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    SaGa Emerald Beyond – Tips to Get You Started

    Follow the Emerald Wave into the great Beyond. I'll be there to help ;)

    SaGa Emerald Beyond is the newest entry in the SaGa series and it’s a grand ‘ol time. Don’t believe me? Check out my Review. Anyway, while the game is great and (quoting my review) the “most easily accessible SaGa game” it also hits some expected snags when it comes to beginners. Oh, the rest of my quote from the review is “while still having nigh impenetrable barriers surrounding its appeal.” Yep. That makes sense. These games are great but don’t always emphasize what’s really important to their gameplay loops. Even JRPG junkies like myself have to jump through some hoops to get into SaGa. Read our SaGa Emerald Beyond Tips Guide to help you get started!

    Choosing a Protagonist

    SaGa: Emerald Beyond Protagonists

    Selecting a protagonist doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, especially if you intend to play multiple characters. Pick the character that appeals to you most! I will say that Tsunanori’s chapter is pretty beginner-friendly and I hear Ameya’s is as well. As a note, content can change between playthroughs. The game is truly more about the journey, so don’t fret at all about who you play first. Or next! There’s even value in replaying the same character multiple times!

    Tsunanori is who I played as first, and his story was wrapped in under 10 hours while offering me a suitable challenge as I learned the game’s mechanics. Tsunanori is probably the most popular choice, as his story completion trophy has the highest acquirement rate compared to the other protags. The beginning of his story even changed a little upon a replay…

    Following the Emerald Wave and Making Decisions

    The Emerald Wave is basically an objective marker. You can ‘Scan’ new areas to activate it. The green lines/doors represent Story Progression, blue represents Side Objectives, and red represents Extra Battles. Sometimes you have to complete other objectives to get on track to the main objective. Not to mention, the game is a sprawling web of decisions. Every interaction, battle, and side story can change the outcome of what comes next. Even replays contain vastly different content from time to time! Mess around and find out!

    Making Proper Combat Preparations

    Preparation is half the battle. It would help if you kept your party as up-to-date as possible to consistently succeed in battle. You need a good balance of Techs at your disposal along with good gear. I also recommend selecting a formation that offers bonuses that match your playstyle. I liked the combo-oriented ones since they reduce BP costs, allowing me to be flexible. 

    Enhancing your armaments is beyond vital. You can get nice gear upgrades or flat-out new equipment. This allows you to get even more experimental with your builds. Some of the accessories and weapons you can craft will come with new Techs or even offer buffs/stat gains that can drastically improve the usability of certain characters. Don’t be afraid to experiment either! There are more than enough opportunities to get generic gear to upgrade, as item drops and item trading offer you more than enough supply. 

    Item trading is super important as there are no shops or money. You have to barter and battle to get new materials and items. You can access this feature part way into your first playthrough from a washing machine in at the Junction. Then you can easily access it from your menu anytime, anyplace! Keep checking back to trade as often as possible. The sooner you diversify your assets the sooner you can create powerful gear.

    Battling Like a Pro

    Don’t let the deceptively simple inputs and presentation fool you! This battle system can get real hardcore real quick. There’s turn manipulation, combos, super attacks, guarding, interrupting, and more. Don’t get cocky about all of these mechanics at your disposal either, since your foes have the same capabilities!

    The basics of the battle system involve spending your BP to use Techs. Techs will have timeline segments that can link together in various ways. If the segments are green and link together with another character, then you can perform a combo attack. Some Techs have grayed out segments which means that they can not be a combo link. Certain Techs can also have a clear segment, which means that it can link into a combo or attack as an additional link. 

    Combos are so important because they can lead you to dole out as much damage as possible. if you get over 150% Combo Rate during a combo you have a random chance at restarting the combo. A Combo Rate of 200% or greater guarantees that you will start another combo. With proper planning and some luck, you can create HUGE combos while decimating your foes. If enemy timeline links separate your allies, you can use certain tactics to still achieve a combo. Different Techs can move a character’s turn to an earlier or later timeline segment. Defeating enemies or using techs that delay their turns is also a viable way of linking your party together. There are even Techs that can interrupt foes or chain together with allies. Be sure to read your Tech descriptions and test them out!

    Last but not least, let’s talk Showstoppers. When a character (friend or foe) has at least 2 empty timeline segments on either side of them they can use several attacks in a row. A showstopper can spell the difference between victory and defeat. An ill-timed showstopper from a monster can destroy your party while a well-timed Showstopper from a party member can clutch a fight when you need it most. 

    Moving on to the Next Story

    SaGa Emerald Beyond - PS4 Screenshot

    After you clear a story you can start another one! You get the option of starting fresh or carrying over certain things from your previous playthrough.

    If you’re replaying a character, I recommend carrying everything over, as it lets you keep building that character from where you left off. If you’re starting a new character DO NOT CARRY OVER YOUR BATTLE RANK. Well, unless you really love a challenge. I say this because that option is balanced for replaying the same character and not starting a new character. The director even tweeted about it!

    I also recommend just carrying over everything when you do replays or new stories. This lets you keep building up your gear, items, challenges, and stats. There is a trophy locked behind maxing out a stat, too. Plus, it’s satisfying to continually build characters up. Then you can more easily tackle the hardcore and thrilling higher battle ranks. 

    Payne Grist
    Payne Grist
    Payne is a huge fan of JRPGs. SQUARE ENIX owns his heart, especially their 'FINAL FANTASY' series. He is currently studying various mediums of art and Japanese.

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