Feature: An Autumn SaGa

Romancing SaGa 3 Box Art

Romancing SaGa 3 Box Art

Hello and welcome to The Day Tonight’s playthrough of Romancing SaGa 3, a JRPG released for the Super Famicom in Japan on 11 November 1995; and later remastered for a world-wide modern-console release on 11 November 2019.

At its launch, the game received solid praise and experienced considerable success for the time. Building upon the earlier release of Romancing SaGa 2, the new game was the last to appear on the Super Famicom, and represented the end of the ‘Romancing’ branch of the SaGa series, incorporating the ‘world building’ features of that subseries. However, in many ways, Romancing SaGa 3 anticipated later developments which would define the ‘Frontier’ branch of the series such as non-linear gameplay and individual character story arcs.

A large cast of characters became one of the hallmarks of the series, and Romancing SaGa 3 pushes the series forward in that regard, with its almost bewildering array of characters–primary and secondary, heroes and villains. The game begins with the player’s selection from one of eight main characters (Julian, Thomas, Mikhail, Harid, Sarah, Ellen, Monica, and Katharina), but this modest selection is supplemented by over twenty playable characters, and an even larger number of support characters, villains, major bosses, and ancillary figures.

Kids run through the city corner...!

Towns are exquisitely detailed.

Since its original release in Japan, Romancing SaGa has remained the sort of game known only to the devoted group of gamers willing either to learn Japanese in order to play it, or to play it with the assistance of incomplete fan-translation patches. Even The Day Tonight’s resident SaGa fan, Caspius, has not played through much of the game. However, with the 2019 remaster now available, gamers around the world will at last be able to experience a fully-localised, official version of the last of the three Romancing SaGa games.

Apart from the game itself, the soundtrack has been highly praised for years, including by those who have not played the game. Some of the musical compositions push the limits of the Super Nintendo chipset, and–even taken out of their game setting–prove memorable and engaging. The battle music for the SaGa series has always been a high point, and Romancing SaGa 3 is no exception, with a list of tracks guaranteed to put a smile on the face of 16-bit JRPG fans.

The phantom forest...!

Natural settings are also beautifully realised.

With the game being largely unknown to our readers and staff alike, The Day Tonight is especially interested in your engagement with the game in particular and the series in general. Have you played a SaGa game (Final Fantasy Legend I/II/III, Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song, Romancing SaGa 2, SaGa Frontier I/II, or Unlimited SaGa) in the past, or is this your first experience with the franchise? Does this game interest you further in the SaGa franchise; or, hnow does it compare to other games in the series?

Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, secrets you have uncovered, and what characters you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that the SaGa series is still relevant given its origins on the Game Boy and its often disappointing performances outside of Japan? Do you find the non-linear gameplay liberating, or directionless? Would you support further remasters from the series, or would you prefer for an entirely new, modern game in the franchise? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.

Decisive battle...!

Battle scenes share an art style with the game world.

The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in three weeks:
– Week 1: Complete approximately 8-12 hours of gameplay.
– Week 2: Complete approximately 16-24 hours of gameplay.
– Week 3: Complete approximately 24-36 hours of gameplay.
– Week 4: Complete the game!

Please join in, even if you are behind on the playthrough. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series (use GameFAQs if you need a helping hand). Comment and tell your friends!

Without further adieu, it is our pleasure to invite you to join The Day Tonight’s staff members and readers as we jump into the SaGa series for the first time in An Autumn SaGa!

17 comments on “Feature: An Autumn SaGa”

  1. My first venture into SaGa was Romancing SaGa 2. I had no idea what was waiting for me. It took me 99 glorious hours to complete the game and I loved every second. Now my second favorite game of all time. After that I have also played and completed Final Fantasy Legend (SaGa) and SaGa Frontier. I am collecting the series. I have the first three Japanese cartridges and Unlimited SaGa. Bought Romancing SaGa 2 on three devices and did the same with Romancing SaGa 3 now. I can’t wait to see all of Romancing SaGa 3!!

    Beginning my first playthrough with Sarah. And now I’m off to play!

  2. @Winter: TOTALLY coincidental, I assure you. The simultaneous and anticipated release of Romancing SaGa 3, part of a series of which I am a well-known fan, has NOTHING to do with the democratic way in which this game was chosen for our playthrough!

  3. (I’ll be starting my file on Friday, because I am going to use my coins from Pokemon Shield as credit towards the purchase of RS3 on the e-shop.)

  4. Nothing at all!

    Good plan!! So far it’s exellent! Went to a treasure cave. Got all treasure. Went to another town and now I’m roaming around picking up people and getting a couple of spells!

  5. My first experience with the series was playing Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song. It sounded real interesting in concept with an open world where various event quests happen all over the map based upon how far the time has advanced and a final boss fight when time runs out. In practice though I barely ran into any quests and didn’t want to be glued to a guide or play the game over and over in order to know where and when to play the content.

    I have played about 10 hours of Romancing SaGa 3 before using the fan-patch. I remember I was playing as Monika because she seemed likable and in terms of game-play is the biggest blank slate in the game. This time I will be playing as Ellen.

  6. Played about 6 hours so far. Disa hours that is. I’m probably just 1,5 hours of actual progress if that xD
    Finished my first quest after the initial introduction. Loving it so far!

  7. 10,5 hours played. I think I’m looking at a New Game Plus now. I got sealed in a cave and stupidly saved over the wrong save and here I am it’s me or the rat and apparently it’s me too every time xD

  8. Downloading this now! I’ve never had any experience with the SAGA series. I have a feeling that might be something to do with the fact that I stay in the UK and I don’t think we got any of the games here really until recently. Imitanis or someone might know more about that if I’m correct or not.
    But really looking forward to trying out the game and experiencing the series as a newcomer. The art looks beautiful!

  9. The first SaGa game I ever played and (and only one finished) was FF Legend II. I also had III and played a little of I. Later, I got SaGa Frontier when it came out, and didn’t love it because it was more obtuse than other games, but I’ve tried it now it again over the years. I just started the playthrough too, as Katarina.

  10. I’ve been wandering around talking to people and opening up places on the map mainly. Although recently I thought I was stuck in a repeating desert that I saved in and might have to new game+ (I wasn’t stuck). My party right now is Ellen, Khalid, the bard, and the blacksmith lady. I only really need to find a mage. Maybe I could let the pink haired girl that forces her way into your party be a temporary mage although she kinda sucks at everything from what I remember.

    One of the only things I remember from my previous partial play-through is that rat dungeon, the boss was really hard.

  11. Man this game doesn’t hold back. Like a lot of 90s RPGs it doesn’t really explain things and for a newcomer to the series it looks quite obscure. I am not really following what’s going on in the gameplay systems in battles or these skirmish battles. I got my first game over in one of those after about half an hour. I picked Khalid ad my main as he seems an interesting character. No idea what it meant but I went with sign of the warrior and great sword. I think I’ll need to read up on some of the mechanics however. Also what is the easiest way to get my details saved so I don’t need to type them every time I comment? I tried WordPress but the login expired twice while writing and posting my comment on chrome on an iPad, and the WordPress connection just spins and doesn’t load on chrome on my android phone. I think I’ve signed in with gravatar but not sure

  12. Berserk: I believe logging in with gravatar does it, although I’m not certain. I think some browsers can also save field entries, but I have that feature disabled in Firefox. Your icon is showing up!

    SaGa games are systematically complex and become increasingly so the later the release. Without an FAQ, most gamers will struggle, I think, because the systems are so esoteric.

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