If it isn't obvious, Squaresoft loves sequels. And honestly, Enix loves them just as much. So when the two companies merged a while back, everyone should be expected more and more sequels. FINAL FANTASY is a pretty safe bet, as is the DRAGON WARRIOR series. Heck, even the CHRONO and MANA series are known to be pretty good. But Square's SAGA series has always been a questionable buy. The atypical gameplay has turned off most gamers in the past, but has Square Enix steered the ship in the right direction with UNLIMITED SAGA?
The storyline is built around seven main characters: Laura, a former pirate; Mythe, an inventor; Kurt, a knight; Judy, a child witch; Ruby, a teenage fortune teller; Ventus, a somewhat strange mail carrier; and Armic, a tribesman. You can start a new game at any time with any of the seven characters, each having their own separate storyline. Each character's storyline is unique, although you will occasionally cross paths with the other characters within the game.
The main complaint that I have (and I'm sure other RPG fans do also) with UNLIMITED SAGA is that the game plays in an extremely atypical fashion then what you would find in a normal Square Enix game. For starters, you are not able to roam around towns and such as you would in most RPGS. All towns are represented by static backgrounds, and moving from building to building is as easy as moving your cursor and clicking on a building. When you talk to townspeople, you will get more of the same. A static character will pop up and give you a few lines of comic book text to read and then you'll be on your merry way.
To attain your quests, you need to go back to the inn to see which ones are available. There are quests that apart of your main quest, but then there are also side quests that have nothing to do with the storyline of your character. This is where the game gets confusing. On a few of these quests I ended up asking myself why I was doing this since it brings forth no advancement in the game.
Another complaint I have with the game is the map. No longer do you have much control of where your character goes. Let me put it like this: the map resembles a board game. Your character is a little dot on the screen and moving around consists of hopping from one space to another. Each hop might bring forth a battle, treasure or something else, but you wouldn't know it by looking at it: none of this is presented onscreen.
UNLIMITED SAGA also brings forth a new combat system that, while interesting, can be a bit annoying. Your character has both hit points and life points to begin a battle with (think of the hit points as a shield of sorts). Once your HP is gone, then the enemy can start to work on your LP. Once that is gone, you're dead. Of course, HP can be replenished outside of battles, so if you just wait around long enough, it will be very hard for your character to die. The action itself is performed by a slot-machine like system. Basically, this is a wheel with a lot of different icons on it, and a well timed button press determines the strength of your attack. Honestly, I'd rather rely on my abilities as a game player than chance.
Graphically, UNLIMITED SAGA doesn't hit the right cylinders. The game's static characters leave a ton to be desired, and while they are drawn nicely, the lack of animation hurts the game. Even the 3D battle sequences are just basic. And while the voice acting is good and bad, the soundtrack is beautifully composed by Masashi Hamauzu, the composer behind the music for FINAL FANTASY X.
While there are parts of UNLIMITED SAGA that sound good on paper, the game is just not executed well. While there are parts of the game that are enjoyable, UNLIMITED SAGA can be confusing and only a few of the hardcore RPG fans will probably look into this game.