SFC Game 36 – Soul & Sword (wrap-up)

This game is another attempt at a “free mission” system where there is no set order to do the various events and quests. Obviously the closest comparison is going to be with the Romancing SaGa series. In comparison to RS1 I think this game wins in a number of aspects.

First of all, it’s much easier to find quests than it was in RS1. You don’t have to pay to travel around the world, and the quests don’t involve talking to random people in specific towns at specific times. If you just take good notes, you’ll probably find almost all of the events and quests in the game.

The scaling of the monster difficulty is done much better as well. RS1 had this problem where you would suddenly start fighting ridiculously hard monsters, whereas the S&S difficulty is much more graded. On the whole it’s a pretty easy game, with only a few parts that require special tactics or equipment.

One interesting decision the S&S designers made was not to have any sort of overarching story. There really is no final boss and certainly no “save the world” plot. There is one quest that does seem intended to be the last quest, but even that isn’t hugely epic. The use of multiple endings was an interesting choice as well, with the ability to leave the island any time you want to end the game.

The battle system is pretty boring, as is typical for games of this era. The random encounter rate is way too high, and you have to walk out of dungeons, which makes the quests more tedious than they should be. Even well-designed quests like the horror themed doll quest or the satirical fairyland quest are undermined by the constant heaps of random encounters that detract from the experience. This last part is why it took me so long to get through the game.

At least the magic users can make good use of their spells because MP restoring stuff is so cheap. The lack of healing spells is odd. I never made much use of the “waza” (tech) abilities.

Ultimately I would give this game a B rank — a game that’s not terrible, but I did have to force myself to finish it. I may need to re-evaluate the criteria for abandoning a game. I’m not sure it benefits anyone to have almost a month be taken up by posts about one game that’s only being stretched out that much because I have to force myself to play it.

Next up is a PCE game, “Aurora Quest”, which I’m not expecting good things from.

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