“Rebirth of an Obscure Gem”
- System: PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix, Bullets
- Release Date: December 1, 2022
No one can deny the PS2 era was a haven for great JRPGs. You had famous titles like Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 but there were plenty of more obscure titles out there to be found. One of which was another Square Enix title that was a remake of an older title in the form of Romancing SaGa. When the west finally got this remake—known as Romancing SaGa- Minstrel Song in Japan—many wouldn’t truly understand how different and unique this JRPG was! Rather than being set on a singular story like most games similar to it, Romancing SaGa allowed players to choose between several protagonists who all had their own abilities, party members, and stories!
As huge fans of the PS2—and still are—Romancing SaGa was a franchise we felt never got the love and appreciation it rightfully deserved. Well, folks, after almost two decades Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered has been released on various consoles and you know we were all too ready to re-enter our youths and see how this classic title could be reborn on modern consoles. Is Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered your next JRPG title to enjoy or should you maybe find another remastered title to play? We find out in our review of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered for the PS4!
Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered isn’t like most JRPGs and that is the selling point even now. Rather than assume the role of one hero, you’ll be able to take on the role of 8 protagonists that all have their own stories to tell and adventures to go on. This means you aren’t forced to just choose one character you like but can freely switch between them all and see their stories unfold in whatever order you like. We do recommend going in order for an easier time—as playing out of order does present some challenges—but you can easily play however you’d like! Aside from that though you’re probably wondering what Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered even plays like if you never heard of it, don’t worry we have you covered.
Despite the branching stories and character choices, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is pretty straight forward everywhere else. You take your chosen character across the land of Mardias and are free to kind of go about whichever way you like. When you battle, Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is a simple turn based title but there are some cool elements that we even enjoy in the current age. Players have a wide array of attacks—you can use swords, magic or even your fists—to damage enemies and occasionally you’ll gain new skills called Glimmer as you fight tough foes. You also will notice there is no level up system in the traditional fashion. As you win fights, which is no easy task let us tell you, you’ll gain random bonuses to your stats. This can be a bit frustrating if you see one character get a lot of RNG and consistently gain advances while another doesn’t but that is why battling a lot of enemies is the best means of surviving stronger foes later. You’ll also want to upgrade your armor and weapons to deal maximum damage and avoid being too weak when Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered gets tougher as you progress. Seriously, a weak party will get decimated in a few seconds from some of the foes you’ll come across.
The beauty of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is that for many, this is a classic experience and offers a nice nostalgia factor. We can’t deny some might have issues with the numerous battles you’re about to enter—though at least they aren’t random battles and you can see enemies on screen—but Square Enix anticipated this and offer players plenty of ways to best enjoy Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered. You can increase game speed by 2x and even have your character auto run in a straight direction. This is perfect for those who want to grind some battles for items/stat increases but don’t want to struggle with slower paced fights and moving about the quite large maps. Honestly though, if you grew up during the classic JRPG times you won’t really mind the old-school feel offered by Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered, it just feels a bit strange compared to more modern titles.
Even as we’ve only scratched the surface of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered—this is a very long game—we love just how much extra was added for the overall experience. There are tons of new characters to find, meet and recruit while playing and fans of the series will no doubt recognize some of these familiar faces! There are even new versions of bosses which will test your turn-based expertise. The music too has been overhauled—in a good way—to make some of the original songs sound truly enhanced and we can’t deny, the OST in Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is an excellent one even in 2022.
Clearly, Square Enix and Bullets tried their best to remaster Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- and while it was an admirable job, there is no denying this game looks extremely old. Yes, the character animations, sprites, and settings have been overhauled to not look like a PS2 game but even with some upgrades, this game can’t escape its past designs. Characters still look extremely blocky, some locations are downright too old to look at without double checking you’re on a modern console, and menus just look ripped from an era long ago. Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is a remaster as the title says but do not think this is the next Final Fantasy 7 remake or Crisis Core remaster that is soon releasing, it won’t impress many new-age gamers, and we kind of wish there was a bit more time put into truly remastering this classic. Seriously, just play the first character and venture two seconds into the world…you’ll see that backdrop, and thank the gaming gods above we’ve come so far with our modern JRPG visuals.