1993 was a great year for RPGs. This was one of the tougher ones. If you know anything about RPGs from the late 80s/early 90s era, you know that I’m not saying this is tough in comparison to today’s gaming; I’m saying it’s tough in comparison to THAT era’s gaming. If you like hard RPGs and have plenty of time to invest, 7th Saga might be right up your alley.
Available For: SNES
Release Date: 1993
Archetype(s): Hardcore, RPG
So I’ve noticed that a lot…and I mean A LOT of hits on this site are asking for RPGs from the year 1993. Now granted, I’ve already talked about the ones I feel earn the accolade of being the top 5, but what about the rest? Well thankfully, there are some really awesome games that, while not quite making the top 5 list, are still awesome enough to check out.
7th Saga is a fun little title by Enix that is challenging, long, interesting, and at times highly frustrating. Keep in mind that this was back in 1993 when RPGs were meant to be this way. Nowadays, a lot of RPGs cater to more casual audiences. Now no, not all of them, but most RPGs today go out of their way to give you second chances, do level scaling, and whatever else to ensure you’re getting a fairly stable challenge while also having a lot of fun.
There’s nothing wrong with this, but again, it didn’t always used to be like that. 7th Saga is the perfect example of a game that really doesn’t give a shit about level scaling, fairness, or anything of the sort. The basic premise of the game is a handful of heroes from around the world are summoned to King Lemele to obtain the runes. Apparently the runes hold great power that can grant the user any wish they desire.
I don’t quite understand why the king summoned them, especially since it’s fairly obvious each hero has their own intention as to what they will do with the runes, rather than handing them over to the king. In any case, you get to select one of these heroes, get your brief introduction to the king, and off you go! Fairly standard stuff, but even the process of selecting a hero is a major decision.
See, you can select from a knight, elf, bishop, demon, alien, robot, or dwarf (pretty sure I didn’t miss anyone). Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, developmental path, armor and weapons available to them (or not available at all in some cases), likes and dislikes regarding other heroes (which is more important than you might imagine), and so on.
This means that depending on who you choose, you will have to invest more or less time grinding, possibly have to avoid certain types of fights, have to gain certain allies as quickly as possible, will get into fights with certain other heroes (this happens A LOT), will have to spend more or less money constantly updating your equipment, and on, and on.
This game is HEAVILY grind intensive. There’s no such thing as overleveling in this game because enemies can be serious douchebags. First of all, MP is almost always short in supply for each hero type and each hero type WILL need to make effective use of their abilities to proceed. Second, enemies can (and will) dodge spells and attacks alike.
Of course, this means sometimes you can dodge stuff, but it seems like the game often gives too much evasion chance or whatever to the enemies to the point that all your spells fucking miss and you die through no fault of your own. This is where emulation comes in handy, but keep in mind I initially played this right when it came out in 1993…yeahhhhhh…kinda fucking tough back then.
Another problem is you’re often not told where to go or what to do next, so having an FAQ handy is a must. There is some good news, of course, and I more than likely would not highlight this game if I didn’t like it: as is true with most Enix titles, if you die, you lose half your cash and get sent back to the last save point, which is usually a town.
Here’s the bad news: you may lose a rune. And if you lose a rune, you absolutely cannot progress until you get it back. Worse news: you usually have to fight another hero to get it back. Worst news: the Japanese version was hard enough, but apparently the Americanized version included “additional balancing” during the localization (according to Wikipedia), which makes enemies incredibly difficult, leveling up do far less than it should, and level scaling for other heroes fucking ridiculous as a result.
As far as interesting features, well, there’s this crystal ball thingy in the upper left that lets you know where the allegedly “random” encounters are. Problem: enemies don’t stay put…even if you do. So if you’re simply trying to get your bearings, it’s better to pause so they don’t move, otherwise you’ll land in an encounter even if you’re standing still.
It’s also virtually impossible to completely avoid enemies, so don’t bother trying. One great feature regarding this is it will let you know where runes are as well as simple treasures. Too bad it doesn’t let you know which treasure boxes are MIMICS…but oh well. Runes also let you do various things like teleporting, casting magic, and so on, so that’s kind of cool, too.
This is right on the box. lol wut.
While the review hasn’t been overly positive, know that I really do love this game. I think it’s mostly because of how fun, but also frustrating it can be. See yes, it’s normally better that a game isn’t frustrating, but you have to understand, that can be part of what makes a game fun. Beating down a boss that’s been giving you so much trouble for so long is exhilarating.
Overall, the game is very basic, but does offer a number of interesting features such as cool mode 7 effects, interesting main characters, forging an alliance or battling other main characters, being fairly open world, and overall being a very traditional RPG. While it may not be for everyone, it’s a very fun title that I recommend at least checking out.