Without a doubt, some of you have already dove into the world of Romancing SaGa 3 by now, and if you’re completely confused, then welcome to the incredibly odd universe in which this series thrives! Some would argue that SaGa games are best approached with a comprehensive guide in-hand, and while not entirely false, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by blinding following such a compendium to a T. As a game that’s intended to be played multiple times over, you wouldn’t want to spoil all of the surprises from the beginning, now would you?
That said, there are some things that are best known from the outset, especially if you are unfamiliar with SaGa franchise in general. That is exactly what this guide aims to achieve: a list of helpful tips that will absolutely benefit those that are a bit wet behind the ears, but may also assist returning SaGa fans in familiarizing themselves with this “latest” entry to launch worldwide.
Strength In Adversity
Traditional levels, from 1 to 99, are a thing of the past. Most SaGa games, including Romancing Saga 3, handle power increases through occasional, incremental bonuses to individual stats after successful battles. For example, one battle may increase your skill points, another might increase your health, while some may even increase both – or you might not get anything at all! Part of this has to do with the actions you perform – like magic-based skillups occuring as you consistently perform magic commands – but the primary motivating factor for growth lies in the overall difficulty of your enemies (compared to your own).
Romancing SaGa 3 uses a complex enemy scaling system, often regarded as battle rank, to help balance the growth of your characters with the overall difficulty of enemies. Though this means you can technically roam the world as you see fit, the scaling factor typically does not apply to bosses, meaning roadblocks are still possible. On top of that, some areas are tuned a bit higher than baseline, despite the aforementioned scaling factor.
With that in mind, your best bet would be to focus on the difficult encounters, while avoiding the easier ones. Enemies can easily be avoided in Romancing SaGa 3, so there’s no real reason to focus on endlessly killing in an area that proves too easy for your party. Lesser enemies will, in turn, provide less stat-up occurrences, as well as fewer “glimmering/sparking” – or ability learning – opportunities. In short, when considering a grinding session, park your team in an area with particularly brutal enemies, and watch the (literal) sparks fly.
Save, Save, Save
Romancing SaGa 3 is void of almost every modern convenience, but it does retain the ability to save on the fly. You should absolutely use this to your advantage, as party wipes are inevitable, and some events will put you on the path of no return until you see an event to completion. If possible, save before initiating any event, fighting ANY boss (they usually appear stationary on the field), and consider keeping multiple copies of saves as a means of referencing back to other periods of time, when necessary. Multiple, frequent save states will certainly come in handy.
Diversify, But Specialize
Itemization rules in Romancing SaGa 3 are lax – almost any character can equip any kind of weapon, armor, and specialize in any type of magic school – though some characters do specialize in certain types from the get go. Make it a point to mix and match from the weapon and spell choices, as most of them aren’t universally effective against all enemies. It is beneficial to have a wide array of damage options, but don’t spread yourself too thin, either.
If you attempt to over-specialize in too many things on a single character, not only will you be less effective than you would by sticking to a couple of specialties, you will also substantially increase the amount of grinding necessary in order to make such a decision viable. Weapon and spell levels increase your throughput immensely, so focus on a couple of them per character rather than attempting a jack-of-all-trades build. You can have a party of up to six characters for a reason.
It should also be worth noting that specializing almost completely in either magic or weapons will eventually lead to “crowning” the respective school, reducing the cost of all associated abilities. This can be gained or lost multiple times over if you dip into both sides, but isn’t the end of the world if you lose it entirely. It is a nice bonus for those that stay true to a single type of discipline, however.
Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
Money can be hard to come by in Romancing SaGa 3, especially early on, when your knowledge of the world is at a minimum, though your chosen main character plays a part, as well. Some enemies can drop currency, but only in pitiful amounts. You’ll want to seek out quests in various towns and dive into dungeons in order to line your pockets. This becomes less of an issue later on, and even less so if you go all-in with the blacksmithing mini-game – to be detailed later. This concept goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip, as trying to keep multiple types of weapon sets up for each individual character can prove troublesome at best.
Keep A Tidy Workspace
In typical RPG fashion, there are tons of different weapons, armor, and items to be found in Romancing SaGa 3. Although total storage space is seemingly infinite, you are limited in the amount of goods you can carry “on the go” on your person at one time. While this might seem like common sense, what you may not know is how keeping a full bag might prevent you from collecting some items permanently. When your bag is full, you might receive messages about acquiring certain items, when in actuality it is going straight into the void due to insufficient space! Thus, keep your bags in check by storing unnecessary items in storage in town, or by selling some things off – be careful about the latter however, as some seemingly useless items may prove beneficial once you unlock blacksmithing.
Strike While The Iron Is Hot
Upon clearing your chosen main character’s prologue, the entire world becomes accessible. One of your first destinations should be the town of Pidona, because it leads to unlocking a blacksmithing mini-game that is incredibly useful throughout your adventure. Once initiated, craftsmen will start creating items of your choice, which will require you to come back and forth in order to reap the rewards. This is a long process, so getting started early is in your best interest. Just be sure you have a free slot open in your party, as a certain someone will become recruitable – and I believe only recruitable – during the initial process!
Run, Run Away!
Whereas most games punish running away from battles, Romancing SaGa 3 somewhat encourages it. Outside of a handful of situations – namely bosses – players can (and should) run away when the going gets tough. What you’ll discover is that the enemy selection will change if you run away, even if you run into the same enemy on the field immediately thereafter. Basically, it can be used to reshuffle a rather annoying opponent, in addition to restoring your health to max. This even works on some boss fights, so remember it well!
Master, Then Forget
Glimmering – or sparking – is the act of learning a new ability through combat, and this will happen quite a bit as you progress in Romancing SaGa 3. Glimmering will come to a halt quickly if you aren’t paying attention however, seeing as you are only allowed to hold eight skills at any given time. Fortunately, you can “forget” skills from the skill menu, but should only do so once you “master” the ability in question.
From the skill menu, skills in red have been learned, while ones in black have been mastered – the difference being that former (the red) will be completely lost when “forgotten” while the latter (the black) can be re-learned even if you “forget” it. Thanks to the skill repository in Romancing SaGa 3, all mastered skills can be learned and forgotten at will, and can even be shared amongst other party members! Aim to master every skill, even those skills in which you’ll never use again, because it will completely remove it from the glimmer table and allow for easier access to new, shinier glimmers in the process.
Running With The Pack
Romancing SaGa 3 allows for a party of six, though you might consider running around with five until you’ve experienced everything. The reasons for this is that recruitable characters can be missed if your party is full, and even though you can double back and pick up a few once you are running a bit lighter, that isn’t the case for all potential allies. That’s not to say you shouldn’t run with a set of six people at times – a brand-new combat mode is possible with a full, specifically organized party, but that is beyond the scope of this article.
An Honest Defense
Shields are exceptionally useful in Romancing SaGa 3, but only if you first understand their limitations. Save for a couple of situations, shields are not factored in whenever you use a two-handed weapon, or cast spells, rendering them pointless on most characters that specialize in those combat fields. This might come as a surprise to some, considering you can still equip a shield alongside two handed weapons, even though they don’t work together (in most cases).
Assembly And Deployment
Formations are a feature in Romancing SaGa 3 that provides benefits to the party based on their current formation. Don’t go by visuals alone – the descriptions accurately represent the pros of any given formation, whereas the visual representation typically only tells half the tale. For example, the highly defensive “Tiger” formation will substantially increase your defenses (represented by its description), at the cost of speed (represented by its visual diagram).
Another example is the Genbu formation, which you might not know restores health each round without testing it out for yourself. Most formations, at the very least, affect party speed, as well as target priority for enemies, so experiment with them in order to see what best suits any given situation. Furthermore, these unique formations will break – reverting to the basic free-for-all formation – should you run head-first into combat. Make sure that you physically walk into enemies in the field to avoid breaking the more powerful formations.
When In Doubt, Refer To A Guide
Even though I avoid comprehensive guides when playing most games for the first time, I’m not afraid of admitting that my experience with Romancing SaGa 3 has thrown me in a couple of situations where I felt it necessary to refer to a guide. If you’re like me, don’t feel bad about breaking that mold. Romancing SaGa 3 is a very odd game, and some things are so obscure that you might never discover them on your own – looking at you, Aurora Borealis!
That said, you should still aim to experience as much as you can naturally, as there are lots of secrets and surprises to be had if you aren’t blindly following a walkthrough. If that is the way you prefer to play games however, then by all means follow a detailed guide, step-by-step, and do so with pride!
I hope you’ve found these tips useful! What are some that you would add to the list? Do you have any questions for me? Let me know!