Video Game: Unlimited SaGa

Unlimited Saga is an Eastern RPG developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 and released in 2002. It is the ninth game in the SaGa series.

In the lush fantasy world of Unlimited Saga, there is a prophecy that states that when the power dwelling within the Seven Wonders Of The World is released, a god will awaken and usher in a Golden Age. The game tells the stories of seven heroes who set out on their own individual quests across this land, which brings them into contact with the Seven Wonders.

The heroes are: Armic, a rodent-like "Chapa" who is selected to go a quest to save his tribe from a drought; Judy, a young witch out to save her family from the clutches of a jealous rival; Kurt, a former knight with a mysterious cursed gauntlet; Laura, an ex-pirate who is currently aiding a royal heir; Mythe, a talented blacksmith who is searching for a beautiful woman he became infatuated with; Ruby, who tags along with her fortune-teller sister to discover the truth behind a sinister prediction; and Ventus, a young man who became a courier to track down the murderer of his brother.

The game itself uses a distinctive "Tabletop Games" set-up, where you move the piece representing your party across the map and fight monsters, dodge traps and search for treasure along the way. The key mechanic is the controversial "Reel System": for almost every action, you spin the reel and try to stop it on a "Success" panel. In battle, this also determines if you get a critical hit, a special move or even cast the right elemental effect for spells. However, in practice the Reel System was a horribly unbalanced mess, often including far too little "Success" panels and reducing the timing to a Luck-Based Mission.

What exacerbated this effect was the fact that you only get a certain number of "moves" per map, with constant failures sucking up your available moves and eventually forcing you to re-do the entire map from the start. There was also the incredibly complex and unintuitive Character Customization system that frequently forced you to take a hit to your stats even if you managed to figure out the mechanics, and (like everything else in the game) also relied on the unbalanced Reel System for upgrades. The seven heroes also had natural strengths and weaknesses which were not always complemented by the upgrade options available to you.

Unlimited Saga contains examples of:

  • Acrofatic - For some weird reason, Roy is the character with the lightest weight in the game, allowing to use light martial arts easily even when equipped with heavy gears.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts - Averted. What is sold through the game is not related to location but instead of what material the item is made of.
  • After Boss Recovery - You get a free HP and LP refill once in the game. If some of your characters lost all they LP, they get revived and get one. The catch? You have to fight the final boss and it's tougher than anything you had to face before.
  • Artificial Human - The Silver Haired Girl
  • Anti-Climax - Players who have played Judy's story are aware of the Forbidden Spell subplot. At the end of Armic's story, guess what the penultimate boss can use? It's been built up as the ultimate spell, but....It's just a palette swap of the Shock spell with a black background that does only 1 LP damage to whatever is hit. What.
  • Anti-Grinding - There are only so many side-quests players can take. It is totally possible to do everything available to you and be forced into doing a character's final adventure just to leave the hub screens. This makes planning out skill distribution even more important.
    • Especially enforced in Armic's quest. The game is designed in such a way that you have to adhere to the list and go to other towns to get other materials. Trying to game the system by sheltering in one town is impossible.
    • Averted with Ventus meanwhile, who can take carrier jobs forever. This makes his party the most likely to ever see Level 5 Panels.
  • Badass Family - Judy and her family. Her entire quest revolves around gathering everyone up to take out the guy responsible for scattering them in the first place.
  • Badass Grandpa - Josef, Judy's grandfather. He may be sealed in a mirror for most of her quest, but gets to join just in time for her final battle.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind - The Gauntlet battles. Subverted as you eventually learn that instead you get teleported and fight in a moment so short that about no one notice.
  • Blessed with Suck - Kurt's gauntlet makes him even stronger, but it's constantly dragging him into battles... Roughly every twenty minutes, in fact. In actual play time, mind.
    • It also happens at the beginning of quests; Game Time isn't the only factor. It was probably meant to be, but, y'know....Obvious Beta.
    • What about Michelle? She gts the biggest bonuses to her stats during the game. The catch? She has the game's lowest LP.
  • Bonus Boss - The Rainbow Gucky which randomly appear in a New Game+. While it looks like a regular Gucky on the map, it is quite a deal stronger than one and will randomly morph into different type of Guckies, using different attacks based on them. Thankfully, that monster won't go actively after your character and will even run away from it if you're too weak although some times the game geography will not allow it. It's also the only monster dropping Forbidden Magic Tablets.
  • Boring Yet Practical - The Sinker attack. While it won't do much damage, it lowers your opponent Strenght, making it a must at the beginning of long battles. Also, being a Level 2 kick skill available on all type of martial arts, it's easily available on several levels and don't cost any weapon durability either.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing - Rainbow Guckies. Also, the level 10 mooks might qualify as well.
  • Breakable Weapons - All weapons but one (including shields and accessories allowing to cast spells) have durability points. If it reach 0, it can still be used in the current battle (merciful against bosses) but not the next one. The Quick Fix panel allow you to restore the durability of unequipped weapons up to 20 but if you mess up, it lower it instead. The Recycle spell will raise the durability of equipped weapons up to 30. And finally, for a more durable option, you can forge weapons's durability up to 99 if you have access to the proper blacksmith. To put things in perspective, you use 5 attacks in a battle round, most attacks cost 1 durability, some cost 2 although they are worth the extra cost... usually.
  • Character Customization - And how!
  • Combos - Players and opponents alike can chain any attack to deal big damage. However, if an opponent break your combo, you will only use a level 1 attack.
    • However, if you start a combo off with a spell, you can usually perform 5 person combo, as spells have the slowest start time, and usually all the enemies will have taken a turn by then.
    • On the other end, ending a string of physical attacks with a spell allows you to line up surprisingly easily high level attacks.
  • Courier - There is the Carriers' Guild, which Ventus joins at the start of his scenario. Parts of his quest involve him making deliveries; in addition, he can take several optional Side Quests of this nature. While other characters can recruit him during their stories, they still can't access these special quests themselves.
  • Cursed with Awesome - Seriously, you don't have any excuse to not spark any Level 4 arts with Kurt with all the gauntlet battles thrown at him. Especially since the last one is against the monster with the highest spark rank in the game.
  • Cute Witch - Judy.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond - Mythe. The Silver Girl combines this with white hair.
  • Determinator - Ventus and Ruby.
  • Disk One Nuke - Guns and magic. Early in the game, they'll easily one shot most opponents. In the case of guns, all you need is a gun and a gun panel on your character, no tech are needed to be spaked. As for magic, it's not that it is bad in the end of the game but it will require more efforts than for physical attacks. But done well the result can be surprising.
  • Evolving Attack - Sometime, when using a basic physical attack, your character will "spark" a improved version of that attack which can be used again if you time the reel right to land on a higher level attack. For example, by using the Random Arrowshot which shoot a volley of arrow at the enemy group, you might eventually spark the Rain of Arrows attack or the Parashots attack which shoot homing energy shot at every opponent. To make it happen more easily, you fight stronger monsters which have an higher spark rank and equip weapon panels which make it easier to spark those attack and then much, much easier to land on a high level attack on the reel.
    • The same can be done with some spell if you have the Magic Blender Panel by using a specific spell as a base and then adding up other spells you know in the hope of getting something new. For example, Boulder can be upgraded into Pellet which is Boulder on steroids.
  • Fetch Quest - Armic's entire story is one big fetch quest. Poor little guy...
  • Final Death - It's a SaGa game. HP isn't important; lose all your LP and you lose that ally for good.
  • Flower Motifs - Concept art of the characters depict them standing next to reliefs of various species of flowers, which ostensibly is some form of clue to their basic personality.
    • These flower motifs also appear as the backgrounds on the maps they move on.
  • Fortune Teller - Sapphire and Ruby, though Ruby doesn't have her sister's talent for the art.
    • Actually, Sapphire points out that Ruby's powers are greater than hers. Ruby's flaws lie in her people skills.
  • Franchise Killer - Is it a coincidence we haven't seen any new SaGa games that aren't remakes since this one came out? Or that those remakes don't make any trips overseas?
  • Genki Girl - Ruby.
  • Giant Mook - Among them is a giant version of the level 1 beast monster and the giant version of the piranha monster.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere - The Final boss. His existence is never properly explained, nor is it ever spoken of during any of the endings. It simply appears. However, it is hinted through battle dialogue that it's either the ultimate form of the power of the Seven Wonders, (which is the most likely answer) or a physical manifestation of the universe itself. The fact that the battle takes place on the Twin Moons in space certainly supports that theory.
  • Global Currency Exception - Some places in the game like the Chappa village do not accept money and only barter items. Did a Dragonscale armor appeared in a shop in one of those place? Time to go do some shopping in others towns buying the most expensive stuff you can get your hands on to barter.
  • Guide Dang It - Forget finding everyone you can recruit during a given quest, or even just finishing one — though those usually require help, too — just try muddling through the Character Customization without having a clue what you're doing! Or, y'know, don't.
  • Handsome Lech - Mythe, before getting a gander at the Silver Girl's photo and switching to Single-Target Sexuality.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! - This marks the first (and so far, ONLY) time you'll hear the voice actors from ADV Films/Sentai Filmworks in a video game.
  • Homage - To Tabletop RPGs.
  • Insufferable Genius - Mythe
  • Ki Attacks - The Level 3 and 4 medium weight punch attack fire an energy beam at the enemy.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia - Thomas
  • Let's Play - imbiggy have made several of them here.
  • Luck-Based Mission - Again: The Reel System. And because reels are used for almost every aspect of the game, including levelling up, it's fair to say the entire game is this trope.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Whenever a Tabletop RPG player would have to roll a die, instead you press a button to stop a spinning reel, giving the player a greater degree of control over the outcome. Unfortunately, this also means that when you get a bad result, which will happen fairly often, it's now your own fault, which makes things even more frustrating.
  • Marathon Boss - The final battle. Also, the fight against the Knights of the Round Table. Taken Up to Eleven in the scenario of Mythe as he has then to take on the final boss afterward.
  • Masashi Hamauzu - His music was exceptionally good in places. Not that it could save this game from practically being a Franchise Killer.
  • Obvious Beta - The game wasn't playtested, which is obvious from all the new, innovative, and ridiculously clunky and awkward systems, the manual was not proofread at all, and the game gives off a general lack of polish in all areas.
  • One-Hit Kill - Some of the bow, dagger, and sword attacks do this, as well as a few rare spells. They work on a lot more enemies than you could imagine. And when such attacks are used against you... you only end up unable to act for a few turns.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Petting Zoo People - The Chapa.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse - Because the main requirement for using light martial arts is weight and that light martial art is extremely powerful, small characters who by extension also have smaller weight have an easier time to use it and become this.
  • Plant Person - Platyphyllum. Bonus points for having a high Wood stat growth and starting with lot of wood spells.
  • Scenery Porn - This series uses the same watercolor style as Saga Frontier 2 and Legend of Mana, and it's amazing/
  • Sequential Boss - In Laura's scenario, at some point you have to fight a bunch of mooks, then a dragon and finally Basil Ghaleos . In Ventus's scenario, you have to fight the Knight of the Round Table one by one and then their leader although you get a special item to help you get through it. Also, the final battle in everyone scenario involves their antagonist and then the four forms of Chaos. Mythe's quest take it Up to Eleven by having you having to fight the Knight of the Round Table, their leader and then Chaos.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang - Sapphire is serene and serious while younger sister Ruby is a energetic Plucky Girl.
  • Stuck Items - Once put, negative panels (Phobia, Pacifism and Seal) cannot be removed, only replaced by other negative panels. Some people use them anyway because of their stat boost. Kurt and Michelle have a Gauntlet Panel that can't be removed. In Mythe's scenario, Michelle get ridden of it.
  • Supporting Protagonist - Laura's story is told through the eyes of young Prince Henri.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement - In Laura's quest, you have at some point to collect the elemental gears , some of the best equipment you'll ever get in the game. Too bad that you don't get to keep them for the end of the game. Also, in Ventus's quest, at some point you eventually get Dragonheart which can be forged into a weapon that, while not that strong attack wise, have the effect of restoring your hps even if you're not in the back row.
  • The Four Gods - Actually, the Five Gods in this game. The bosses in Leith Torle's tower are based on them and among them the Black Turtle is a big pain.
    • Black Turtle's more of a Boss in Mook Clothing than anything else, actually. If you have Deflecting weapons, your'e good to go. Some Level 4 techs certainly don't hurt, either.
  • Theme Naming - Ruby and Sapphire are obvious examples; Ventus and Briza are wind-based...
  • The Reveal - At the end of Armic scenario, we learn that he is actually a father. That fact makes the encounter with Rebecca a bit funny.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball - It is never exactly stated which of the seven stories are canon, and which are "What If?" stories; which is annoying, as you can recruit other main characters in other stories. The developers recommend using Laura as your first character, so her's is most likely the main one.
    • On that note, they never gave the game a timeline, either.
    • The only thing closest to Canon would be that manga of Ruby's story that was made as promo material for the game in Japan.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You - Sometimes though, letting your main character hide in the back row is an option.

Alternative Title(s):

Unlimited Saga