Not the greatest, but still worth a look for RPG fans.

User Rating: 7 | Unlimited Saga (Collector's Edition) PS2
Oh man, have I tried to love this game. The ninth game in Square-Enix's SaGa series is possibly the hardest and most complicated RPG I have ever played.

The premise for the game is typical RPG fare but is more than serviceable for the game. The plot revolves seven different characters who are all searching for the Seven Wonders for one reason or another. You as the player get to choose one of these characters and play as them for the duration of the game. Essentially there are seven different stories in the game, increasing longevity and replayability, as once you have completed the game as one character, you can start again as somebody completely different. And as is often the case, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. The game itself feels like a computerised board game, with the game alternating between the 'Moving Phase' and 'Battle Phase' as dictated by movement on the Adventure Screen. I'm not even going to begin to explain the turn system as it would take up a huge amount of space. The battle system itself is governed by a reel system in which the player selects their move, not from a menu, but from a reel similar to that found on fruit machines (or if you prefer Tifa Lockheart's Limit Break in Final Fantasy VII).

The character design is impeccable and the graphics at times, when static, look breathtaking. A hell of a lot of time has obviously been spent in making this game look as good as possible. A shame that this seems to fall apart a bit once the characters move in battle. The animation is pretty poor, looking as if the programmers decided to increase the speed by cutting out frames of animation. The battle system is also pretty weak, as while Square-Enix have tried to approach it in a different way, it feels utterly random and you are left with the feeling that you have very little control over how a battle pans out. Tactics pretty much go out of the window, with the player pressing the X button without any real regard as to what will happen. This is a pity as, with a little more thought or time spent over the reel system, it could have been more than serviceable - and might have made for a more tactical approach to battles. The board game system of movement between areas is also a let down in the days of free exploration, but again Square-Enix must be commended for trying something different.

Sound on the other hand is really well done. As is often the case with Square-Enix games the overall score is excellent. While not quite in the same league as Uematsu's best work, Hamauzu's compositions fit the mood of the game extremely well. The voice acting is pretty well done too, with an above average script helping this. Overall though, the feeling is of a game unfinished or of a game flawed. It is playable, but it is unlikely, with the amount of top-quality RPGs floating about, that this will hold your attention for too long. The complicated battle system will put off casual gamers, while the random nature of battles may put off even the hardiest and experienced RPG players. Ultimately Square-Enix have been brave in trying a different approach to the genre, but when put alongside Final Fantasy X or Dragon Quest VIII, it just doesn't cut it.