What's the deal with SaGa Frontier?

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SaGa Frontier is a game I started playing through, recently. Despite some very confusing design choices and obviously rushed/unfinished questlines, I'm in love with this quirky little game. Unfortunately, as great is it is, it doesn't make any effort to teach you how to play it, and in a game with mechanics as unusual as Frontier's, that's a death sentence when it comes to accessibility.

Fear not, however! Having (mostly) pieced together what everything does via a combination of experimentation and reading various materials online (including the game's manual!), I can sum up the parts that most people get confused. Take note that this is NOT an in-depth FAQ. This is just what most people would appreciate knowing before going in.

What the heck do these stats do?

Where is the EXP?

You don't level up in the usual sense in this game; character advancement works differently for each of the four character races.

What do all these races do?

  1. The enemy takes a little damage, and if it kills them, they get absorbed.
  2. The enemy is instantly absorbed, but takes no damage.
  3. The enemy instantly dies, but isn't absorbed.

How do I manage skills?

Pretty simple. For humans and mystics, you can't learn new skills while all your skill slots are full, so you'll want to store the ones you aren't using in your inventory. To do this, select a skill, and move it over to "Seal".

Who do I pick first?

For first-time players, picking the right scenario is a key part of making a good first impression in this game. Now, if you have the time and patience to try each scenario for a few minutes and go forward with the ones you like best, that's perfectly fine, but those of you who want to do it one at a time, here's a list of characters in descending order of reccomendation and level of finishedness.

Misc. Tips

Save early, and save often! Press Triangle and R2 to do a Quick Save before you try anything.

While Light and Shadow are the kinds of magic you can get the earliest, I recommend planning ahead for who you want to know which magic.

Remember that you can recruit Silence in the Shadow Trial, so do that one first if you want him!