Unlimited Saga (アンリミテッド: サガ, Anrimiteddo: Saga) is a Squaresoft RPG for the PlayStation 2, and the ninth game in the SaGa series. Originally released in Japan in December 2002, the game was later made available for North American players in June 2003 and in Europe the following October.
Breaking from tradition, it is notable for being the first game in the series to have "Saga" (with a lower case "G") in the title, as opposed to "SaGa".
The game features seven protagonists to choose from:
- Mythe - The assistant of a famous inventor, who falls in love with a silver haired girl he sees on a painting.
- Judy - The youngest member of a family of wizards. She must save her family.
- Armic - A member of the Chapa tribe, sent on a quest to gather ingredients for a ceremony to summon rain.
While all characters have their own storyline, they do encounter each other during their adventures. One of the main elements which connects all stories is the legend of Iskandar and The Seven Wonders. The characters tend to stumble across each other at the Festival of Regina Leone in Vaftom, however, some join another main character's party at other points in the different scenarios.
Aside from the main cast, the game features many recruitable characters, of which some are random encounters who just decide to join, and others are integrated into the character's plot. However, all characters are present in two scenarios, hence when playing the game with a different character, you will unavoidably see both new and old faces. Each main character scenario has nine playable characters of which you'll have to later pick only seven to take on each adventure. There is, however, an exception to this rule: the character of Iskandar is present in only Ruby's scenario, mainly due to his integral link to the plot.
Some of the characters are also split among other scenarios in specific ways. Each main character has another main character to recruit, with the exception of Laura and Armic; Laura has both Judy and Armic, while Armic can recruit no additional main characters. In Judy's Scenario, the player is able to recruit her entire family, but in all other scenarios the family is split: Judy is in Laura's scenario, her father is in Ventus' scenario, her mother in Armic's, her brother in Ruby's, her sister in Mythe's and her grandpa in Kurt's.
Unlimited Saga was highly experimental and featured a lot of concepts and idea which seemed new even to fans of the SaGa series, moreso to people who never had connection with other titles.
- LP - The Life Point system returns once again, however in this case it's even more important than in other SaGa games.
- Growth Panel - A character developement system where the character would gain one new panel after each quest. Panels allow characters to use weapons, perform actions in dungeons or buy, sell & craft items.
- Reel System - During battle the level and strength of a command you use is determined by a roulette style machine. Performing certain actions in dungeons also requires the Reel.
- Board game - During navigation in fields and dungeons, the character is represented by a silver figure able to move on the map, field by field, turn by turn.
- Blacksmith - The ability to create, repair and modify a character's equipment in certain towns.
- Arts & Spells - The attacks you can use in battle. Stronger Arts are unlocked by using others repeatedly in battle.
- Carrier System - A unique gameplay element for Ventus only, offering an infinite number of quests delivering objects from one city to another, thereby supplying Ventus and his team with multiple opportunities to earn money and learn new abilities much more easily than in other characters' stories.
AudioThe game's soundtrack consists of 58 songs spanning two discs. It was released on January 22, 2003. It was composed by Masashi Hamauzu, while synthesizer programming was done by Ryo Yamazaki. The two previously collaborated on the soundtrack for SaGa Frontier 2 after the departure of previous series composer Kenji Ito, who later returned as main composer for Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song while Hamauzu was appointed to Sigma Harmonics and Final Fantasy XIII among the others. Because the game uses streaming audio, it was possible for the sound team to use real acoustic instrument sounds in place of a synthesizer. Live recording of chamber ensembles of tracks such as "Feel Uneasy About the Wonders" and "Battle Theme IV" pitted solo instruments against one another to create what Hamauzu considered a Latin sound.
While the first CD features more classical-oriented, emotional character and town themes, the second disc concentrates on techno-driven, jazzy battle and dungeon themes. The ending vocal piece "Soaring Wings" was written specifically for singer Mio Kashiwabara.
The limited JP edition of the game also included a promotional Unlimited Saga Maxi Single CD (left), containing three songs extracted from the OST: "Ouverture", "Battle Theme I" and "Soaring Wings".