UNLIMITED Saga

Review

posted 6/23/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
I was a kid once, hell we all were, and one of my favorite activities as a kid was painting with water colors. It was great because you could use a ridiculous amount of water to dilute the paint and spread it across the paper with a minimum amount of effort while making it seem like you worked your butt off. As I grew older I moved into harder and more difficult techniques and while I haven’t been able to grasp the finer intricacies of finger painting I can do a mean stick figure drawing. Where am I going with all this? To be honest I have no idea where I’m going because I have absolutely no sense of direction in this review. Now that I think about it, it’s the same kind of feeling that I get when I play Squaresoft’s latest title, Unlimited Saga. Oh the game’s got unlimited something all right and it ain’t SaGa-ing if you know what I mean.

Oh I’ve got it now, remember the analogy I made earlier about diluting the water colors in order to do more work with less effort? It’s ironic that I would mention that in this review because the game kind of feels like it was once something more until it was diluted to give the appearance that it’s something that it really isn’t. Like Hitler during the Second World War the game tries to be in too many places at the same time but instead of conquering all, it spreads itself thin, leaving an empty shell filled with potential but devoid of substance or matter.

Final Fantasy this isn’t.

In fact, it’s not Legend of Legaia it’s not Kingdom Hearts, it’s not Star Ocean, hell it’s not even Evolution Worlds. It’s more like the bastard child of Ephermal Fantasia and Monopoly. That’s right, it’s a bland, horrifically constructed game where even the most barest facet of the genre, the field map, has been stripped in favor of some lame board game-style of movement that’s neither conventional nor entertaining. Hell even the combat is so random and chance-based that it ruins any chances of strategy or finesse that may have been derived from this game.

Similar to Midway’s underappreciated RPG, Shadow Hearts, combat revolves around a series of revolving rings that must be stopped by a series of timed button presses. While this may make the fights more challenging to some it makes it will more than likely be seen as tedious in the eyes of even the most hardcore of RPG fans. The fact that a player must navigate through an endless parade of menus just to initiate a turn hinders any chances for the gamer to get into the action.

The fun doesn’t stop there though, nearly every aspect of the game is menu driven, lending an extra thick helping of obnoxiousness to the game. Most towns consist of a single-screen where navigation takes place via a series of (you guessed it) menus. Performing even the simplest of tasks has me experiencing flashbacks of my younger where I was forced to do chore after endless chore. Every time I enter a town I feel like it’s sponge bath night at an old folk’s home that I’m volunteering at. I dread it because I know that no man should be subjected to what awaits me. Unlimited SaGa is monotonous and frustrating that I just might crown it as the Windows XP of video games. Seriously, I’m surprised that Squaresoft didn’t opt to include support for a USB mouse, it certainly feels much more natural in this environment. Only thing missing? The elusive blue screen of death but then again, no one’s really cruel enough as to subject someone to such a capital punishment.
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