useful an useless at the same time. He's the meat shield I've been wanting for this team that Francis failed to live up to. His HP is high, he has 22 LP, and he starts with a better shield panel that sort of works sometimes. He also has most of the Earth Magic line memorized and even came with a powerful armlet that had high durability that allowed him easy access to these spells. His biggest weakness is that he's not terribly good at fighting. Both his Strength and Skill stats are low, and they're positioned in a weird way that makes it difficult to actually get both of them good. This is a bit of a problem because despite what one may thing, the endurance stat (his best stat next to earth affinity) doesn't affect his defense. Strength and Skill stats do instead based on what the enemy is using. Endurance apparently just affects how much HP he can regenerate in dungeons, and possibly his status magic resistance. So giving him LP and a means to block attacks is paramount. Where he's really useful is surprisingly from his other weakness, he's the slowest character in the game. This is actually a boon for a few reasons. If you place him first on your team position, he tends to attract most of the enemy aggression despite starting with a skill that makes enemies ignore him. So he's meant to be a meat shield with all that LP. The real bonus here is that since he's so slow, enemies tend to take most of their turns before or directly after him and he takes the punishment, allowing for your four other party members to successfully combo together their attack for some huge damage. Part of the reason why a lot of these bosses went down with little trouble was because my teal was hitting them with a four hit combo using mid-tier arts. His earth magic is also useful because he has the Animal Detect spell that debuff like half of the enemy types in the game, and since magic casting is also slow... you get the picture. The only thing I'm thinking of doing for him is giving him Michelle's gun. It's heavy as hell but shouldn't affect him, and while guns are a bit boring, they are apparently a great means of doing direct LP damage to enemies. I still have him with a shield, but for some reason he's better at using it than Francis.

    Platyphyllum - She's been a bit weird, not sure what I'm going to do with her. She's light weight like Michelle and she's really taken to using swords despite not being her ideal weapon apparently. Like Anzan she comes with most of the Wood spell line, but Wood magic is pretty useless since it's largely situational and plant enemies are one of the easiest to deal with. It would be a different story if she started with Thunderstrike, which is conveniently the only non blended Wood spell she lacks. I've got her working with spears mostly while using a sword for defense. Not sure what else I will do for her. She may become Michelle's replacement because she;s alight build as well do Light Martial Arts, but unlike Michelle, she comes with 20 LP making her pretty decent for front line fighting. If I can ever manage to get a Water Magic Tablet, I may invest in that for her. I've also heard she's good with staffs which I've neglected for most of the game.

    Musol Yanii - Is a pretty good power house, he comes with some good melee and axe panels making him pretty strong out the gate, I just need to get him to spark higher tier arts for his attack reels. Unlike his other two companions, he doesn't come onto the team with a repertoire of Metal skills, which is okay since Metal Magic is also situational and largely deals with Mimics only. He's a bruiser though, and I'm happy I gave him a dagger as a secondary item for the parry skills. He's likely going to be built into a powerhouse like Laura and Michelle. We'll see.

    Once Chapa's sequence is done, I'm probably going to hit up side quest hell to build up my party. My main goal is to find an item made of Demonite so I can access Forbidden Magic in battle, while also continue to build Damascus gear and Dragon scale if I can ever find it. The greatest boon for my team has been finding a decent blacksmith guide to outfit my team better.

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