SaGa Frontier

SaGa Frontier
US Box Art
Developer(s) SquareSoft
Publisher(s) SCEA
Release March 24, 1998
Platforms Playstation
Shrine creator(s) Skankin' Garbage, Kagon
Shrine maintainer(s) Skankin' Garbage


Shrine Content


I could not have done this alone. Be sure to look at the Credits page To see a list of all current contributors to the wiki.


Welcome to the SaGa Frontier shrine! This is the seventh installment of the SaGa series, and the first of two installments on the PSX. To navigate this page, use the links on the right side under 'shrine content' to get to any information you might need. This specific page contains a detailed overview of how the game is played, and general tips on how to play the game and survive.

SaGa Frontier is what I'd call a 'semi non-linear' RPG. To elaborate, you choose one of seven characters, and you are then throw into the world. Each character has their own main quest, but you can go out exploring anywhere in the world at almost any time. The reason it's not a truly non-linear game in my opinion is that there is usually only one way to progress a character's story. Only two characters have multiple endings, and most of the main story progression is set in stone.

Contents

How to Play

SaGa Frontier, like most RPGs, has two distinct gameplay phases: The exploration phases and the battle phases.

Exploration Phases

Any time your character isn't fighting, they will be in the exploration phase. Here, you are able to freely walk around in any place on the map, while interacting with other people and objects. There is no World Map in SaGa Frontier; all exploration is broken up into places called 'Regions', which usually consist of a town and a few dungeons to explore. Traveling between Regions is mainly done by going to each Region's Port, which will give you a list of places they can take you. The main hub of travel is in the Region of Koorong; more than half of the normally accessible regions can only be reached from Koorong's Port.

When in town, you can find shops or inns; you can buy items and equipment at shops for Credits (the game's currency) that you find in dungeons or after battle. Not every shop specializes in one type of equipment, and not every shop will sell the same things; consequently, it's important to find and remember shops that have things you will want to get in the future. Also, unlike most RPGs, not everything can be sold back; there are specified places where people will buy back certain items for 10% of its original price.

When in dungeons, you can still interact with people and objects you find, but the added variable are enemies. There are no random battles in SaGa Frontier; instead, enemies appear on the map, and will try to run into you based on your proximity. The Exploration Phase stops briefly to give way to the Battle Phase when you make contact with an enemy on the map. Exploration resumes after battle.

Battle Phases

Battle Phase begins by making contact with an enemy during Exploration. Battles happen on a special screen separate from Exploration. In SaGa Frontier, you can recruit fifteen characters during a quest, and you can take five characters into battle at once. Rather than just having one party, though, you can actually form up to three groups of five (See the menu explanation below for more information on how to set up parties).

Preparation

Before battle actually begins, you get to choose which of your three parties you want to engage the enemy with, and change the position of your individual characters. Changing position only affects your placement on the field; it does NOT serve as a back row for fortifying defense. Changing positions is relevant in spreading your party out to mitigate Area of Effect attacks (more on that later).

Combat

SaGa Frontier's combat is turn-based. What this means is that you take as much time as you want to select the actions your characters will take in combat. Once all characters have been assigned an action, a short battle scene will commence, where all allies and enemies perform one action. Afterwards, the game will show all of your characters' current HP, WP, JP and LP (More on these parameters below). Damage dealt in combat is represented in white numbers, and Damage restored in combat is shown in green; these numbers are called HP (Hit Points). Each ally and enemy has a set number of HP, and they will become 'unconscious' once all their HP is lost, and will be unable to act until they are 'revived' - a fancy term meaning that they've regained HP. The battle ends either when all enemies are defeated (victory), all your party members are defeated (wiped out), or your main character runs out of LP.

Rather than simply attack with weapons and magic, there are a multitude of special abilities in the game. Special abilities differ in the way they are learned and used depending on your character's race (See Races for more info). Skills require a certain type of points to use: WP (Waza Point, or Weapon Point) for non-Magic skills, and JP (Jutsu Point, or Spell Point) for all Magic skills. The strength of a skill can be roughly determined by how much WP or JP is needed to use the ability. Another feature of SaGa Frontier are its combination attacks. There are certain skills you can perform which can be linked together in a combo. You can have up to five attacks combined together, and damage scales very drastically upwards. It's important to note that enemies can perform combination attacks as well.

Beyond simply attacking, each character has the option to 'Defend' themselves, an option available at any time while selecting a character's actions by pressing the R1 button. Defending for the first time in battle will move a character's position (see the "Preparation" section above for more info). Any time Defend is used, any damage received by a character is reduced by 50% of its original damage. However, if your character is equipped with a Shield, their ability to block is reduced by 25% (see the Shields section for more info on how shields work in battle).

When a character falls in battle, they lose a special type of point called LP (Life Points). The amount of LP lost depends entirely on how many enemies attacked them in the finishing blow. So, any attack that kills a person will cause them to lose 1 LP, a Level 2 Combination will cause a character to lose 2 LP, and so on. Be aware that your characters can still be attacked when they are unconscious, so it's crucial to revive them immediately in most cases. Humans, Mystics, and Mecs have a set max LP that never goes up. Once a character loses all LP, they will be unusable until you have them rest at an inn. If your main character loses all LP, the game ends.

In most RPGs, a special item or spell is needed to revive a character. In SaGa Frontier, however, any item or spell that recovers HP can be cast on an unconscious character to revive them.

While Human characters are fighting in battle with either Swords or Fists (Martial Arts), they may 'spark' a new skill, which means that they instantaneously learn a new skill in combat, and perform it right away. Afterwards, the skill is learned permanently. The chances of sparking a new tech depend on the attack used, and the strength of the enemy you fight.

Victory

After battles, humans may have some of their stats go up, as well as learn Gun Techs and Magic. Mystics will only level up very specific stats (Charm, HP, WP, JP) and learn new Magic. Monsters will have the chance to absorb any non-Mec enemies in order to learn a new skill, and possible transform into a different Monster. Mecs will have the chance to download data (absorb) any Mec enemies. After all stat-ups and absorptions are finished, you will be notified of any items, equipment, or credits recieved. All characters' HP will be completely restored at the end of combat. Finally, exploration will resume.


Menu

During the Exploration phase, you can press Square to open up a game Menu which will allow you to perform a variety of useful tasks.

Status

Here, you can view all current information about any character, from their name, to their race (For Monsters, it will list specifically what Monster form they currently resemble; for Mecs, it will list their body type). It can also be used to view their current parameters, equipment, and equipped skills.

Item

This allows you to view your entire inventory, including weapons and armor. If you have an item that can be used outside of battle (MagiWater, SanctuaryStone), you can use it from this menu. Pressing the Select buttons will automatically sort your items.

Position

This allows you to alter which characters are in which groups. The groups are indicated by three vertical rows; the far left row is group 1, center is group 2, and far right is group 3. Any character that doesn't participate in combat will regain 5 WP afterwards, so there are benefits both to sticking with one group and alternating characters as well.

Also, be aware that most important boss fights in the game will force you to use Group 1. Your main character can not be removed from Group 1, with the exception of Lute in his own scenario.

Equip Weapon

This option, obviously, lets you equip weapons. Actually, though, this menu option allows you to customize all of your characters' current equipment. Certain rules apply to each race for equipping things; see the "Races" page for more details.

Equip Ability

This lets you customize your skill sets for all races. Monsters are unable to unequip their current skills, but can change the order of that their skills appear in the list, which is important for them. See the "Races" page for more details.

Config

This menu option contains a few various help files. You can also change a variety of general display and sound options.

Save

This allows you to save your game, of course. You can save in almost any place in the game. You can also use this menu to make a Quicksave, which is deleted when turning off the game, or making a hard reset (resetting with the button on your Playstation).


Stats and Status Effects

Stats

Stats are numerical values that show your character's ability to do something. All four races of SaGa Frontier develop their stats in different ways. So, for reference, here is a list of all stats and how they affect your character. By the way, even if you are no stranger to RPGs, I would recommend reading this section, as some seemingly arbitrary functions are assigned to certain stats.

Anyways, without further ado:

1. HP: Numerical value that represents how much damage a character can take. Each character starts out with Max HP in combat, barring special circumstances. When HP falls to 0 during battle, they are rendered unconscious and unable to act until revived.

2. LP: Life Points. Each character has a set amount of Life Points. LP is lost when a character is rendered unconscious in battle. Once a character loses all LP, they will be unable to act until they rest at an inn. If the main character loses all LP, the game ends.

3. WP: A special type of point that is used for executing non-Magic skills. Skills have a set number of WP that is required for use. Characters not participating in combat regenerate 5 WP per battle.

4. JP: A special type of point used for Magic skills. Spells have a set number of JP that is required for use. JP can be restored after battle with certain items.

5. STRength: This parameter raises your damage with Sword and Fist attacks.

6. QUIckness: This parameter determines how quickly your characters carry out their actions compared to other combat participants. It also affects your ability to evade attacks.

7. INTelligence: This parameter raises your damage with Gun and Magic attacks; it also affects the rate at which your characters spark Sword and Fist techs.

8. WILl: This parameter affects the damage done by all skills. It also affects accuracy with Sword and Fist attacks.

9. PSYchic: This parameter affects your resistance to status effects, and the rate at which you recover from status effects (see Status Effects below for more information).

10. VITality: This parameter can help raise your defense (along with the Defense rating of your armor); it also affects your resistance to the status effect 'Sleep.'

11. CHArm: This parameter specifically raises your resistance to/recovery from the status effect Charm; it also raises the success rate of your attacks which induce Charm.

12. Defense: This parameter determines your resistance to attacks. Higher defense will cause you to take less damage. This stat is not leveled up; it is affected entirely by your character's equipped armor.


Status Effects

Sometimes, during battle, attacks will place you or your enemies in special states with (usually) negative side-effects. These are called Status Effects. Most of them wear off over time, but can be neutralized instantly with certain items. Here is a list of what Status Effects exist in SaGa Frontier, and some information on their affects:

1. Sleep: This status effect renders its victim unable to take any action. The status effect will wear off in a few turns, or after the victim is hit with a physical attack.

2. Venom: Victims of this status effect will lose a small amount of HP at the end of each turn. It is possible to die from the effects of Venom. Venom will not wear until the end of battle unless an item is used to neutralize it.

3. Blind: This status effect lowers the victim's accuracy with non-magic attacks. Blind does not wear off until the end of battle unless an item is used to neutralize it.

4. Palsy: This status effect renders its victim unable to take actions. Palsy wears off after a few turns.

5. Stone: This status effect enables its victim unable to take any action. Stone does not wear off until the end of battle unless an item is used to neutralize it. Victims of Stone are considered unconscious; as a result, the game will end if any character not unconscious is currently affected by Stone.

6. Mess: There are three states of mess:

Blue: Your character may not perform their given action.
Yellow: Your character may not perform their given action, nor can you choose a target for their action.
Red: Character acts independently; as a result, they may attack other party members.

Mess wears off after a few turns.

7. Charm: Characters affected by Charm will act independently, attacking only their party members. Charm wears off after a few turns. Characters affected by Charm can not be affected by the status effects "Mess" or "Angry."

8. Angry: Characters affected by this status effect can not use techs. When choosing a method of attack, they will choose a target at random, or may not attack at all. Angry wears off after a few turns. Characters affected by Angry can not be affected by the status effects "Mess" or "Charm."

9. Barrier: This is a strange status effect, because it is the only one that has positive effects. Characters with barriers automatically counter-attack with their barrier's element; for example, if a character has a Bolt Barrier, then any physical attacks against them will be countered with a Bolt attack. Characters with elemental barriers also take less damage from attacks of the barrier's respective element. There are three types of barriers that your characters can use; Fire, Ice, and Bolt.

There are also two special types of barrier that only Monsters have: Fear Barrier, and Psy Reflector. Fear Barrier causes physical attacks to be countered with Red "Mess", and PsyReflector bounces certain magic spells back at an enemy.

Barriers produced as a result of an elemental attack will wear off over time.

10. Faint: Not technically a status effect, Faint is the word used to describe an attack's ability to automatically reduce a target's HP to 0. In other words, you are automatically rendered unconscious if an attack induces its Faint effect.

Only specific skills induce Faint effects.

11. Stun: Also not technically a status effect. Certain attacks induce this effect, which cancels its target's action, provided they haven't taken it yet. Although it's at the bottom of the list, Stun is probably the most common phenomenon on this list.

It's important to mention that the term 'Psychout' refers to Stun; for example, if you have a piece of equipment that defends against Psychout, it means that your character can't be stunned.


Gameplay Tips

If you've played SaGa Frontier before, you'll know that it's not friendly to the newcomer, and takes a good bit of playing around to really learn how to succeed. Here are some tips that I think should be common practice for anyone, new or old, as they play this game.

1. Quick Save ALL the time

Triangle + R2. You should buy a shirt that says that across the front. Make a paint file with those words and put it as your desktop. Shout it in a voice memo on your cell phone and make it your default ringtone. You get the idea. This is the hotkey for quicksave, which can be done ANY time during the exploration phase, except for in the one or two rare places in SaGa Frontier where you can't save. Quick Saving is critical; if you mess something up, you try it again if you've Quick Saved. You can use it as a safeguard if you're unsure of what's coming next, or if you think there's a possibility of losing to a boss (and take it from me, there are some bosses where losing is ALWAYS going to be a possibility). And the MOST important reason for Quick Save: There are some dungeons that require you to complete an objective before leaving. Instead of saving in there, and possibly getting stuck, you can Quick Save every step of the way while you make your way through. There's too many reasons to be Quick Saving, and I can guarantee you'll regret it somewhere down the line if you don't make this a habit.

TRIANGLE + R2!!

2. Have the strongest 0 WP/JP attack that you can

You always want to have some sort of attack that can conserve your WP/JP, because the best way to beat a boss is to go all out. But, that doesn't mean you have to attack with a bunch of weak attacks and slog through every dungeon at a slow pace. There are excellent 0 WP/JP options for just about any race or method of attack.

For Humans, one way is to invoke Mastery (see Races for more info) of either physical or magic skills, and equip a good 1 WP (will be 0 WP with Mastery) attack. For Swords, use DoubleSlash; for Fists, use Air Throw. For Magic, there are a variety of good 1 JP attack spells, but my personal favorites are Energy Chain (Realm Magic), Saber (Arcane Magic), and VaporBlast (Space Magic). If you don't normally have a skill setup that invokes Mastery, you can always change it before a boss fight. If you use guns, you just need to equip the TwoGuns skill (and, incidentally, two guns) and use your normal Shot attack; with the right guns, this can do the most damage out of all weapon/magic types. Lastly, you can also equip a Laser-type gun, but be careful, because ammo is limited.

For Monsters, just try to always save any 0 WP skill you come across. 0 WP skills can become quite potent if you take on a powerful monster form.

For Mecs, any Gun or Sword will do exceptional damage when paired with the skills ShootingMastery or CombatMastery respectively (I prefer ShootingMastery, myself). You can also use Laser-type guns.

Mystics are perhaps the toughest race to find an effective 0 WP attack for. The best short term solution is to use your Mystic Weapon abilities (see the Races page for more information) if you don't have a desirable enemy absorbed into one of them; Mystic Weapons can potentially absorb an enemy, or induce Faint, BOTH of which remove an enemy from battle. This can be a really powerful method of attack until you commit to an enemy for each of your Mystic Weapons. Beyond that, the only effective ways are to have a powerful sword, gun, or Laser-type gun.


3. Always be penny-ante

In SaGa Frontier, money is scarce, and everything you can buy costs a small fortune. As a result, always find the cheapest ways of doing everything. Use the Gold Ingot trick or the Junk Shop trick to get a ton of equipment for small amounts (see the Tricks section for more information). Never buy ANYTHING unless it's a good idea. Here are the only things I consider good ideas 100% of the time:

1. Zero Swords, if you use Swords
2. PoweredSuits
3. Hyperwear or Defendwear

If you're not buying any of these things, think very hard about whether or not it's a good idea.

4. Get a Sanctuary Stone

Sanctuary Stones are items in SaGa Frontier that instantly restore all WP/JP/LP. You ALWAYS want one of these before you traverse into a final dungeon, because most final dungeons have more than one boss fight, and you'll want to be as ready as you can to take on the final bosses.

Here are the two easiest places to find Sanctuary Stones:

1. The Lord Manor in Owmi
2. The Luminous Labyrinth in Luminous (can't get this one if your main character is T260 or Riki).

Always take some time to get a Sanctuary Stone.

5. Have a favorite grinding spot

In SaGa Frontier, there are no random battles, and it's easy to avoid them most of the time. This might seem like a bad idea, but if you're strong enough to beat a boss in a dungeon, it can be favorable not to fight unnecessary fights. This is because grinding in a place with strong enemies is more efficient than fighting normal battles. Each battle raises your Battle Rank, which will eventually make fights harder. If you're not leveling up your parameters as well as your skills, you could be in a lot of trouble when your BR raises (see below for more details on Battle Rank). As such, you want to make the most of your fights. Fight the hardest enemies you can all the time, so that you have the highest chance of sparking techs, learning gun techs and spells, and absorbing powerful enemies for Monsters, Mecs, and Mystics.

In any case, here are the best places to grind:

1. The swamps in Yorkland
2. The Bio Research Lab in Shrike
3. Despair, at the laser security

I recommend the swamps for all general purpose grinding. If you have any Monsters, the Bio Lab is the best place to go, because you need to fight a variety of Monsters to get useful skills and transformations. If you go to Despair during the Rune quest, the laser security area will force you to fight powerful Mec enemies, making it (obviously) an ideal place to level up your Mecs.

6. Backpack is your best friend

The Backpack is an item that you have from the start of each scenario. By equipping it, you have access to every item in your inventory. The FIRST thing you should do in each scenario is equip yourself (or the first human character you get) with the Backpack! This way, you aren't limited to the amount of cures your party can hold in their free hands.

7. Have a good defense

Battles in SaGa Frontier can be relentless. There´s not a lot of ways to cure multiple targets, so if a character is rendered unconscious during battle, it can be difficult to turn the advantage back to your favor. So, here´s a few tips:

1. Shields rule in SaGa Frontier. Anyone can use them, and their success rate in crazily high compared to other games. You can use them to block damn near any attack you can think of, as well. These will save you a lot of heartache. I reccomend ExcelShields, as they block all physical attacks, their success rate is high, and they're easy to obtain.

2. Have the highest defense rating you can. I know this sounds obvious; but, you also have the option at times to equip accessories that grant 1 Defense, but raise other stats. It's pointless to use these in most cases, unless the accessories are incredibly good (like some of the rings in Riki's scenario). Forget about all those, and just focus on equipping more powerful armor. Remember, your goal is to prevent anyone from falling in battle.

3. Have at LEAST one, maybe two Human sword-users. Why? Deflect is a block skill that activates automatically simply by having it equipped. The best part? Sword users can Deflect attacks aimed at other characters. So, having one or more sword-users with Deflect will GREATLY reduce the damage received by your party.

4. When going into a tough battle, make sure you have a few cures in everyone's free equipment spaces (and of course, make sure one character has the Backpack). If a character's selected action is to use an Item, they will probably go first in the turn order. This is very important: if you know a character could be potentially taken out by another attack, you'll want to recover their HP and keep them alive.

Battle Rank

In SaGa Frontier, enemies level up with you, in a manner of speaking. Unlike other games that do this, however, the enemies you fight are eventually replaced with stronger ones. This phenomenon is called "Battle Rank", and your Battle Rank is determined by your current number of fights. There are nine Battle Ranks.

It has also been theorized that picking certain astrological signs and blood types can augment your ability to learn specific types of skills; however, that has yet to be confirmed as true or false.

System Data

When starting a new game in any scenario, you will be asked where your System Data file is located. If this is your first time playing SaGa Frontier, you will have to create one or choose "I DON'T NEED SYSTEM DATA!" To create one, simply choose a memory card to create the System Data on; then, you will be asked to enter your name, astrological sign, and blood type (You can also decline to state either of them, for whatever reason).

Upon finishing a scenario, you will also be asked to locate your System Data file (you can create one at this point or refuse to create one as well); at this point, your System Data file will be updated.

Benefits

There are two big benefits to using System Data:

1. When you finish a scenario, and you update your System Data, it remembers that you've finished a particular scenario. When you've beaten all seven, you get to go to a Developer's Room called 2nd. Division (the name of the development team). Here, you can fight any last boss with whatever party you take to the 2nd Division, as well as fight two new bosses.

2. When System Data is updated upon completing a scenario, it records the current Battle Rank of the scenario you finished. Depending on how high it was, characters you recruit in the next scenario will have slightly different stats. Although these are usually insignificant changes, they are useful for Monsters, who start with more pre-absorbed abilities - some being very hard, or even impossible to acquire normally! However, it should be noted that while these abilities have technically been absorbed, they won't be a part of the Monster's skill list - the benefit is related purely to their base HP (see Races for more detail on how Monster HP works).

How to use this shrine

Below are four sections: Equipment, Game Information, Walkthroughs, and Characters. Browse them for the information you're looking for. Here is a brief description of the information they contain:

Equipment

A list of every weapon, armor, item and accessory obtainable in the game without cheating (i.e Gameshark), along with detailed information on their parameters, uses, and how to obtain them.

Game Information

Comprehensive lists of all techs, magic, shops, and cool secrets; as well as detailed information on how each of the four races tick.

Walkthroughs

A strategy guide that will take you from the beginning to the end of all seven scenarios, with painfully detailed information, some of it not documented in any other FAQ you can find in English. It also contains a short walkthrough for the additional dungeons not traversed normally in any of the seven scenarios.

Characters

Information on how to recruit each character in each scenario (and in which scenarios you can recruit them).