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|Setting the Scene:
A king gives birth to a male child, Gustave. He is the heir-apparent to the throne. He is born in a world where casting magic is the norm and not having 'anima', the inner source of magic, is looked down upon. Gustave is tutored and groomed to be king. At his coming of age Gustave must unsheathe a special sword and draw upon his anima to take his rightful place on the throne. With every thing that he was taught and waiting to take what is supposed to be his rightful place in history, he fails. Seems Gustave is shooting blanks as far as his Anima is concerned. One moment, one significant annul in time, one event that changes his way of life forever. The infuriated king disowns the boy and vanishes him from the kingdom. Accompanied by his mother, the Lady Sophie, Gustave sets out for a new destiny.
In a place far away William is ready for his own coming of age. With both parents gone from this world, William lives with his aunt and uncle. Of humble means and a lifestyle as far removed from any type of royalty William embarks on a journey of his own. Wanting to be a digger of Quells, magical objects that radiate magic, William sets out on his own mission in life. William meets new friends to journey with him on his expedition. Along the way he starts to unravel the mysteries of his own heritage. Adventure is thrust upon the young man. With the thrill of unimagined gains also comes the real threat of loss. Accompanied by a motley crew, William set out for his destiny.
Two different destinies by people as different as night and day. Each will move down their own path. One will go to war with the world and take what once was lost. Even more significant is his inner battle with himself and overcoming a handicap. To what heights can he reach? What lies ahead if that goal is met? Can wounds from a family torn apart be mended? The other will continue in what at first seems to be an insignificant existence. As mysteries unravel and the journey is brought forth, new elements of power are rising. Along with power comes the greed of man who wants to own and wield something that can't be controlled.
Two very different paths seeming to be unrelated. Each unknowing of the other. Both finding their own danger. Both living their own lives. Both fulfilling their own destiny. Both bound together in the future by something called fate.
Sound and Vision:
Polygons? We don't need no stinking polygons. Sounds crazy right, but you will understand what I mean when you behold the beauty and splendor that Square has managed to create in Saga Frontier 2 by using absolutely no polygon character models or background polys at all. Fact is the game is actually more in line with 2D gameplay.
Each screen is displayed in beautifully hand drawn pastel colors. The level of detail in the some of the screens is startling and provides a refreshing "new" look compared to many of today's games. There is also a lot of subtle little animations going on in the backgrounds as well such as water dripping, spiders and other types of bugs crawling on the walls and leaves swirling gently around the environment. Just the right combination to make the static background come to life. Being that each screen is separately hand drawn, as your character exists to the left or right the next screen scrolls and "locks into place. So, even though your character can freely roam within each screen the world is really 2D in design. The overall method of presentation is more akin to watching an old cartoon.
The characters are sprite-based and of the super-deformed variety. They are nice and colorful and well animated with a wide range of movements. They also fit in nicely with the backdrops and the overall feel of the game.
Battles during the games present a nice conflict in graphical styles. The backgrounds shift to a more polygonal presentation with the characters remaining sprites. Magical spells display wonderful particle effects and the overall lighting and textures combinations all work strangely well together.
The music is absolutely pleasing for the most part with the typical Square flair for presenting grand scores and subtle interludes. I found a few of the tunes to be a bit grating with obnoxious flute and other high-pitched woodwind sounds that just didn't seem to fit in, but overall this is a wonderfully produced game soundwise.
Naturally the sound effect are pretty much what you would expect from a Square title with many of the familiar sounds that they use for swords clanging, heavy doors opening and shuffling footsteps, etc. Everything pretty much sounds as it should and there is never a lack of stuff to hear. There are even nice little ambient sounds happening in the background to give one a feeling a realism.
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