On 2/28/2021 I beat SaGa Frontier 2. You might be thinking, “Big whoop. You beat an RPG.” Well my friend, SaGa Frontier 2 and I have a bit of history. The long and short of it is this: I played SaGa Frontier 2 about a year after it was released. For the most part, I played the game like I would any other RPG and made it to the final dungeon. There, I got absolutely massacred by the final boss. Without a backup save, I had to use a Game Shark to “beat” the game.
I finally went back to it fully determined to finish it legit. I didn’t realize how much stuff I missed my first time through and the amount of resources out there to make the journey smoother. SaGa Frontier 2 is a great game but going into it blind can be tricky. Here are some hints and tips for potential new players and those that couldn’t tackle its challenges the first time.
1. Explore a lot. When you enter a scenario with a dungeon, take the time to explore it fully. SaGa Frontier 2 rewards players that take their time. If you make a beeline through each area, you’ll miss out on valuable goods and experience. Play too fast and things get hard quickly.
2. Quick Save when you enter a new room in a dungeon. Simply press the triangle button to bring up the Quick Save. This is nice because you never know when the next battle might catch you off guard. That being said…
3. Don’t feel bad about getting a game over. This will happen when you’re trying to acquire new Weapon and Spell Arts in difficult duels. Remember point 2? Quick saving makes the game over screen a minor nuisance.
4. While on the note of saving, always keep at least two save files. One should be for your main campaign, and one should be a backup on the world map. Two is fine, but feel free to make more. At the end of the game I had three: one while in the final dungeon, one while on the world map leading to the final dungeon, and one on the world map with “Into the Northern Continent” as my next available scenario. “Into the Northern Continent” is the last moment when you can travel to the game’s four major cities to train your team. I.e. the point of no return.
5. With the logistics out of the way, let’s talk about stats. Or rather, the lack of stats. The only things your characters will gain after combat are weapon proficiencies, magic proficiencies, HP, Weapon Points (WP), and Spell Points (SP). Life Points (LP) never change. Proficiencies refer to how effective a character is with a particular weapon or spell type. In other words, higher proficiency means more damage.
6. Let’s look at point 5 with an example. Two characters are equipped with the same spear with an attack power of 10. The first character, let’s say Cordelia, has a spear proficiency of 20. The other character, we’ll say Nina, has a spear proficiency of 2. Both characters use a Spear Art called Wave Thrust, which has an attack power of 51. Cordelia will deal substantially more damage than Nina because of higher proficiency.
7. With the example in point 6 in mind, you should make each character specialize in one to two areas of combat. Don’t have someone be a Jack or Jane of All Trades; they won’t do well.
8. So, how do you determine who should specialize in what? The game does a good job of giving you an idea of what each character should do in the menu screens. Every character has a + next to some of the weapon/spell types. This means that their growth with that area has a higher chance of increasing after battle and they’ll deal more damage. That said, don’t let the + dissuade you from trying out other options.
9. I talked a bit about weapons and their proficiency, so you might be wondering if magic and its proficiency follows the same logic. In general, yes. Focus on acquiring healing/support magic before attack magic. Attack magic has its use; just prioritize learning support and healing spells. Also, try to give each character a little magic if they’re capable of casting it.
10. Never prolong battles. Aim to finish each battle as soon as possible. Finishing ASAP means a higher chance of earning stat boosts after battle. If you get the option to “Let Go” or “Show Mercy” or other winning commands, then do it. You’ll still reap the rewards.
11. But, until you get the option to end a battle early, you’ll want everyone to target the strongest enemy in the enemy party. The reasons are threefold. First, stronger enemies have a higher Flash Skill – a hidden stat that determines whether a character attacking physically will learn (AKA spark) a new Weapon Art mid combat. Next, this may create a combo. Combos amplify damage. Use strong enemies to determine which moves combo with each other. Finally, and this might be the most important, targeting the strongest enemy gives your characters more of a chance to gain proficiency or a new spell when the battle ends.
12. “Did you just say new spell?” Yes. Along with enemies having a Flash Skill, there’s another hidden stat they have called an Up Skill. An enemy’s Up Skill is part of a hidden, in-game mathematical formula that determines if a certain character will learn a spell after battle. Confused? I was, too. But, here’s the basic idea: certain characters can learn certain spells after battle and only certain enemies are strong enough (i.e. have a high enough Up Skill) to give a chance of learning it. To maximize your chance to learn new spells, the proper character needs to use an element of that spell ONCE and finish the battle ASAP.
13. Along with party battles, there are duels. Duels are the only way you can acquire Hybrid Arts: arts that combine weapon maneuvers and magic. Also, Duels slightly boost enemies’ Flash and Up Skills. So, if you’re shooting for a particular skill and you can participate in a duel, then do so.
14. But, to somewhat counter point 13, a good chunk of arts and spells (aside from Hybrid Arts) will come naturally as you play. There’s usually no need to force the process. Remember how I said you should explore thoroughly? Doing that irrevocably puts you into more battles which means more chances for new abilities.
15. The best part about acquiring new arts is that ANYONE can use them. In my recent campaign, a character named Diana learned a Hybrid Art called Jewel Strike. As a result, EVERYONE could use Jewel Strike if I decided.
16. One final note on arts. Many characters come pre-equipped with Weapon and Spell Arts. For instance, Nina joins the party with the spell Life Water. This means you don’t have to worry about acquiring it yourself.
17. “Oye. Kash. I heard that most weapons have durability in this game. That’s lame.” Normally, I’d agree with you. But you’ll WANT to get your weapons to break. In doing so, you’ll acquire Chips. Chips can be converted to Crowns. Crowns are used to buy new, better equipment. Plus, the game is insanely generous with enemies dropping equipment. You’ll be swimming in gear before you know it. So, let your gear break. As an aside, there are some excellent pieces of equipment that have infinite durability.
18. Following up point 17, the game keeps track of the accumulated total of Chips and Crowns. When you reach a certain amount and someone during the journey reaches a certain spell or weapon proficiency, then you can create Custom Tools. These are AMAZING for the final challenges.
19. “This game is so linear. What’s the best place to grind?” That was one of the first things I was wondering when I started up the game again. There are more opportunities to grind than you think. Aside from certain scenarios being prime for grinding, you’ll often get the opportunity to visit four cities: Gruegel, Vogelang, Weissland and Laubholz. Save your game on the world map and enter them. Other than Gruegel, each town has an area where you can train your team. The icing on the cake is that some of these cities have other facilities that let you cash in your extra Tools, fully recover at an inn, and more.
20. There’s a huge pool of Weapon Arts. However, Axe Arts got the short end of the stick. While powerful, the “best axes” aren’t worth the effort to acquire and the “best Axe Arts” aren’t as powerful as other Weapon Art families. Consider making a character that is proficient with axes wield something else.
21. There are over 30 Spell Arts that you can learn. Here are some you’ll want to try to get as soon as possible that can be acquired either during a duel or after a battle. Remember, when a character acquires a new spell or art, EVERYONE can use it.
Regen, which is composed of Beast-Beast. This restores a solid chunk of HP per round.
Reviva, which is composed of Beast-Flame-Flame-Beast. This will cast auto-life. So, if you’re knocked down, you’ll get right back up. Very useful for bosses. Thanks to GameFAQs contributor DoomHippie for the tip on acquiring this.
Incineration, which is composed of Flame-Flame-Tree-Stone. Along with its chance to cause instant death, it’s probably the most devastating single-attack spell. This is especially true if the caster has a high proficiency with Flame Arts.
Delta Petra, which is composed of Stone-Tree. In the early parts of the game this is very useful. It strikes in a cone shaped area and has a high chance of causing petrification.
Recovery Breath, which is composed of Flame-Tree. This removes status ailments. Unfortunately, it will remove status boosts, too. Still, you’ll want to have this to counter effects like stun and petrification.
Hymnal, which is composed of Tone-Tree-Beast. For spell casters with a high Tone Proficiency, this spell is perfection. It attacks every enemy on screen, has a high attack level, and works extra wonders on the undead. This is perfect for when you’re trying to farm rare drops from the multitude of undead enemies.
22. Here are spells worth learning that can ONLY be acquired after battle:
Howling Heaven: Cast a Beast spell or a Tone spell with the right character ONCE on an enemy with the proper Up Skill and finish the battle. This spell damages all enemies and lowers their attack power. It can be stacked, so keep using it if you’re facing a hard-hitting enemy.
Sonic Poison: Cast a Water spell or Tone spell with the right character ONCE on an enemy with the proper Up Skill and finish the battle. This spell damages all enemies and has a chance to add poison status. This is useful for boss fights when the boss comes with cronies. The poison will eat away at their HP and eventually kill them while you can focus on destroying the boss.
Soul Hymn: Cast a Flame spell with the right character ONCE on an enemy with the proper Up Skill and finish the battle. This is arguably the best support spell in the game. It increases the attack power of the entire party and gives each party member regen status. The problem with Soul Hymn is that it has a low chance of acquisition. Be patient when trying to pull it.
Finally, here are some helpful links courtesy of GameFAQs users Alltra and DoomHippie. This link shows which character can learn which spell. The higher the number in the parenthesis, the more difficult it is to learn.
This link shows enemy stats. Most importantly, it shows their Flash Skill and Up Skill.
SaGa Frontier 2 is a great game, but it’s a game that can be difficult to enjoy to the fullest without a bit of guidance. I hope these hints and tips make the journey smoother whether it’s your first time through or a replay. One thing’s for damn sure: taking out the final boss has been the highlight of my year. Good luck, and enjoy SaGa Frontier 2!
P.S. Here’s my original review for SaGa Frontier 2. Feel free to laugh and judge.