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Romancing SaGa 3

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Romancing SaGa 3 Game Poster Image
Timeless tale tells an epic story with a personal touch.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game's central focus is the standard fantasy fare of "good versus evil", with players trying to fend off a potential apocalypse. There are also strong themes of friendship and teamwork. The game also shows how actively practicing skills can lead you to fulfilling your personal potential.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game features a widely diverse cast of characters available to recruit to the player's party, each of which has his or her own unique story and personality. Some are more genuinely honorable, caring, brave, etc. than others, but most exhibit some sort of heroic traits and the desire to help others.

Ease of Play

Gameplay's a complex mix of commands and tactics, including what roles party members should play, party formations, equipment management, etc, all of which requires a lot of menu navigation, statistical analysis, and more. One unique feature this time around involves players becoming more adept in the traits they use more often, requiring players to focus more on individual party members.

Violence

Characters use a mix of fantasy weapons and magical abilities to fight against enemy soldiers, minions, monsters, and other creatures. There's some blood, though the overall style is highly stylized and pixelated.

Sex

Some female characters and creatures are shown as partially nude or in revealing outfits. But the game's pixelated style reduces much of this.

Language

The word "bastard" occasionally appears in the dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the quests specifically focuses on dealing with a criminal organization dealing drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Romancing SaGa 3 is a fantasy role-playing game available for download on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. The game focuses on a battle between good and evil, with other themes of teamwork, friendship, pushing personal boundaries, and helping those in need. The game has a retro, pixelated look, which reduces some of the impact of the onscreen blood and violence, as well as some of the more suggestive characters that show up. There are also some references to illicit drug trade in one of the quests.

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What's it about?

ROMANCING SAGA 3 revisits an epic chapter in the SaGa franchise, bringing the classic role-playing experience to a new generation of gaming consoles. Every 300 years, the world's covered in darkness during an event that's come to be known as the Rise of Morastrum. It's during this time that the planet's sun is eclipsed by a strange celestial body, and all life born in that year is doomed to perish … all except for one sole child, the Child of Destiny. This child is empowered with great power, growing to shape the world as he or she sees fit. Once the Child of Destiny used its power for evil, ruling with an iron fist with dark magic and gaining the title of the Archfiend. Three centuries later, a new Child of Destiny fought back against the darkness, giving rise to the legend of the Matriarch. Now, it's the time of the Rise of Morastrum once more, and a new Child of Destiny has been born. But will this child use its power to leave a legacy of darkness or light? Or perhaps something even beyond imagination? 

Is it any good?

In this age of ultra-realistic, hyper-detailed games, sometimes it's still great to go back and revisit the classics that laid the foundation for today's modern fantasy role-playing games. Having never been released in the west, Romancing SaGa 3 manages to be both brand-new and nostalgic at the same time. While it's more than two decades old, its mix of open world exploration, deep role-playing elements, and strategic turn-based battles is nearly timeless. Couple all of that with a robust cast of characters, each with their own distinct stories and personalities, all brought together in a story that plays like some grand episodic adventure, and the game quickly earns a spot right up there with other true classics.

While Romancing SaGa 3 pulls together all of these elements that RPG (or role-playing game) fans have come to know and love, it still somehow manages to pack in unique innovations that still feel fresh. For example, one major shock to the system is that experience points (XP) don't exist in this game. Instead, characters grow and improve through the active use of their skills. Need a powerful magic user in your party? Well then, you should start slinging some basic spells early and often. Feeling comfortable cutting a swift swath through enemies with that sharp sword? You'll be swashbuckling like a pro in no time. The idea here is that the characters don't improve arbitrarily, but rather hone their existing skills and evolve over time. This adds an extra personal touch to party members, as it's hard not to feel more invested in their story after helping them to truly grow into the heroes they ultimately become.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teamwork. What are some of the benefits that come working with others to solve problems or overcome obstacles? What are some traits to look for when building a strong team?

  • How does Romancing SaGa 3 address improving personal skills through constant use? What are some of the ways that practicing your skills in the real world can help with personal growth and improvement?

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