The first games of the Saga series, known as Final Fantasy Legend, came out 30 years ago on Game Boy. The “Final Fantasy” in the title, however, was a bit misleading because it was more of a marketing ploy to generate the interest of the international public. Although it does not come from the universe that many expected to be, these games were amusing enough in itself so that you can forgive and forget the potential misunderstanding due to its title.
With the release of the Saga collection this year, which is a 3-in-1 containing the three Final Fantasy Legend games, players can now relive their memories of these classic JRPG games on the Nintendo Switch, while maintaining the happy feeling to play on a Game Boy.
The three JRPGs offer tower battles and dungeon exploration and tell stories of exploring new worlds, becoming gods and traveling over time. It is not necessary to play these games successively because each presents a new history and new characters, but it helps to familiarize yourself with the universe. There are not many instructions on what to do, or guide you how to build and effectively improve your group members, so it’s really an adventure for both the protagonist and for the players themselves.
The trip starts with Final Fantasy Legend I, an excellent starter of the series with a lot of conjectures and confidence in previous JRPG experiments. If you are not familiar with JRPG mechanics, it’s a fairly difficult game to start. The goals are unclear, so a lot of exploration and discussions with villagers are encouraged. Your group is composed of guild members of different classes (humans, mutants and monsters) that you can intervert, and there is no camaraderie out there. The plot is not very clear either, but it’s always a fun JRPG with endless turn battles that do not have much to see.
Final Fantasy Legend II and III are like extensions of the first game with different stories and characters. There are still not many instructions on what you can do, so it’s partly based on the knowledge you have gained by playing the first game. However, it gives you a better introduction and sets up the History at the very beginning, which makes it slightly easier to approach. Relationships are also deeper in the sense that group members are characters that the protagonist knows personally, but as the previous games, you do not feel at all attached to them.
Fortunately, at each game you can see the narration and mechanics improve. In Legend I, there was not a lot of motivation to continue outside the fun factor. Legend II begins with a quick introduction on what advances the protagonist, and Legend III has actually more than one scenario to follow. In the first two games, your group could be made up of many classes of different characters with different ways to increase statistics, which was confusing to follow. In the third game, the characters have gained experience as you expected and battles have become easier to understand. It was great to see the improvements made to each addition to the series, but that does not remove the initial confusion that older titles brought.
Faithful to its classic presentation, the three legends of Final Fantasy are inserted in a smaller square in the middle of the screen, and the players have the opportunity to ignore the joy-con and to use the Game Boy buttons of the Touch screen instead. You can also rotate the screen so that the game can be played vertically, which immediately gives the impression of playing on a real boy game – finally, more like an advanced version of the touch screen. This is an interesting functionality that uses Nintendo Switch’s portable technology, giving us this nostalgic experience very popular.
Despite some initial confusion and a lack of instruction, the gaming experience was flexible and friendly. You can save the game when you want, so you do not have to worry about locating control points or fighting monster hordes to reach a backup point. You also have the option to switch between normal speed and fast speed, and play the game with a turbo speed makes grinding and exploration much easier. Random encounters also occur much faster and characters can acquire skills faster. However, this allows NPCs to walk faster, so it’s useful to come back to normal speed when you are in town – this way you can stop and talk to the villagers, who often tell you where you can go. next.
The Saga Final Fantasy Legend collection brings the joy of classic JRPGs into our lives. It remains true to the retro experience by allowing players to use their portable switch as if it were a touch screen game. It may not be the most refined adventure, but it is a faithful port that brings together so many of us to our childhood days. Overall, this collection successfully maintains the nostalgic feeling of the game in the early 1990s while creatively mixing today’s technology to improve the overall experience.