The Tragedy of Unlimited Saga

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine had asked me if I even liked video games. Though I have been generally positive towards the games I’ve played and written about here, I have always had a natural tendency to quickly point out a flaw in a game, especially if its one that greatly bothers me. Truth be told, I have been gaming for years now, when something sticks with me I usually let it be known. Games like Half-Life 2, or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, these are the games that have stuck with me over the course of my life. They’re games I have nothing but fond memories of playing throughout my youth, and ones I have nothing but positive things to say about. On the flip side of that spectrum, terrible games like The Last Rebellion or Damnation have effected me in the same way, though negatively. All of this is, however, brings me to a question that I ask to myself – What is the most disappointing game I have ever played? The answer is simple, Unlimited Saga.

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Why?

Having been a huge fan of Square’s highly under rated SaGa Frontier games during the Playstation 1 era. Unlimited Saga, released in 2003 on the Playstation 2, was a game that I can still remember more than just a few people being thrilled about. I can still remember my brother coming home after purchasing the game at EB Game World, with more than a handful of people standing around waiting to see how the game looked and played compared to SaGa Frontier, only to be met with massive disappointment in the end. I can still visualize the reaction across the room, with everyone confused with how the odd slot machine battle system, combined with the terrible board game world map even worked. It was this unfathomable gut-wrenching feeling of being utterly disgusted seeing a series that we all had such a fond remembrance of, sinking so low to the state of it feeling almost unplayable. The worst part of Unlimited SaGa is that this game might have the greatest story ever told, but it’s hard to even tolerate the game long enough to make it to see any of it to a great length with these terrible experimental mechanics that should have never been tossed into an RPG on a video game console. I went back and tried playing the game very recently to still feel the same disgust I held over a decade ago, this is just not a good game.

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This terrible roulette wheel mechanic allowed you to dodge traps you randomly would trigger.

In the more recent years I’ve seen people point at Mindjack as the worst game in Square-Enix’s library. While I can’t deny that Mindjack was horrible, I still feel like I have to look at Unlimited Saga as the lowest low. It was just a terrible game overall and one that brought an extreme amount of disappointment to a bunch of teenagers who had been anticipating this game. That being said, I don’t think Unlimited Saga is the worst video game ever created, not by a stretch, but it is one that sustains nothing but contempt from myself. It’s one I find to be a true forgotten tragedy of Square, a company who I still remember feeling at the time, was this RPG juggernaut. A company who on previous console generations, would release nothing but fantastic games. Square-Enix did eventually redeem themselves with a follow-up, however, finding themselves releasing a remake of the classic Romancing SaGa, a few years later. The remake of Romancing SaGa was the game that we had all wanted Unlimited Saga to be. At the end of the day however, you can’t erase history. Unlimited Saga will always be something that happened, and its something I won’t ever forget as a gamer.

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