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I imagine that if you have a group of random people to pilfer loot off as a game element, you would amass quite the store of treasures before long. Such is the case in Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song, where you can recruit playable characters into your party that you find in the games many bars. Once you have stripped them of their goodies, you can have the bouncer minstrel NPC serve them their walking papers. Why go out and hunt dangerous monsters for loot when you can farm the drunkards in the bar? They won't notice a missing bauble or kidney, so have at it!
Anyways, sorry for the late comic this week, life has been pretty topsy-turvy for Pie and me lately. For those that remember our financial crisis, most things have ended up working out well. To everyone that has donated or made purchases at out store, thank you so very much; I can't tell you how much it means to both of us to have such wonderful support. Also, Forrest, if you are out there, e-mail me at bear[at]lifeinaggro.com!
As far as a situation update, we still are a long way off from being able to be independent without getting some more side work to support ourselves. In the mean time, we will be moving in with family as Pie and I work on getting more steady income. It is quite a big life change for us, but one we are willing to make and our family is willing to accommodate so we can continue working toward being independent creators. Of course, the comic is our number one priority, but during the move (slated for the end of this month), our updates may be a little shaky.
Thanks for understanding and being patient with us, as always! Enjoy the comic and have a great weekend!
The original Romancing SaGa by Squaresoft was released in 1992 for the Super Famicom and was completely remade for the PS2 titled Romancing SaGa: Minstrel's Song. I honestly haven't passed this game yet (though I've had it for YEARS), but it definitely deserves one of the top spots in my favorite game collection just for its interesting game play and system mechanics.
My first exposure to the series was Romancing SaGa 3 for the Super Famicom but since I wasn't very Japanese literate, I got stuck pretty fast. '_' I became a fan of the SaGa series from my exposure to SaGa Frontier for the PS1 when it was released in the US back in 1998. My brother and I loved it and were pretty obsessed about it for a while!
Romancing SaGa 1, 3, and SaGa Frontier all start out with the player choosing a hero among a set of characters; all characters having their own paths and stories, some intertwining and some completely diverging from the others'. After a certain point early in every one's story, the game becomes "open" in which the player is free to explore the world with little to no specifics on what is needed to progress the story; the game continues in this fashion for the majority of the game. During this time, you are free to discover and check out towns, talk to NPC's, explore optional dungeons for treasure, find and defeat optional bosses, complete side quests, and one of my favorite features, recruit and build party members. Have you ever played an RPG in which you saw a cool looking random NPC and think, "wow, it'd be neat if they'd join my party"? See a kid playing hide-and-seek in town or a drunk in the bar and have the urge to train them into a kick-ass swordsmen, martial artists, or mage, etc.? Well, you just might be able to do that in these games. Of course you can't recruit ANYONE into your party, but its fun finding the ones that you can!
Another fun system about the game is that you have the freedom to strengthen anyone in your party however you want! There are no level values in the game, just stats that go up depending on their battle actions. You gain magic power if you use magic often and the same is for physical attack power if you use physical attacks often. For Romancing SaGa 3, the more you use a weapon like an axe for instance, the better you get at using axes. Just recruited a girl who looks like a mage and starts with a basic fire spell but don't like conforming to what is expected? Give her a katana and make her a samurai!
Another awesome fun system in the SaGa games is that you randomly learn new weapon specific attacks or techniques in the middle of battle by using attacks associated to that weapon. (Gun techniques and spells don't apply to this rule however) Stronger techniques and moves become available as you get stronger. Not only that, but when using special attacks, you might be able to pull off combination attacks between party members to deal massive damage! Did I mention that a lot of the moves and spells look pretty darn awesome? XD
SaGa Frontier is such a fun game; it's such a shame that most people I've met who've tried it don't seem to like it. I can understand the franchise being "not for everyone." It seems like one of the major turn offs for a lot of people about the game is that since you're given so little direction in what to do when the world opens up, many players feel lost and confused and eventually lose interest. I also think it's due to the fact that if you're unlucky, the first character you choose to play might be one with pretty much no personal story, leaving the game play all up to player exploration and progression. It really sucks to think of a player's impression of the game being based off such an experience, especially when most other starting characters have some rather cool stories.
Like I mentioned before, this game series isn't for everyone, but I highly recommend it if you want to try a very uniquely built console RPG that you might fall in love with. =)
As for specific recommendations of the series, I recommend SaGa Frontier for the PS1 if you're just starting out and Romancing Saga for the PS2 if you wanna go hardcore. XD You might want to check out a fan translated ROM of Romancing Saga 3 for the Super Famicom too if you're loving the series. I don't care much for Saga Frontier 2 for the PS1 albeit it having a nice water color visual style. '_' I haven't had any experience in any games of the franchise other than these since they aren't available in English. =/