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If You Like Final Fantasy And CBT, Try The Romancing SaGa Series

Final Fantasy is a staple of the JRPG genre that’s bigger than ever right now, between the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV and the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI. Cock Ball Torture, or CBT, is a staple of sick little masochists who need punishment to cum. With the advent of high difficulty games like Dark Souls, many modern gamers need a fix of high-grade torture to enjoy a video game anymore. What if there was a way to combine the high fantasy adventures of Final Fantasy with the pure malice of CBT?

Meet Romancing SaGa. The SaGa series was created by Akitoshi Kawazu as the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy II and a more hardcore alternative the Final Fantasy series. SaGa games are nonlinear, open world RPGs, where most entries simply dump you into the world and let you figure out what to do. For example, the recent Saga Frontier remake needed to add a help guide that tells you what you need to do and it’s STILL incredibly hard to figure out your next step sometimes.

Instead of a set main character and party, almost every SaGa game lets you choose one of generally eight different protagonists with their own unique elements. You then recruit a party from the variety of bozos with unique character portraits in the open world, either through side quests or by simply talking to the lonelier ones. You need the full roster of potential party members too because this game has permadeath. Characters have a third stat called LP that lowers when you die and when you get hit while dead mid-battle. Reach 0? That character is gone forever. Consider your nuts kicked.

Nobody levels up: instead, your stats will increase after battle based on the actions you took. Use a heavy axe? Your strength goes up. Get the tar beat out of you? That’s more HP if you live. You can’t learn skills normally either. SaGa uses the “sparking” system, where characters will randomly learn new techniques when you’re normally attacking in a moment of inspiration. You gain more stats and have a better chance of sparking techniques against harder enemies, which encourages you to punch upwards, but there’s a 99% chance your characters won’t have every skill for their main weapon at the end of the game.

If you wait too long to learn magic in SaGa Frontier, have fun fighting the hardest normal enemy in the game 5 times while unable to control your characters.

Which isn’t really a choice, by the way, since enemies all scale with the number of encounters you’ve fought in a game. Did you spend 50 hours grinding in the first area? Congratulations, you get to fight end-game mobs for the entire journey. You also missed half the content in some games, because your number of encounters is used to measure the passage of time and multiple quests happened without you while you were fighting level 2 rats.

This is the defining ethos of the franchise: SaGa games will let you fuck it all up without fair warning. Talk to characters in the wrong order? You just locked yourself out of another party member you didn’t know existed. Travel from area to area at the wrong time? Eat shit, kid. You just got eaten by a giant worm and now you have to finish a full dungeon. Did you not grind enough before a certain squid boss? I hope you like dying in one hit. Figure it out.

You actually need to do the man in blue armor’s quest without ever talking to him the entire game, or you lose a key item and slate another party member for death.

But when you do figure it out, it feels like you’ve summited Mount Everest. SaGa is one of the only JRPGS where your power comes for experience, not experience points. And as you continue doing favors for the people you meet from village to village, you stumble upon traces of sinister threats that eventually thread together into a grand evil at the end.

Now is the perfect time to get into SaGa. I would recommend Romancing SaGa 3 if you want a more retro experience with pixel art, or the recently remastered Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song for a 3D game. SaGa Frontier, arguably the most well-known entry in the series (and my personal favorite), received a stellar remaster that deserves to be lauded for the way it restored a famously underdeveloped game with tons of cut content. It’s also a total trainwreck that needed years more of development to realize its vision, so I would recommend trying Frontier after you’re hooked on the franchise. These games are all available on Steam and all major systems.

Please buy them so that Square Enix keeps on funding SaGa. I need more. I’m addicted to the pain.

 To recap, the SaGa series is a perfect game for players who:

  • Want a difficult and unique twist on the basic JRPG formula
  • Think it’s awesome that SaGa Frontier has a game mechanics guide on Gamefaqs that’s about 538 pages long
  • Are looking to check out well-known Japanese series that were never traditionally ported to the West
  • Enjoy creating your own path through the world
  • Receive sexual gratification from receiving physical violence

It may not be for you if:

  • You don’t like dying
  • You aren’t a fan of nonstandard game mechanics
  • You have a low tolerance for frustrating features