The 7th Saga (SNES) review
"Even on a system renowned for its expansive library of RPGs, successfully completing The 7th Saga is an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately this is solely due to its patently unfair difficulty, because the generic dungeons, incomprehensible abbreviations, and skeletal excuse for a plot would likely put everyone to sleep if all the random encounters weren't straight out of their darkest nightmares."
Even on a system renowned for its expansive library of RPGs, successfully completing The 7th Saga is an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately this is solely due to its patently unfair difficulty, because the generic dungeons, incomprehensible abbreviations, and skeletal excuse for a plot would likely put everyone to sleep if all the random encounters weren't straight out of their darkest nightmares.
At first this game actually seems somewhat ahead of its time, prompting you to select a lone champion from seven available characters who make for quite a contrast in both their fighting styles and moral outlooks. Most are typical fantasy archetypes like the noble knight and elfin sorceress, but some of them are actually pretty out there, like a nefarious demon who intends to make the entire world kneel beneath his cloven hooves – a scheme that's probably doomed to failure, since he lacks defense and curative spells. Then there's the hulking robot constructed out of hardy iron, or even a naked alien from another galaxy, but they all have one thing in common: these heroes, villains, and assorted weirdos are all pitted against each other in a race for seven mystical runes which promise their wielder power enough to reshape the world.
THERE CAN BE ONLY
Initially your chosen protagonist has to do everything alone, but it's soon possible to team up with another of the characters assuming they don't refuse the offer due to alignment clashes or merely require you to gain more experience. Since each character has very specific strengths and weaknesses, a strategic pairing is essential to your survival; the knight makes for a great combination with the cleric or elf, but any duo without healing magic or brute strength is going to get slaughtered almost immediately.
Of course even the strongest of teams are simply delaying the inevitable, for this saga's glimmer of promise quickly dissolves into unending frustration.
A crystal ball in the corner of the screen reveals all the enemies lurking nearby, which would have been a nice touch if it weren't always displaying immense, rapidly moving swarms that are almost impossible to avoid for more than a few steps before plunging you into yet another desperate struggle. All but the lowliest of random encounters either drag on for ages or crush your party in moments whenever they reach a new area, making for several hours of insipid grinding just outside the nearest city, followed by about ten minutes of actual exploration in the next dungeon and a punishing boss battle before once again repeating the cycle.
At times it almost seems as if the development team secretly hated RPG players and wanted to break their spirits; duels with opposing apprentices can be all but impossible since they're always at the same level as your PC and strictly one-on-one, which still pales to the cruelty late in the game when your party temporarily loses the ability to cast any spells. Overcome this latest affront and you may find yourself hopelessly stuck near the end, unable to return to earlier areas and overwhelmed by bloodthirsty beasts you're unable to defeat without heavenly intervention. Since The 7th Saga is firmly within the crimson grasp of Satan, this is unlikely, though it does lead one to wonder just what Enix was thinking when they translated this monstrosity as opposed to Dragon Quest V.
Staff review by Sho (November 03, 2010)
Sho enjoys classic video games, black comedy, and poking people until they explode -- figuratively or otherwise. He also writes a bit.
If you enjoyed this The 7th Saga review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!