Romancing SaGa 2

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Romancing SaGa 2 Game Poster Image
Retro RPG with generations' worth of adventure against evil.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

General "good vs. evil" fantasy story that also includes some interesting twists about how power can corrupt, how actions we take now can affect the future, how people can influence not only the world around them, but future generations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adventure spans generations, with players running into a variety of unique characters with a variety of personalities. Some characters more fully developed than others, with many simply filling certain basic party roles. Still, most who join player are genuinely heroic in nature, fighting to defeat evil in Varennes Empire.

Ease of Play

Features a lot of intricacies, including creating new formations, spells, weapons. There's a lot of menu navigation, micromanagement involved as well. Unfortunately, the explanations and instructions on how to use all of this leave a lot to be desired.

Violence

Characters use a variety of magic spells, medieval weapons to fight against all manner of enemy troops, strange creatures. Some blood, both in combat and in creature designs, but overall the look is highly stylized and pixelated, reducing impact. 

Sex

Some art, creatures, feature partially nude, scantily clad characters.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Pubs feature in many towns, alcoholic drinks can be used by player characters.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Romancing SaGa 2 is a downloadable role-playing game available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, and PS Vita. The game is a deep RPG experience, which requires a lot of reading, planning, and menu navigation. The development of the story over multiple generations opens up the player to a variety of interesting and diverse characters. Despite its pixelated and somewhat cartoonish look, the game's material can be a bit much for younger players. Aside from the complex plot and dialogue, many of the creatures in the game feature blood and partial nudity. The stylized look helps to lessen the impact, but there's still some uniquely warped imagery here. 

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What's it about?

ROMANCING SAGA 2 follows the epic war between the forces of good and evil, fought over generations, and the legacy the struggle leaves in its wake. Players begin their journey as King Leon, ruler of the Varennes Empire, along with his two heirs. It's during this time that players first encounter the Seven Heroes, a group of warriors who once fought to save the kingdom from a dark evil before vanishing inexplicably for centuries. Now, these once brave heroes have returned, though not as they once were. Instead, corrupted by evil, the Seven Heroes have taken on monstrous forms, filled with dark power and determined to destroy the empire they once sought to protect. Defeating the Seven Heroes won't be an easy or quick task. To fight back against this threat, players must hone their skills, recruit new allies, and expand their empire over generations ... forging a legacy with the strength to defeat the Seven Heroes once and for all.

Is it any good?

This multigenerational role-playing game requires a lot of attention but provides an epic adventure with a retro flair that can be engrossing. Most role-playing adventures tend to feature heroes that fend off some big evil before resting on their laurels until the eventual sequel. But what happens when that evil looms for generations? That's the question Romancing SaGa 2 aims to answer. Originally released in Japan on the Super Nintendo, and again in the States as a mobile game, Romancing SaGa 2 holds up surprisingly well despite its age. This console release has added a lot of polish, particularly with some added flashy effects and an updated musical score, but it still retains a lot of its original style. The overall effect is a classic, retro feel that manages to keep just shy of feeling dated.

In Romancing SaGa 2, players aren't just facing some immediate one-off baddie, but instead they have to plan for the future and the threat that's yet to come. It's a very personal adventure, getting players genuinely invested in their descendants, their kingdom, and the fate that awaits both. While it's a unique twist on the classic RPG formula, creating a legacy of heroes and allies while maintaining and expanding an empire can be a heavy load to bear. The game is a complex mix of options that takes a fair amount of time to get the hang of. It doesn't help that there's little in the way of explanation or instruction to get players on the right track, or that you might not recognize mistakes you've made until a bit later in the game's timeline. It's a frustratingly steep learning curve, but one that can be overcome with some extra patience, leading to a surprisingly unique adventure with a nostalgic flavor.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about legacy. How do the actions and personalities of our ancestors help to shape who we are today, and how might our actions today affect the lives of our descendants?

  • Talk about teamwork. What advantages can a diverse team of characters bring to the battles in Romancing SaGa 2? Can working with a diverse group of people in real life carry over similar advantages when dealing with problems?

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