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Thread: SaGa Franchise

  1. #196
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Update Time!

    Finished the Water Gear scenario with Armic. It only seems fitting these story quests would be bookend with the nastiest of the bunch. Armic's quest is a bit weird. You're given an orb that changes color based on the temperature. It begins green which is neutral, will turn blue if you dip it in a cold spring, and will turn red if you hold it for too long or find a hot spring to dip it in. When it's red, it starts emitting an annoying noise that attracts monsters to you, and the cave has certain enemies just standing around that you have the option of avoiding by staying hidden and letting them leave on their own,. but of course the orbs makes that hard. You have to find three statues to place the orbs in and they all require it to be one of the colors. The rob will making a ding noise if you're close to one of the statues and the correct color, so the game does at least try to help you out. There are also some fake statues that placing the orb in will summons a boss like anemone type monster that gets a ridiculous amount of turns, hits hard, and is ranked too low to spark anything useful. With the exception of him, the mission doesn't actually have a real boss which is nice. What made this mission tough was that the place was crawling with the whale shark enemies I faced off with in an earlier mission. I've been a bit too battle happy so my Monster Lv. is pretty high and nastier boss like enemies are more common. These guys are just a pain because their Big Bite attack has a high chance to do multiple LP damage to a character and when they get multiple turns, well even poor Anzan will bleed through his hefty LP rather quickly. I did find a Dragonscale Dagger which has stats comparable to Damascus, which was really nice.

    From here, the party realizes they need to go after the Metal Gear held by the big bad, but in a rare moment of foresight, Henri doesn't want to bring the gears and the blade with them to do it, cause that is just silly to take the very thing the bad guys want to their home base. Unfortunately, Francis convinces Henri to take them to his master for safe keeping and Laura and I both don't trust this guy. I mean he seems to be the only retainer of the Escata royal line that is still around, just seems fishy to me. So I'm suppose to head to his castle to drop of all this loot I've been gathering, but instead I'm using this time to actually do all of the side missions to build up my team while scouring all of the shops between missions for rare items for crafting. I'm still on the lookout for Demonite because I really don;t want prioritizing all these Forbidden spells to be for nothing. The first mission I completed was a silly one where I collected herbs for the Chapa tribe. Pretty easy quest overall. The second quest had me protecting the fields from an invasive monster, and even though I finished it, I got such a lackluster panel selection for my team I decided to reset and do it over again.

    Francis and Michelle have both been added back into the playable roster, and I'm dropping plant girl and dog boy for the moment because they are in pretty decent shape with a few Lv. 4 panels under their wings. Dog boy is starting to work on melee skills, and plant girl is finishing up catching up to Laura and Henri with sword and spear weapons. Francis is goign to be working on raising his axe skills and getting Reverse Delta, while I am happy I was able to outfit Michelle with a dagger for parry skills whi;e still maintaing her light weight status for the martial arts boost.

    Laura - Hit the jackpot during the herb quest, and managed to spark Reverse Delta, one of the strongest skills in the game. I also got her a Fire Familiar to utilize her Fire magic for the moment. As usual, I'm really just trying to get her panel setup where I want it.

    Henri - Has honestly not being much action unless I wish to give Anzan a break. He needs to start sparking higher tier arts for her dagger and spears, but he's always had trouble sparking moves it seems. He is fortunately not far from the ideal panel set-up I want for him, and I gave him Fortuneteller since Judy refuses to get it.

    Judy - Finally mastered her Lv. 2 Forbidden Magic tablet, I now have her working on a Lv. 4 one that may be associated with one of her relatives since it was named after a person. The real boon for me it that it appears to be a water themed tablet so I may finally get Purify and Ice Needles. Familiars are nice, but I really need to get her panel setup a little better and start weaning her off of using them since they won;t be able to access all the spells available.

    Anzan - Has been doing what I need. I got him a super useful panel that allows him to take less damage in battle which improves his tanking even more. He's sparked a few moves but sadly he's just not built for melee combat, instead I've turned him into a tank mage using his Earth spells and Metal spell Familiar to deal with the various mobs of the game by either debuffing them or buffing the team. I really wish I could get him access to the Weapon/Armor buff spells from the Metal class. Giving him guns didn't work out as well as I had hoped because much like Shields, guns are a weapon that is only useful if you have a gun proficiency panel and a high level one at that. That's what actually determines what appear son the slots for it. So unless I manage to draw one during his level up period, that idea is on the back burner.

    Armic is the new kid on the block and sadly he doesn't start with a whole lot. He uses bows and swords for combat and has a surprisingly high LP for a character about the same build as Judy the mage at 14 LP. I imagine he's light enough to use Light Martial Arts but for now I'm building him into an archer since Judy became a full-time mage. Most of his other skills are ones for getign around a map like obstacle climbing and swimming, so I may have to drop them. I'll likely drop his sword for a dagger instead since both the dagger and bow are skilled based weapons, he looks like someone I'm going to have to specialize in a specific field to make him useful. Right now his big issue is playing catch up with the rest of the team due to having only starting lv. panels and ridiculously low HP. So he may be staying on the roster for a bit.

    For now, I'll be focusing on side missions of which there is a healthy chunk of them. I hope to start seeing Lv. 5 panels for people soon, and I hve my fingers crossed that Magic Blender may pop up eventually, preferably for Judy. Also, just for fun, I started a new game of Final Fantasy Legend 1, using the same team build (2 humans, 1 espers, and 1 monster) but this game will likely be me screwing around a bit. I've already leveled my monster to a tier 13 beast, and I'm using the King's gear to amass money for stat potions. My Esper is ding the same nonsense as last time, even has the same spell list, but I may ignore their abilities and just see where it goes from there.

  2. #197
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    So I splurged on myself recently and picked up FFL3 and SaGa Frontier 1 which should be coming into the mail soonish. FFL3 has already arrived and is now my mobile game I'm playing between finishing up Terra Battle's story mode.

    FFL3 is the true black sheep entry of the franchise. I'm starting to see why SaGa fans don't talk about it much. What's funny about this is that its the black sheep simply because it's the most conventional entry in the franchise. The team that had worked on the first two entries were green lit to make a console entry, so they were busy working on Romancing SaGa for the Super Famicom, and a new team was created to make the third installment. This team would go on to make Final Fantasy USA/Mystic Quest and it shows. The quirky character development system is gone and replaced with a normal XP/Lvl system. Magic is bought in shops, weapons don't break, and most surprising of all, the party are all named characters with backstories. It does keep some SaGa elements such as the ability to have monsters and robots on your team, but the mechanics are radically different from the last games and is much more user-friendly and even reversible. The music is pretty good, though I'm not as wild about some of the new arrangements of the classic themes.

    The plot has you playing as three orphans from a bad future where a great evil has destroyed the world and is starting to move it's influence into the past. One man sent Arthur, Curtis and Gloria into the past in hopes they could grow strong enough to fix things. They are trying to rebuild a ship called the Talon, which has the power to time travel so they can try to change their bad future. At the moment, I'm looking for pieces to get the poor thing mobile.

    I find it amusing how the game sort of nudges you with the monster/robot mechanics because Curtis and Sharon, the daughter of the old man who helped raise the four orphans has tagged along, are both terrible characters that levels don't help. After upgrading them by turning Sharon into a monster and Curtis into a Robot, my team is far more competent. Course maybe I shouldn't really bother because this game is really easy so far. Not helped that enemies must be made of money because they practically explode with it and I'm not even in the second town and I've already accumulated over 10,000 GP. The most expensive things in a shop are only 400GP. I'm not even grinding, it just happened. I do like the fact there is a jump function. I always love when RPGs try to be more interactive with the environment by implementing platforming. Anyway, this is going to be a weird ride for sure...

    As for Unlimited SaGa, I tackled my first of the Seven Wonders which are kind of a big deal in the plot, just not Laura's so most of them are optional. I did the Star Anchor dungeon which was pretty neat. It had mini-bosses and some actual puzzle mechanics involving a star chart that has to be traversed in the correct way to proceed. The mini-boss were two Wyverns that protected one of the constellation charts a piece. The final boss had some actual dialogue, being a guardian of the wonder who transformed into a Lich from his knowledge gained from the place. He was a handful because he uses Forbidden Magic which likes to paralyze whoever it hits, and his physical attack does no HP damage and instead targets your LP directly. Sounds mean, but my team is better equipped than I thought and we took him down no problem.

    This dungeon ended up being a serious boon for me though. I acquired three Magic Tablets, sparked a crap ton of Lv4 and 5 weapon arts including a third character who can use Reverse Delta, and even learned that the Magic Tablet I have Judy mastering has the incredibly rare Thunderstrike spell on it, which makes getting Magic Blender for her even more important since that spell is one of the main ingredients to access all the good spells. Even my panel selection at the end was pretty good for everyone except maybe Laura. Overall, it was a pretty good evening tackling this dungeon and I've finished all of the quests from Chapa village. Moving onto Escata where one of the missions has a boss with one of the highest monster levels in the game, meaning I should have no problem sparking all of the other Lv. 3-5 arts for my team weapons. I'm also still amassing some good materials for weapons, and managed to find some more Mullock to build Damascus weapons. I've also learned why Damascus is considered the best material in the game despite Diamond and Dragonscale technically making better weapons, and that's simply because you can make Damascus, whereas the other two materials can only be found and even then, are extremely rare and expensive when you do. I'm still having a lot of fun with this game, and I feel I've really hit a good stride with it. definitely one of those games that has a bad rep, but is really just misunderstood.

  3. #198
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time!

    Never got around to Unlimited SaGa today but I advanced a bit on FFL3. This has really been a weird game, and while I usually will go to bat for Ted Woosely, I'll admit this has not been one of his better works but I'm chocking this up to the GB being even more limited than the SNES. I did some stuff in the past and apparently saved some girl from that time and then brought her back to the present so she can be useful for some future endeavor. The game is not terribly clear about this. Also one of the big bad's evil fortresses is rising from the ocean depths, but Cronos (who looks like an 8-bit Jesus Christ) wants me to ignore it for the time being and go to a southern tower to grab the Talon device that will finally let me travel to the future timelines. It is also amusing how the game re-uses sprites. It seems like the time travel is jumping me anywhere from 20 to 50 years and yet the sprites for the Elder and Granny are the same in both the past and present. Meanwhile, Cronos is a kid in the past, but becomes 8-bit Jesus in the Present. I can already tell this is going to be one of those games where the plot is interesting, but is going to be held back by the hardware.

    I'll give this game props, the proper bosses in it all seem to be based off or at least inspired by creatures from Lovecraft, and the actual threat of the game seems to be coming from the ocean. The Seahag boss was clearly based off of a servant of Dagon, and the seond boss was some weird worm with wings or tentacles I couldn't quite tell as I was distracted by its henchmen which were rabbit people in witch clothing. Also, Maitreya is apparently a minion of the big bad, which amuses me considering the namesakes actual origin in Hindu Mythology. Sadly, I can't say the monster designs of this game have been great, not that other two GBA entries had great designs themselves, but there is something bit more hokey about the ones in this game, probably has to do with the visual distortions since this game is taking cliff notes from FFIII and likes to have you fight five to eight monsters per battle. The fact I'm starting to see ones that like to multiply has been concerning.

    I have also decided that Monster and Robots are a bit too much trouble than they are worth. Monsters work like they do in classic SMT, and so their stats and skills are set and there is no way to change them without changing the monster. Great if you happen to get a strong monster, but not so great if you get a bad one. Robots are again a money sink but whereas they were broken as hell in FFL2, they require way more love to get them going well as they need special stat boosting items to make them not suck. I had poor Curtis go full robot and he went from having over 200hp down to 35hp, with crappy stats to boot. Granted, the intermediary forms are not so bad outside of having limited Talents to rely on. Cyborg Curtis was pretty awesome and Sharon's Beast form was okay until her full monster form blew it out of the water until it eventually started to get out classed. I'll experiment with these mechanics later as I'm sure I'm missing something here.

    Overall it's been weird, like if SaGa 2, Mystic Quest, and FFI had a baby.

  4. #199
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time!

    Only played a little of both titles today.

    SaGa 3 - I went to the South Tower like I was told, and it turned out to be a bit of a waste of time. The component I was looking for has already been taken by the villains and is currently in the rising fortress near the underground town. Course the place is apparently locked as I got a key from the boss of this dungeon. Speaking of the boss, oh how the mighty has fallen. Ashura just seems to get demoted with every installment of the GB entries. He was the front man for the true villain in SaGa1, was the starter villain for SaGa 2, and here he's now just a flunky for the real villains. He's still a bitch to fight though as he does hit hard and all of the bosses in this game have lots of HP. I am reconsidering the Monster/Robot though I may stick to their transitional forms for a while as Cyborgs and Beast have a little more to offer since they get the best of both worlds. My main issue being poor Curtis, who can't seem to keep himself a alive, but I don;t want to get rid of his useful magic, so this might be a good compromise. I am also learning to really hate Petrify status because I have no means of curing the status at this time. A large part opf Curtis issue is he keeps getting hit with this status and loses XP making him a level behind the rest of the team. I may need to grind a bit, but I have surprisingly gotten a few good item drops from enemies including a Dragon Helm for Arthur and a Cure 2 Spell for Sharon. My next stop is the ocean base.

    Unlimited SaGa - Mostly toyed around with a mission called the Titan's Flute. It involves going into a tower that has a device on the top floor that emits a sound that drives away monsters.The real trick to this dungeon is that there are two ways to finish it after you successfully hit the right switches on the top floor. The first involves going back the way you came, only to discover this big scary statue of a Titan is actually a monster who found the distorted sound like a lullaby and was napping in the dungeon. He wakes up cranky and will chase you. The other method is finding a hidden switch that let's you take a back route that let's you explore the other half of the tower, but this area is swarming with demons and undead, though it does have a lot of Lv. 99 chests. I failed my third attempt at this dungeon. The first time, I didn't do the switches correctly and didn't even wake up the Titan. The second time, I woke him up and whooped his ass, but again, I didn't do the switches quite right since it was still at the wrong frequency. The third attempt involved trying out the back route but I got hit with so many monster encounters and failed treasure chest spot checks, I eventually ran out of turns and failed the mission. Thankfully, this is one of the few missions where failure doesn't make the missions inaccessible, I simply get booted out and have to try again, so I've been getting a lot of Weapon Arts learned, unlocking skills for my gear, got a magic tablet for my trouble, and have learning a lot of magic with Tablets. Both Dog and Beaver boy have mastered their Lv. 1 Tablets. I have learned that Judy has sort of hit the mother load with this Lv. 4 Tablet I found because in addition to Thunderstrike, this Tablet also teaches a ton of Water Magic such as Bubbleblast, Ice Needle, and Purify. I seriously hope I can get her a Magic Blender Panel to turn her into a real force to be reckoned with. I am also going to need to rework her equipment setup because in addition to Forbidden Arts, I'm going to need gear with both Wood and Water Arts now as well. Laura sparked a really good fist art, and Armic of all people sparked a really good sword one. The rest of the team could be doing better in terms of sparking arts, but I'm slowly getting them to earn all of the low ranking ones. So despite failing the mission so many times, I've been getting a lot of good stuff out of it.

  5. #200
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    SaGa 3 - Tried to take on the underwater fortress and noticed I was kind of getting smacked around too much by the random encounters. After getting pelted with the Stone status too much, I left to do a bit of grinding before it occurred to me that I didn't bother really exploring the map after gaining the Dive spell. Sure enough, found a few treasure spots and the town of Muu which I've been hearing about because the town is under a curse turning the inhabitants into Dagon followers. I obtained an item that could help them, but I need to go to the past to plant it so it will be available in the present or possibly future. The place did have a shop and some better armor and softs, so now I feel a bit better about tackling the fortress. I plan on exploring the past version of the ocean floor before returning to the present to get back to the plot proper.

    Unlimited SaGa - I think the biggest gripe I have with the whole "board game" aspect of the dungeons is that it significantly slows down doing anything. These side missions are a bit long winded when you have to deal with multi-floor dungeons. I attempted the Hanging Gardens and ended up getting stuck because I couldn't quite figure out how the seasons affect things and I kept running into dead ends that required a Climbing skill no one on my team has. Instead I tackled the lone quest from the starting town that involves climbing a tower made by a powerful wizard who defeated and sealed away five magical beasts. The place is a maze and uses magic teleporting switches to move around it. The enemy types in the place were surprisingly weak, including the special assassin enemies guarding the switches. There is a treasure chest on the first floor protected by a seal of the five beasts, so when I went up to the top floor the first time, I only took down the first one which was a bird enemy and didn't realize the trick to facing the other four. So I marched back down to the first floor and realized my mistake, but by then I had used up most of my turns, so I purposely failed it. On the bright side, this opened up some new stuff in the shops and I was able to acquire some more Mullok for Damascus gear. My second attempt went slightly smoother since the game will remember maps you've been through. Didn't take as long to reach the top this time, and I finally realized the trick to facing the other beasts. Basically the top floor has a pillar in the center with five paths leading to it. Depending on which path you take, you find a different colored seal. My mistake was taking the first path and calling it done. I decided to check out the last path before the stairs to the roof and found myself facing my first dragon.

    Dragons, in SaGa, are no pushovers. They are one of the strongest and most well rounded monster races in the GB entry, and they are close to being optional super bosses in the Romancing trilogy on the rare times you encounter them. These things are going to make you work for it, and Unlimited is no different. This boss is tanky and probably has more LP than anything else I've ever encountered. Most of its attacks are strong enough to do LP damage, and this boss was one of the first ones to have a ton of group hitting attacks, making it extremely dangerous and forcing me to sometimes sacrifice a character by leaving them alone on the battle field, just so the rest of the team didn't get too beat up. Fight was a major uphill battle, but I managed to spark several techs including a cool high level Kick Art that looks like Sol Badguy's special kick move where he ricochets off the wall and goes into a flying kick. I also managed to have plant girl learn Bopeep, which is one of the best Sword arts in the game because in addition to looking cool since it's basically Omnislash with teleportation portals, it has a high chance of inflicting Darkness, which is the name of this game's version of Instant Death magic. Even some bosses are susceptible to it. Laura managed to learn the highest of the starting axe weapons and even got a another sword art as well.

    After that struggle, I opted to fight the bird boss I had beaten before as my next target. Boss is pretty easy, mostly single target attacks, he's just speedy. My second boss ended up being the second hardest of the group, an Eastern style dragon with group hitting lightning magic. Thankfully it has about 3 less LP, so I did manage to kill it before I started losing party members. Once three of the bosses are taken down, you get returned to the first floor here the treasure chest is now accessible. Unfortunately, it was booby trapped with an explosion trap, which will destroy the content of the treasure if you trip it, and being a Lv. 99 chest, meant that even having a high Difuse skill meant I had a slim chance of success. To make a long story short, I botched it and never got the treasure contents, but ended up finishing the missions anyway because I sparked a ton of great Weapon Arts and my two forays through the tower earned me enough battles to master a ton of magic on my tablets. I'm actually going to reconfigure Judy and drop her Bow weapon so I can give her a fourth item with a a magic art on it. Laura's tablet is a water themed one which has also been teaching her a few Wood and Earth skills, while Plant Girl's was purely Earth elemental which is easily one of the best support magic groups. I also managed to pick up a spear someone made from one of the game's rarest metals. I also got mostly garbage in terms of panels, but again, I sparked too many good skills to not keep moving forward. I'm now going to tackle the Hanging Gardens a second time.

  6. #201
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    SaGa 3 - Finished the Underwater Fortress and defeated Chaos, the first of the four minions of the big bad. The fortress was actually pretty swanky for a GB game and it had some neat tricks like one way floor panels, holes you need to use to reach hidden treasure and hidden pathways. I only got stuck once because I didn't realize that the door I needed to reach the next section was actually a door. Hard to tell since I'm playing this on a first gen GBA with no back light. What is really cool was how the top three floors are all futuristic and high tech, but once I used the Chaos Key to reach the lower floors, it turns into an actual old style temple. I'm really digging the Lovecraftian imagery of this game. Chaos himself was not what I was expecting. In true FF tradition, he's an earth elemental who looks like the love child between Titan and Golem. Basically Titan's design, but with stone for skin. He hit hard and has Quake, but after being stuck wandering in his dungeon for awhile and getting all the better spells and gear at Mu, I trounced him pretty easily. I now have the Talon pieces that allow me go Back to the Future! which Arthur even said to Chaos when asked why he wants the component. I'm going to check to see if the seeds I planted have formed a cure yet for some of the townsfolk turning into fish people first before I dive into the next section.

    Unlimited SaGa - Tackled the Hanging Gardens, which ended up being a bit simpler than I thought. Turns out the only season that matters is winter since it forms ice bridges. I also put Armic the Beaver/squirrel boy on my team and completely forgot he was the character I had placed all of the mobility panels on, so I could sneak past some of the places with obstacles to get their treasure. The dungeon is more annoying than anything as there are spots where plants attack you and you have to roll to see if you evade them, if you don't, then these statue monsters appear and change the season on you. There are also special points where one of them will appear and ask you which wing it should use to fix the broken pieces of themselves. You get four choices and they are each based on one of the seasons. This puzzle turns out to be really simple because the answer is always the following season it currently is, so if it's Spring, you choose the wing for Summer and it makes it happy and they'll change the season to that one. This is the other way to change seasons. I did encounter some seriously powerful monsters by the end, but I didn't exactly spark as many good arts as I would like. Anzan did manage to spark a really cool Kick art that seems to be loosely based off of Tifa's Dolphin Blow though. The boss of this dungeon was a real pain in the ass. It was a giant humanoid wasp creature that got something like eight turns per round and loves to both poison your team mates with it's group hitting attack, but also had a lot of pierce style moves which means it did direct LP damage a lot. Took out Judy and nearly wiped out Henri, Anzan, and Laura since it occasionally did 3 LP with some of its combos.

    I didn't get very many good panels from this victory, not sparked a lot of good arts, but I have managed to learn a few more spells and I'm trying to stop myself from redoing missions so I can get on with things. I am a bit disappointed I gave Judy the other high end Magic Tablet because it turned out it also had Thunderbringer and Purify on it which Plant Girl could have used instead. Course it had Holy Seal on it which is a powerful group hitting fire spell. Laura's panel also has a lot of water and earth spells on it. I was mostly happy to get Missile Guard since that spell reduces the chance of taking direct LP damage and is super useful for her since her death means an automatic game over. Plant Girl is mostly finished with her Earth Tablet, but I think the next few tablets I acquire are going to her since I feel she would make a better mage and Judy needs some backup. I did manage to find some more Mullock from the shops, so I'll be making more Damascus gear. I really wish Henri had managed to unlock some Weapon Arts off the spear he has equipped, but I'm grateful my Dog Boy managed to do one for the Black Dagger which will likely be Henri's replacement for the Blade of Escata when I go do the final boss fights. I'm also happy I keep finding Stone Helmets, because they seem to be the type of gear that has Null Darkness as a common skill to them, and apparently Laura's final boss likes to inflict that status a lot.

  7. #202
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    SaGa 3 - Not a whole lot, discovered the seeds I sowed in the past simply give birth to a talking tree in the present and future who gives me clues on what to do. The future is... interesting. Mainly because it's a but dystopian, just not in a way you would imagine. Basically the big bad has created some magic urn that is flooding the world, so the past has the largest land mass, but by the time you reach the future, most of the world is underwater except for something called the Purelands. I met up with the resistance and learned the future is actually just fifteen years from the present. Two kids my party played with are now adults running the resistance movement and the Dagon virus has transformed Mu into it's very own monster infested Zozo. My goal at the moment is to rescue one of the former kids I grew up who has been captured by the next minion Maetriya. I started dabbling with meat and robot parts again. Decided my main issue was I gave the wrong things to my characters, so Curtis the Esper has been transformed into an Osiris Beast which means he use his magic but loses some of his bonuses in exchange for access to Talents. The best part was the massive HP boost he got. Sharon became a Cyborg Dullahan which has not been quite as much of a boon because Humans are surprisingly OP in this game (they do 2x damage with weapons) but the HP gains and access to some Talents haven't been too bad for her either.

    Unlimited SaGa - Finished all the side quests in Iskandaria which leaves me about four side quests before I have nothing left. Most of these quests involved exploring a desert setting and dealing with some nasty sandstorms. I managed to acquire a low level Water tablet which I've given to my plant lady and have already managed to teach her Purity. I'm having mixed feelings about teaching Laura magic at this point because it's been causing her to pull some really useless Panels when quests are completed. If Henri wasn't so damn useful since he has all of the treasure chest panels, I'd start leaving him behind on missions to help other characters catch up. I managed to get a jackpot of Mullock so I'm getting close to a point where I've got more Damascus stuff than other material types which is not a bad thing. I'm actually starting to use them more since I have plenty to spare and I still need to unlock their Weapon Arts. Oddly enough, I feel kind of confident enough now where I'm sure I could hit end game. I've been seeing more Lv 5 Panels and I've gained a good assortment of Arts for my team. I do still wish I could get Magic Blender but knowing my luck, either Anzan or Armic will get it before Judy or Laura do. I also wish I could get some Ax panels for Laura again, and I wish Anzan could get a Shield Panel higher than Lv. 2. I've already dropped the shield for Francis. Anyway, I'm getting close to the end.

  8. #203
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time!

    SaGa 3 - I'm going to level with you. This has been one of the hardest games to get into. Mainly because it's kind of blah in terms of gameplay. Like there are some interesting ideas for sure, but not a whole lot of reason to bother either. The game tries to keep the idea of weapons being based on stats, but it doesn't really work very well because the party is static in level ups so agility based weapons are often not as useful as others. Monsters and Robots are neat, but they have so many drawbacks and not enough positives to make it a hard argument to bother with them instead of just rolling with your party normally. More damning is how bad this game has already started re-using enemy sprites. I'm already on my fourth tier of all of the starting enemies and I've only beaten four bosses. So my issue is that I find the narrative interesting, but the gameplay is so stale that playing has been hard.

    Unlimited SaGa - Finally finished Side-Quest Hell. The only sidequest left is the Secret Quest, which is basically a randomized quest designed to give players a chance to level up more once all the normal quests are done. I've managed to gain a lot of new techs for my party, transformed Armic into a one squirrel/beaver boy swimming /climbing expert, and I have been making a lot of Damascus gear and finally crafting them with elemental arts so my team can start making use of all of these spells I've been teaching them. My only real regret is how Judy can't seem to gain any panels I really want for her, and Michelle refuses to spark third and fourth tier melee moves for some inexplicable reason. The last few missions were interesting. One involved chasing a bunch of monsters through a scary garden because they stole a love letter my client had left there. The final wonder I did involved hitting switches on a series of floating islands to bring up and elevator that takes me to the Blue Dragon that is lord of the place. I went searching for a wealthy man hiding out in his treasure vault because his wife hasn't seen him in awhile and she needs access to the vault to sell off his collections, and finally I went to a Knight's Mausoleum that has a Heaven/Hell aspect with the floors and the top and bottom floor are guarded by a really nasty set of bosses that actually stalk the floor, so you don't really know when you'll actually encounter them. Pretty neat overall. Part of me wants to try a few secret missions to see if I can luck out and gain the panels I really want, and the other part of me is frankly ready to move on with the plot and try to finish the game soon. I have maybe two more story missions left from my understanding. I may write up some valuable info for anyone crazy enough to try this game out in the future, but I get a feeling most people here are likely not interested. It's an incredibly quirky game.

  9. #204
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Due to RL, I have not had much time to work on either game. Mostly been sticking to mobile gaming and mostly trying to finish up Terra Battle or doing some Pokemon Go. That changed around last night because I had initially signed up for the beta testing on Romancing SaGa re:Universe but missed the beta due to RL once again. The game officially came out in the West two days ago. Curiosity got the better of me and I checked it out last night and I'm already hooked.

    The easiest way to describe it is that the game is basically FF Record Keeper just with the SaGa IP and game mechanics. It does feature a real plot and have a central cast, but a big part of the plot is the arrival of mysterious towers that summon heroes and villains from other SaGa titles. The main plot is set 300 years after Romancing SaGa 3 and follows a man named Polka, who is a former acrobat who traveled with a circus with his sister Liz. She was kidnapped by a dark figure and has now roamed the lands looking for her. He has joined the Graves Knights, an order of warriors based in Vanguard who explore the mysterious Graves that have begun to pop up across the globe. As mentioned earlier, the Graves serve as a portal to alternate worlds and exploring them will sometimes have Polka re-enact famous moments from the games.

    You can build a party of up to five characters and can use gems or tickets to draw characters from the whole franchise to make up our team. Characters are bit unique, because they are sorted by rank from A to SS and it's possible to get the same character just with different ranks. The ranks deal with a characters "Style" which is a fancy way of saying how they develop and what skills they can spark. Each character can only spark up to three moves and their style alters what stats will likely be raised when you finish a mission. It's pretty straight forward and it's possible to switch styles on a character if you own different ranks of them. Mages are also a bit unique as they only gain magic after a mission is completed but some characters can do both magic and weapon arts.

    There is a crafting system, but I'm way too early in the game to make use of it. There are also formations, but again, I'm still too early to make use of it. You can also send characters on expeditions so you level up large swaths of them at once. Expeditions remove them from play for a set amount of real world time, but you can also acquire special tickets that make expeditions end instantly for the bonus. Party members will get stat gains and style points for going on these missions, but they won't unlock weapon or magic arts so you'll still need to use everyone if you want them to be good.

    I'm currently rolling a party with Polka, Faerie, Gerad, Laura, and Sif.

  10. #205
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I must say, I think Re:Universe might be one of the better mobile games SE has released. Helps that it was designed not to be pay-to-win seeing how the game hands out all of the materials for summoning and crafting. Hell the easiest way to level is to do expeditions (which I've learned doesn't actually remove characters from being used on story missions) since you can get great stat gains from them and they mainly use real world time to do. The even missions also prove this point as there is one that lets you face off against Subier from RS2 and he owned my team, until I realized I was bringing the wrong team and built a team with high natural ice/water defense that let me shrug off his more devastating attacks. The game really tries to focus more on strategy than grinding stats and gear levels which is really nice.

    The plot is also been pretty interesting, though you'll get more out of it if you've played the series, especially Romancing SaGa 3. Most surprising is that the game is actually very story/character driven for a SaGa entry. Even more quirky is how unlike Record Keeper, this game makes it a plot point that you're recruiting characters from the franchise, so they've been having their own story lines and interactions, which has been really nice. The most amusing moment is when the party tried to grill Ellen about what happened 300 years ago seeing how she's one of the Eight Legendary Heroes. Unfortunately for the team, the Ellen with us is one from before her adventure started. Reading some of the character descriptions has also been interesting because the one for Leon, the original king of Avalon in RS2 is apparently one from after his death in the original, as he acknowledges that Gerad has taken his being into him. I'm hoping that may become a plot element later.

    I am also surprised how attached I am to the characters from these games. Like I've been surprised which characters make me feel super happy to obtain like Sif and Hawke from RS1, Gustave and Ginny from SF2, and Ellen and Robin from RS3.

    It's been a really nice diversion for me.

  11. #206
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Well this is a first for me when it comes to mobile gaming. I've actually reached the end of the available story content it seems, unless there is a trick I don't know about. Left on a real cliffhanger too.

    I've collected a good chunk of characters so far, and I've been mostly grinding this one story mission to try and obtain a super rare drop in the form of an SS rank version of Rouge from SaGa Frontier. I've been upgrading equipment and working on side content which got me the Christmas themed Flurry (who is awesome btw) and I recruited Subier as well. While grinding this mission is tedious, it has allowed me to spark a good chunk of my playable characters weapon/magic arts.

    My best team so far is:

    Gerad (RS2) SS Rank - High HP, access to a group hitting sword skill, access to the best sword skill and great skills overall. I have his S Rank form as well and as soon as I figure out how to inherit skills, I may give him access to Wildfire so he'll have a Fire spell. His two innate abilities I've unlocked increase his defense and attack power at full HP. He's not even at maxed style level yet.

    Santa Flurry (RS3) S Rank - High defense against melee, fire, and water damage, he also comes with a low cost healing spell, decent LP to use it, and his most powerful attack does dual strike and water damage. His innate abilities are what make him really BS. His third skill increases the effect of healing magic, he can randomly cure the status of any living party member at the start of a turn, and if he is killed in battle, he does a group heal spell to all surviving party members. He is proof that event characters are BS in these types of games.

    Ellen (RS3) SS Rank - Is largely how she is in RS3, a damage beast. Her SS rank gives her access to the awesome Time Lapse and Dynamic Chop ax arts. All of her innate abilities crank up her regular and critical hit damage. As an SS rank, she gets very high stats and stat gains. She's almost as tanky as Gerad and Gustave. She also has higher strike defense than most characters.

    Sophia (RS2) SS rank - Sophia is my second healer, with a low cost healing spell, higher LP than Flurry. She also gains Bonecrusher which is a great hammer skill that lowers an enemies strength. Her innate abilities cause her regular blows to raise her Love stat which increases healing effect. She also has Flurry's skill to restore the team when killed, and her final skill increases her healing ability anyway which is already better than Flurry's skill level. She also just has better stats overall and high natural defense against the two most common damage types.

    Gustave XIII (SF2) S Rank - Despite only being S rank, his stats are on par with SS rank characters with the exception of HP. Gustave gets access to the overpowered Bull Crush greatsword skill which does way more damage than it should to enemies and he is the only character I've obtained who has access to Wheel Swing, which is a rare group hitting greatsword skill. Where he really shines is his innate abilities. He has one skill that works like Cover from FF but with the bonus of doing reduced damage, he can potentially restore some of his own health at the start of a round and it's a generous amount I might add. Finally, he has a form of One More Chance, allowing him to survive a fatal blow once per mission. He is a beast, and I can't wait until I can acquire one of his two SS rank incarnations to see what they can do.

    Editga: Okay figured out how to inherit skills. What's neat is that not only can you switch which skills you want at no cost, if you have the character in multiple teams, you can still specialize which skills they inherit by team. This game is surprisingly user-friendly for this franchise.

  12. #207
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Okay, so I have a real update today:

    SaGa 3 - I've reached a sky world in the future which may be the base of operations for the Big Bad. I'm looking for one of the kids from the starting village, who is now fully grown and a member of the resistance. She disappeared on a mission and I've teamed up with her playmate to go rescue her. Got some new gear in the town and reorganized my magic. Still playing with Beasts and Cyborgs, but not ready to venture into Robots or Monsters since both seem to be something that works better for the player if you wait until endgame. I explored a weird cave with water paths that drag you in specific directions and lots of hidden rooms. The other was a tower where my team is looking for the component that may finally let my time machine fly. Unfortunately Maitreya is there waiting for us and he may have mortally injured my guest companion. I whooped their ass but now I'm stuck as it's been so long since my last game time that I've forgotten where I'm suppose to use the radio or remote to get off this sky rock. We learned the missing friend is on the floating island where Sol, the creator god is sleeping. I laugh a bit from this seeing as how I named me MC in SaGa 1 by that name. Anyway, we may be able to save our other friend but first I need to leave.

    Unlimited SaGa - I decided to get on with it and jumped the plot ahead. Henri talks with his former vassal and has him guard all the Elemental Gears and the Blade of Escata while we storm the castle of the guy who killed Henri's parents and stole the Metal Gear. My team is certainly well leveled for this part of the game, but his castle was pretty long winded with me needing to go into the basement to reach the other side of his castle that has the stairs leading to his throne. I will give the game props though, the boss fight was interesting because I was restricted to one party member per round. I could switch out to any available party member of course, but only one person at a time to make this into a duel. Guy had like 20+ LP too, so this fight was pretty interesting. I ended up actually beating him, meaning I get to do the hard version of Laura's endgame. Apparently I learned after the fact that I can actually lose this boss fight and all it did was make this guy the final villain. By beating him, I get the more difficult true villain, the vassal that Laura and I felt was too sketchy. So Now I just need to go after him in the final dungeon and I'll complete at least character for Unlimited SaGa.

    Re:Universe - Since I hit the end of the available story missions, I'm spending time doing side missions for materials and better gear while also going through the Hard mode version of Story Mode which offers new loot and potential party members. My core team have all hit the Lv. 30 soft cap for their style levels and I'm using the character pieces I've obtained to to boost most of them to Lv. 40. I've also thrown them into an Expedition party since it's the fastest way to get lots of stat boosts. Been playing with upgrading gear as well. My biggest haul was finally acquiring the SS Rank Rouge and drawing an S Rank Undine, Laura, and Henri. I also managed to get another of the holiday themed characters which is a Harpy from RS2. I only wish I could pull one of the other Gustave's, as having more than one style of a character tends to be better for them stat-wise since even lower tier styles can sometimes specialize in stats growth the higher tier ones are missing. Getting access to a transfer skill for him would be great as well. I also wish I could draw more archer characters as it's the weapon type I have the lowest level for. So far the most amusing thing about the game is some of the questionable weapon choices for characters. Unlike the main series, characters are assigned specific weapon types to use. The obvious funny ones are where a character uses a weapon type counter to their artwork. Some of the military units from RS2 tend to fall into this with one guy being a Greatsword expert despite having a spear in their artwork. The weirdest one so far has been Laura from US. In all of her official artwork, she's seen with a sword. The game has her as a spear specialist. This is doubly humorous for me because in US, spears are a skill based weapon type, and Laura has the worst skill stat of the main characters, meaning she would be awful using spears. Not sure why they didn't make her an ax or melee user since those weapon types are her best ones. Henri also gets rapiers as his weapon choice in this game despite not being a weapon type in his game. But that one is slightly less bothersome since Rapiers are skilled based weapons (which Henri is a great skill based user in his original game) and Henri's artwork often has him using light swords and rapiers. My hope is that maybe the later chapters are hidden behind Hard Mode and by completing the story mode in the higher difficulty, I can unlock the next set.

  13. #208
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Unlimited Saga is complete with Laura at least. I dabbled in another character story, but wasn't sure I was ready to dive back in like I was for PS2 and 3. Overall, I feel the game suffers from a bad rep , but is surprisingly better than people make it out to be. It's core design is certainly out there and requires approaching the game in a very different light, but it works out for the most part. It is surprisingly more story heavy than other entries I've played so far.

    So when I last left off, we discovered the one dude had been able to conquer Escata because the retainer had betrayed the royal family. Sadly, we handed over all the elemental gears and the blade and he ran off to a place called the Nanke Lines I believe? It's based on the Nanzca Lines in South America and the theme of the dungeon is to uncover every room that creates one of the pictures made from it. Most of it was easy until the Giant room, because that one involved invisible walls, and while the first one is hinted to you, the others weren't making matters worse, this area was crawling with high level undead. In a rare act of mercy, the dungeon actually had a save point and restored all of the party's health, including LP. So that was neat.

    The final battle starts with a rematch with the retainer dude, who is pulling off his best Golbez impression by having a wicked cool skeleton dragon wrap around him and fight with him. His signature attack is Shadow Breath even, and it's a pain in the ass. Not because it does a lot of damage, mostly because it inflicts an annoying status effect called Blackout, which is kind of like Paralyze except in this game, it's terrible. Basically, if a party member gets killed or nailed with a debilitating status effect that prevents them from taking action, the game still counts them as on the field, so they use up a turn and the only way to stop this is to remove them from the field by having another character waste their action to do so. Weight is also a factor, which is where Anzan becomes a double edged sword, because he weighs so much no character can rescue him if he were to be killed or hit with blackout.

    The retainer isn't so bad though, I made sure to equip most of my team with a helmet that resists blackout. With him taken out, he goes on about how the royal family squandered the power they had and uses it to summon Chaos, a primordial force used by the gods to create the world. You need to read the Ultimania to get this info though... Anyway, this boss is a bit weird. He has four phases and as I mentioned in an earlier post, he acquires the signature attack of each character's main villain. So in my case, Shadow Breath. His design is interesting, sort of like a weird flower, skeleton, Gilgamesh, Safer Sephiroth looking abomination. You face him on the blue moon of the planet, until his final form, where you take him on in the second red moon. Man Square loves that imagery. This is at least the third game to use this visual. His first two phases are jokes, where he mainly uses the various weapons on its back to smack you around. In fact, with the exception of two attacks, overall its attacks look more impressive than they really are. The two attacks that are a big threat come during the last two phases. The first is Overkill which is a group hitting attack with a good chance to do LP damage. Raven's Edge on the other hand is the real threat. Ironically, it's the least impressive attack since it's basically a basic overhead sword attack but it does massive LP damage. Course the real reason why the final phase is actually a challenge is because it's turns practically triple, so watching it take a character with 19 LP get hit with a four hit combo of Raven't Edge and walk away with 5 LP left afterwards is really scary. Thankfully for me, I brought three Axe specialists and Henri managed to spark a really impressive spear art during the first encounter with the Retainer. It was incredibly close though by the end, and Henri was actually killed while the rest of my team had maybe 3 LP a piece. So it still stands that SaGa has nastier final bosses than most RPGs I've played, though of the SaGa games I've played, Chaos might be the easiest. Laura gets a slightly bittersweet ending, though fairly uplifting. I'm glad I started with her.

    Best characters: Laura, Henri, Michelle, Judy, and Musol Yanii
    Least Favorite: Platyphyllum, who is not a bad character per se, I just could never find a good niche on my team for them.
    Best Voice Acting: Michelle and Platyphyllum
    Worst: Francis, Armic, and retainer
    Best Weapon Arts: Axe, Swords, Daggers, and Light Martial Arts
    Worst Weapon Arts: Throw, Staffs, and Spears
    Best Magic: Water, Earth, and Fire
    Worst magic: Wood and Metal
    Best Panels: Haggle, Defuse, Locksmith, Sharpeye, and Iron Body
    Favorite Boss: The Tree Monster or Phoenix
    Least Favorite: Dragons...
    Scrappiest SaGa game?: Oh yeah...
    Still worth playing?: Oh yeah!

    If I could improve this game I'd do the following:

    Drop the Arts consume HP mechanic: It's only a major problem in the early game. By then end, you'll forget it was even there, but it doesn't really serve any function outside of making the early game unnecessarily difficult until your characters start unlocking Life Protection.

    Make Tablets re-usable: Magic suffers the most in terms of scrappy elements being attached to it. Most players I've seen tend to ignore it mainly because it's more work than it's worth. Magic isn't bad per se, but the mechanical gymnastic you have to climb through to make due with it. I feel one easy remedy would be to make Tablets reusable so if you luck out with RNG and manage to get a good one, you can at least teach it to a few characters instead of sticking to just one of them.

    A better UI: I'm still baffled by the fact that a normal menu screen is only availble during missions. Like there are ways to view your inventory on the map, but you can't do things like organize it from there. Likewise, it's annoying the game often thrusts you into the map mode first without giving you a clear idea of what panels a character starts with or even what their stat spread looks like. It just feels weird that certain information is only accessible at certain points in the game. It doesn't hurt the game, but it shows why standard menu screens are often taken for granted.

    Allow the player to rearrange panels at the level up screen: Oh holy hell this could resolve so many issues. Not that managing stats is hard the way the game works, but due to the nature of the game, you sort of need to go in knowing the optimal panel build for a character, and then pray that the game actually let's the RNG have your way. Some of this frustration could be easily resolved if the game could allow you to rearrange your panels because you'll need to start working on double bonuses in the early game for better stat boosts, but it often leaves you with a setup that makes going for the lofty goal of a triple bonus difficult to pull off without gimping a character for a mission or two, and praying the RNG will be merciful with panel options. Again, this is not a major problem except for players like myself who tend to play optimally. You can easily get by with double bonuses and a mish-mash of panel abilities, and in fact, the game is pretty much built that way, but my OCD would be so much happier...

    Better pacing: I feel the biggest criticism I have against the game is that the board game mechanics, while fun and interesting, slow the game's pacing down to a crawl. The side quest hell at the end, really sapped a lot of my enthusiasm to finish the game among other RL issues getting in the way. It's not even that the missions are not fun, they just take forever, especially if there are puzzles and lots of locked chests. That's the largest issue with the heavier emphasis on Table Top gaming and dice rolls that the Wheel represents. It's fun in that you won't find other games that play like this outside of a real table top experience, but the game also shows why most video game RPGs tend relegate all this stuff to the background because they slow the whole gaming process down. I started avoiding chests after awhile just because they consumed too many turns and real time to usually be worth the effort. Especially since the game decided that 98% of all chests should be locked and booby trapped.

    WK's Tips for Unlimited SaGa. Be careful it's pretty long...
    Now for some tips for anyone who wants to play this game that I wish I had known.

    Magic 101
    There are three ways to use magic in this game, but only one "correct way".

    1. You equip a character with an enchanted item that comes with a spell attached.
    2. The character has a Familiar Panel that lets them cast the element and level of magic.
    3. The character learns spells from a tome they have equipped on them.

    As you can see, option 3 is how the game would prefer how you learn magic. The issue with option 3, is that you need to use the two first options to even learn magic. Basically, learning magic works like this. You need to acquire a Magic Tome through a treasure chest or a rare enemy drop. At the Panel screen at the end of a mission, you need to opt out of using one of the four random panels the game gives you for the level up and choose to equip a magic tome instead. When you go on another mission, you need to go to the character's status screen and choose to learn from the tablet. This last step is important because the game has a bad habit of switching this option off, especially if you have more than one tablet equipped. When your character is in battle, you need to have access to magic through either an enchanted item, or a familiar, and then use that spell in battle. Preferably, you want to land on the element reel of the spell you cast to gain more XP. When the battle is over, the character who has followed all of these steps will get an extra screen where the tablet appears with three spells it teaches and you can choose to put the XP into one of them. Once a spell is learned, the tablet will grab three other spells from the list it has, though you will have to learn every spell on the tablet to master it. Once you've filled the spells XP bar, the spell is permanently learned.

    The other factor for magic is that it works with the same rules as SaGa Frontier 2 with a few extra steps. In order to cast a spell with the magic your character has actually learned, they will need either a weapon or armlet that has the elemental arts ability of the spells they know as one of it's attached abilities. This can be accomplished by either acquiring one of the enchanted weapons I mentioned since they'll always have these spell arts attached to them, or you can attach them to said gear through blacksmithing. Casting magic consumes the items durability, so be careful.

    Also, two other things to note: Enchanted weapons will have a specific spell attached to them which you can see on the info screen of the item. Enchanted weapons tend to have low durability because the game doesn't intend for you to use them a lot outside of learning magic. To punctuate that feeling, trying to increase the durability of an enchanted item through blacksmithing will cause the weapon to be disenchanted. It will still retain the Magic Arts ability, but the spell will be lost forever. A pain in the ass in the early game when magic is limited, not a big deal by end game when all you need is the Magic Art skill hassle free.

    Familiars are panels you gain that do a number of cool things. They give you access to one of the map discovery skills which helps you find treasure or puzzle elements on the field, and allow a character to cast magic based on the familiars level and element. Magic is ranked in tiers, so having a Lv. 1 Water Familiar will allow that character to cast Detect Undead, whereas a Level 4. Familiar will allow them to cast Detect Undead, Rainbringer, Water Aura, and Purify. So if you're going to go for one, make usre it's high level, and even if your character isn't set up for magic, a Lv. 4 or 5 Water Familiar is always a boon to your party for the extra healing. With all that said, Familiars are a trap for optimization. They give you lots of benefits, but they offer the worst stat bonuses for magic builds out of the bunch. You actually want the Map Guides if you're going for a triple bonus, or special skill panels like Fortuneteller and Magic Blender. Use Familiars in the early game to learn magic, and then try to steadily phase them out.

    As for which magic to use:

    Water is top priority because it has Purify, which not only heals but restores the status of a character. It also has Detect Undead which lowers the LP protection of Undead, and two pretty powerful offensive spells.

    Earth is my second choice because Detect Animal is super useful and lowers the LP protection of the most common enemy type you'll encounter. Boulder is an okay offensive spell, and Build-Up is a decent buff skill.

    Fire is tied with earth. Detect Aura is useful for slimes, it has lots of good offensive magic, and Power Surge is a great Buff.

    Metal is okay and mostly situational. It has a few offensive spells that target groups, but low LP damage potential. Most of it's debuff spells are for Mimics, but they are pretty easy to deal with without them. The Armor Buff spell is probably the only real great skill here.

    Wood is probably the most situational. Most of it's buff/debuff skills have issues like Missile Guard which would be a great skill (it lowers Pierce damage) but can only be cast on the caster meaning you would have to teach it to everyone to get any use out of it. Thunderbringer is probably the strongest single target spell in the game, but it's rare and not worth building a Wood focus Mage for.

    Forbidden is the one I spent the longest time learning, and the least amount of time using. The spells are pretty potent, especially it's detect spell that works on bosses, but Demonite is rare to come across, which is what you need to gain the Forbidden Art ability on your gear. It quickly fell into the "too awesome to use" category for me.

    Blacksmith 101
    The first rule of Blacksmithing in this game is to save before you do anything. One of the biggest secrets of the game is that certain materials like Steel and Platinum can only be acquired by merging specific materials and even then, you only have a 15% chance of the final product giving you the desired results. This is especially important with the creation of Damascus, because it involves creating specific tiers of two materials.

    To replenish the durability of an item like a weapon, you'll need to merge the item with a raw material or another weapon or armlet. Merging specific materials will sometimes give you access to better materials like merging Iron and Wood to create Steel, or Silver and Iron to make Platinum. Another thing the game doesn't tell you is that merging heavier materials or lighter ones onto a weapon will sometimes change the weapons weight class. This is very important because weapons like Staffs, Daggers, and Swords will have skills like Block, Deflect, and Parry as their secondary skill when they are a lighter weight item. Ceratin weapon arts can only be obtained on a weapon based on their weight class.

    For example:

    A Heavy Sword will have Slash as their secondary skill and likely Cross Slash as their third skill. Whereas a Light weight sword will have Deflect as their secondary skill, and Rear Slash as their third tier skill. This is really important if you want to build weapons with great weapon arts attached to them. Rule of thumb is that weapons with damage negating secondary skills like the ones mentioned above should always be built for lightweight unless you already have a different weapon choice for their second hand item. Weapons like Axes, Bows, and Spears tend to work better the heavier they are. This is all really important when you're building higher grade weapons.

    Likewise, if you want to equip a Magic Art to a weapon or armlet, you need to choose one of the stones as the secondary item to be merged with the item. Even then, there is only a 15% chance the Art will attach itself to the item, so again, save before you attempt and reset if it doesn't work out.

    Damascus is technically the best material in the game. Technically Dragonsteel and Shiva Metal are better, but both of these materials are rare and unlike Damascus, they can't be produced with the right material. You need to find something made of the material to make anything. Damascus on the other hand can be mass produced with the right ingredients and has comparable stats to the other two materials. The biggest issue with making Damascus is obtaining Mullock. This is a cheap and brittle material that is plentiful in the early game but will start to become scarce by end game when your shop level gets too high. Even then, I find you can usually obtain the material at trading posts. and due to its low value, it's easy to acquire. Just make sure if you find it, it's either a weapon, armlet, or raw material so you can actually use it at the blacksmith. I also highly recommend making Damascus Armlets first for your whole team. Black Armlets and Cross Bones are guaranteed to have Life Protection as an unlockable skill for them.

    Shopping 101
    Ugh, Like SaGa Frontier 2, Unlimited SaGa uses a shop level system. What this means is that the products available at shops change based on how much you've collectively spent throughout the game.Hence, why materials like Mullock start to disappear after awhile. This is also the point of Maharaja skill, which increases the value of items so you pay more. Likewise, Haggling will slow down the process of raising your level. It's a balancing act, because you want to keep the shop level low to obtain hard to find materials like Mullock and Feather that are super useful for crafting, but on the other hand, a high shop level means you can obtain hard to acquire armor and materials like Diamond, Damascus Armor (which you can't make), and Dragonsteel.

    Likewise, one of the easy to overlook skills a character can have is Fashion. This skill allows you to charm a shopkeeper into showing off their rare goods, which is pretty much the only way you're going to see certain materials in the game. Don't drop this skill lightly, once I dropped it, I never saw it again in the playthrough.

    Panels 101
    Like stat gains in earlier entries, there is a method to obtaining certain panels though not a 100% guaranteed. Rule of thumb is that whatever actions you take between level up screens will factor in what panels will be drawn for the level up process. Use Haggle a lot in towns or been defusing chests in dungeons? Chances are you'll see more of those panels at level up. Same deal goes with weapon panels and even Map and Familiar ones. I used Familiars so often with Judy, she mainly pulled those during level ups, hence why you shouldn't rely on them too much. This is also why you should be careful about dropping specific panels when they appear. I dropped Michelle's Fashion panel before I really understood what it actually did and I never saw it again because of it. Same thing happened to Francis when I dropped his shield panel.

    You should also make sure someone on your team has one of the following skills:
    Haggle - To conserve money and get better stuff.
    Locksmith - For opening chests and doors.
    Defuse - For disarming traps
    Sharpeye - For seeing what traps are on a chests and the type of lock.
    Obstacle Crossing - For getting past blocked terrain.
    Swimming - To cross Rivers
    Fix-It-All - For repairing weapons and armlets on the field up to 20 durability.
    Aura - For increasing the chance of being able to sneak by certain enemies on the map.

    All these skills will make dungeon crawling so much easier...

    Also, for weapon panels, higher level is better, not just for the stat boosts, but because they also increase the likelihood of sparking new weapon arts.

    Speaking of stat boosts...

    Melee characters: Axes and Fist panels specifically Punch.
    Magic Characters: Magic Blender, Fortunteller, and Map Panels
    Skill Characters: Key Panels like Locksmith, Diffuse, and Sharpeye.

    These are the panels you want when optimizing a characters build. Also in the case of magic users, do not worry about their Magic stat. It doesn't really work the way it should. Instead focus on raising the element of the magic type you are teaching them. Also, Shield and Gun panels are only necessary if you plan on using them, in fact, if you plan on using a gun or shield without the panel, you're better off not bothering because the gun reel will be so stacked against you it will be worthless while the shield will have an abysmal chance of activating without a panel. So don't use these unless your character has the corresponding panel.

    Defense 101
    Throw out everything you know about RPGs. Defense stat, HP, and elemental defense don;t really mean much in this game. The only skill that matters is Life Protection. It raises the likelihood of taking LP damage from an attack, and if you have enough of it, your character can be standing at 0HP for several rounds and still taking damage like a tanking champ. That's not to say the other stats don't factor in here as well, but LP protection makes a bigger difference than having Ice Barrier or Strike defense. Unlike other RPGs, once a character's HP reaches zero, they don't fall, instead they have a higher chance of taking LP damage, so you do still want to go into fights with full HP, but it's possible to have a character at 0 HP for several rounds and see them take no LP damage. So yeah, Life Protection is the only defensive skill that matters in terms of armor abilities.

    The more important defensive skills are ones attached to weapons like Parry, Deflect, and Block. Any skill that negates damage altogether is better than having a higher defense number. The other important thing to note is that in order to use these skills, the weapon with the skill must be in the second weapon slot or off-hand in order to activate. Don't know why it's set up like this, but that's how it is. Shields can be super useful, especially if you get high lv. panels for them, but don't rely on them over weapon ones since you need a panel to activate a shield one on a regular basis whereas just having a high strength/skill stat will activate the other more often.


    With Unlimited Saga out of the way. I may start up SaGa Frontier 1 next. Any suggestion on who I should start with?

  14. #209
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Update Time!

    With Unlimited done, I figured I should refocus on FFL3 before starting SaGa Frontier. I've also been plugging away at the mobile entry because the next chapters got released.

    FFL3: Interesting what long session can do. I was finally able to use the Radio and Remote to escape the sky island and get Dion fixed up. With the parts we found, we are finally able to enter the Purelands, where the villains are from. Dion splits up from our party to look for Fray, I believe her name is. We discover she's being held by another minion named Fenrir and we have to get some catnip from a village he attacked so we can put his cat mummy ninja guards asleep to get around the place. He actually had a pretty eerie design since he was a werewolf with no eyes and a skull necklace. With Fray in the team, we take a boat east and climb a mountain where we face off with the first of the Masters, who keeps up the Lovecraftian theme of the game. The guy he was talking to turns out to be the first member of the original Talon crew, he sells items I don't need on the ship. We find the second guy, who is a snazzy Red Mage that can finally take all these elemental crystals I've been hoarding all game and turn them into spells. He won't join without a Tablet so we go to the shrine where it is and face a giant salamander type creature. After a nasty battle, we win, but the monster is sealed in its' place because of the Masters, so our Talon member uses his sage powers to break the curse and release it. It gives us a hint about the puzzle needed to clear the water separating the lands from the Desert of Death. I should note that the Talon is incapable of crossing water for some reason at this time. The sewer section with the water puzzle was actually pretty nice. With the desert freed and the Tablet handed over to the Red Mage, we head to Talonsburg but the ship gets caught in a terrible sandstorm and we have to face Jorgumand who ends up destroying the Talon. We collect the pieces we can get and take it to Talonsburg where we meet one of the scientist who built the original Talon and was working on an upgrade. Cannabilizing the old ship, we now have the much improved Talon 2 which can cross water, and use missiles and lasers in battle. Now, I have the freedom to really explore the map, and I recruit a Cid looking blacksmith Talon crew member who is trying to find Metal to craft a special item to fight the masters, and I track down Masa, the weapons builder for the Talon who is looking for Excalibur. With Fray in my team, she draws Excalibur for me, and Masa joins, this also allows me to meet with the King of Cirrus to gain the Pass needed to reach the Underworld of the Purelands and access the area that our mentor disappeared to. My favorite moment was running into a family that is actually a shout out to the the PC family from SaGa 2 who are still on the search for the three artifact they talked about in SaGa 2's ending.

    I feel my two biggest hauls of this run, was finally getting access to a Life and Group Cure spell. Random encounters are a joke, but bosses are starting to up their game. I also now have access to two of the four Mystic Swords, which are potent weapons that are both plot important, and have the ability to do damage to the Masters. My team is doing okay, Curtis has turned into a bit of an MVP as a White Monk. Learning how Beasts get a bonus with Martial Arts and finally getting access to some powerful ones have made him the best damage dealer on my team. Sharon, my cyborg, was having other issues. Unlike Beasts who evolve if you level up enough, Cyborgs stick to their class until you change them, so I had to restore her human form and then transform her back into a Cyborg to finally give her one that wasn't five levels behind everyone. She also gained my first Mystic Sword Durandal which was a huge boost to her because Cyborg's have questionable offensive capabilities unless you luck out and get a very useful Talent for them. So overall, I've made some great strides in the game.

    Re:Universe: As I mentioned, new chapters have opened up, but I'm still trying to make my way through the earlier chapters on Hard Mode. Mainly so I can get some access to better ranked gear for my team. This has been a pretty well thought out game, and I appreciate that just bringing the right team, with the right gear, can often make the difference between success and failure. The game was designed not to be "pay to win" and the devs have said they've watched Japanese players reach the current story content end point just using starting rank characters and I can believe that now after playing around a bit.

    I'm debating about fixing my current "dream team" by dropping one of my healers and replacing them with a pierce type (probably SS-ranked Barbara or Monika) or maybe keep a second healer but replace them with Undine who has access to Water of Life and a host of great magic spells. I really hope I can pull the Christmas event version of Ginny or Cat so I can boost them further. I also really want the SS Rank Gustave because at this point in time, he's considered top tier of the playable characters. I also really want Aesllus from SF1 and Cordelia from SF2.

    On eof the coolest things is that tthey are doing a story event about Ellen from RS3 and it has brought up some interesting plot changes to the overall story. I've been impressed with the story of this game so far, because it's fairly prominent in the game and not buried under a bunch of BS missions like KHUX. I don't typically care for crossover storylines, but this one has had some interesting ideas attached to it that make it more interesting than usual.

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