- Estimated trophy difficulty: 7/10 (personal estimate) (Trophy Difficulty Rating)
- Offline trophies: 43 (32, 7, 3, 1)
- Online trophies: 0
- Approximate amount of time to platinum: 50-100 hours, depends heavily on number of playthroughs (personal estimate) (Estimated Time to Platinum)
- Minimum number of playthroughs: 2
- Number of missable trophies: technically 0 thanks to a very friendly NG+ system, but 2 trophies have tricky prerequisites and in that sense are very missable (see Other Legend and Successor)
- Glitched trophies: 0
- Does difficulty affect trophies?: N/A
- Do trophies stack?: No
- Do cheat codes disable trophies?: N/A
- Additional peripherals required?: None
Welcome to the wonderful world of Romancing SaGa 2! Many consider the SaGa series the "black sheep" of Square Enix franchises. And for good reason: the mechanics are strange, the stories are presented in non-traditional, non-linear ways, and you'll often feel lost and/or punished for making what seemed like decent decision-making in your mind. It's not for the faint of heart, but with some grit (and a walkthrough), this JRPG can be conquered without too much of a headache.
Before moving forward, some basic tips for getting started with your first playthrough:
1) When you start a new game, you'll be prompted as to whether or not you want to use additional content. The answer is yes. Always yes. There are trophies that you can only get with the content, and there is no trophy that is made harder to get by including the additional content.
2) Though "grinding" technically makes the game harder (at certain battle counts, standard enemies and bosses upgrade HP and stats significantly), you should use your first playthrough to fight a lot of battles. When all is said and done, you will need to fight approximately 2000 battles in a single playthrough. This is specifically for a grind-heavy trophy, Great Tree of Avalon. You'll need to build the orchard and upgrade it twice at the right times, but otherwise, the only way the tree grows is by battle counter. While you do this, you can max out combat and (more importantly) magic skills so you're set to go for your NG+ run.
3) Try not to get too attached to any one character: this is a "generations" game (see also SaGa Frontier 2). The good news is that some stats, some learned skills, inventory, and your money will carry not only from one generation to the next, but even into NG+. There is a hidden statistic known among the community as your "global stats" -- when you start a new emperor, unless that emperor has a natural stat boost for a certain combat or magic skill, the number for that combat/magic skill at start plus 5-7 points is your global skill level.
4) If you feel like you screwed up and need to start over, you do not have to finish the game first! You can start a NG+ at any time! Just start a new game, and the game will ask if you want to carry data from a previous save: that save file can be any file you currently have. Again, what is carried over -- global stats, learned skills (minus combined magic, which you'll have to pay to learn again), inventory, and money. Some key items in your inventory (Bard instruments, Mermaid Potion, etc) do not carry over. All equipment does carry over, which means you can get multiple pieces of ultimate equipment (such as Sevens Sword/Armor).
5) Unlike many other SaGa games, Romancing SaGa 2 does *not* have combos to learn. So you'll be relying on your five individuals to deal out the most damage, buffs/debuffs, and heals as they can individually. Instead of having combos, there is a strong emphasis on Formation. Each emperor/empress class (almost all) has a unique Formation that can be learned by talking to an NPC on the first floor of Avalon Castle. There is also a special (and very useful) Formation that gives attack and speed boost to the whole party called "Goblin Formation," that you learn in the additional content "Maze of Memory" by defeating the Goblins in the green-orb dungeon and taking a scroll back to the Avalon NPC.
6) There are lots of menus, but one very important place you'll want to keep track of is when you hit , and then , which brings up a list of events completed in the game's 15 tracked zones (North Varennes being the starting area, in the northwest corner of the map). This guide will sometimes refer to those completed events, as they generally act as flags for opening access to or actively starting further events.
Finally, take note of the save slots. You have four save files; use them wisely. There will be many times you'll want to keep safety/backup saves, and other times that you will intentionally take forked paths to pick up as many trophies as possible in a single playthrough. Note also the Quicksave slot at the bottom. This is an auto-save that updates after every time you enter a new room or complete a battle. Given that the game is prone to the occasional crash, Quicksave is a very welcome addition! Remember, if you load a regular save file, that will overwrite the Quicksave, so if you're returning from a crash or an intentional reset after losing a battle, remember that you want to load that Quicksave file!
WeekendRisktaker's Walkthrough on GameFAQs -- To date, this FAQ, first written in 2002 based on the Japanese Super Famicom original version and using common fan-translation names of areas, items, skills, etc, is the most comprehensive English-language guide to the game. Obviously it does not cover the additional content (Maze of Memory, Orchard), but it provides information on specific scenarios at a far greater depth than this guide goes, as many of those details are not germane to achieving the Platinum Trophy. But if you're struggling to get your head around the game, or you're just stuck and don't know what to do in a certain town or dungeon, this guide probably has your answer.
Romancing SaGa 2 Official Digital Manual -- Though no manual comes directly with this digital-only game, Square Enix did take the time to publish a digital manual on the game's official site. If you're completely unfamiliar to the entire SaGa franchise, this is a great place to learn some of the basics about important features like LP, skill progression, character classes, and more.
Step 1: First Half of First Run (up to Comroon Volcano pt. 2 split)
The game offers you a helping hand at its beginning. The first two trophies are part of what we may consider the "tutorial" scenario, which covers years 1000 to 1003. Just play the game, and you will receive:
At this point, you've taken control of Gerard and have your first taste of non-linear progression. Your options are to work south through Nibel (South Varennes), Ludon, and (Northern) Nazelle, where they Saigo live; or, proceed directly toward the goal given to you and take on the Canal Fortress in South Varennes. In your first playthrough, a direct encounter with the Canal Fortress is very challenging. Fortunately, there is another, far better way to go, and it nets you one of approximately 20 "recruitment" trophies. For this walkthrough, I recommend you start by focusing on the Canal Fortress by taking the alternete route.
That route is to befriend your friendly neighborhood burglar. For this step, follow the trophy guide below for the "City Thief" trophy. Once you're done, you'll likely advance a generation, and unlock a whole bunch of opportunities.
Now that you've had a generation leap, you get to build your first party. You'll start by getting to choose one of four options for your next Emperor/Empress. Different classes offer different bonuses, and some allow you to learn new formations from the formation-leader in the first floor of the castle. You can learn more about all of this, as well as who to put in your new party, in the GameFAQs guide. At this point, you can also put the equivalent of Cat, and/or the Thieves' Guild leader, into your party, alongside the standard people in the castle. Eventually, near endgame, you'll have the option to expand your city so that all the recruitable characters can be conveniently added to your party in one spot, instead of traveling the world to their various home points to add them.
More importantly, immediately after you select your next-gen Emp, one of your aides will approach you and you'll be given the option to build a Magic Research Laboratory (1,000,000 crowns) and an Orchard (300,000 crowns). I hope you opened all those treasure chests! If you did, you can afford to start building these now. That's important! Once you start building them, it will take a few events completed that we call "black-screen" events (because the screen fades to black and returns you to Avalon afterwards) for time to pass. However, this won't necessarily force a generation change: there's actually a simple algorithm for that, with point values assigned to each event in the game. So, as you complete events, be sure to speak with your info-gatherer. Once the Laboratory is finished you will unlock:
Now, following instructions in the specific trophies below to make sure you do not accidentally lock yourself out of clearing a province or recruiting a character, you should be able to clear the following before the second Comroon Volcano scenario (which includes a critical fork in the road):
Mastermind of War
Martial Art Expert
Friend of Mus
Knight of Cumberland
Step 2: Second Half of First Run (including orchard grindfest)
Once you have completed enough quests (both Hero and non-Hero), you will unlock some late-game quests, such as the Sunken Ship and Comroon Volcano 2. The prerequisite for Comroon Volcano 2, of course, is Comroon Volcano 1. For this, you will have gone to Comroon, found out the volcano is about to erupt, then collect an ice crystal from the Seer and throw it into the volcano. After a few generations, you'll get news from your information-gatherer NPC that the volcano is acting up again.
When you head to Comroon, every time you talk to an NPC in the main town, the screen will shake. The townspeople are convinced it's an earthquake and can't possibly be related to the volcano since your magic ice crystal made it go dormant. Now, head to Zemio and talk to the leader of the Salamander tribe. They ask you to evacuate the townspeople, because the volcano's pressure has been building (thanks to the ice seal your ancestor put there hundreds of years ago) and when it blows it's going to destroy everything. You ask about the Salamanders, and they're all like, "we're not going anywhere." They're going down with the ship, apparently.
Head to the town and warn the humans. They'll run off, as predicted. Return to Zemio. When you do, create a safety save here, because one of two things is going to happen. If you wish to recruit the Salamanders, you talk to the Salamander leader again. He'll give you a hammer and say "do your best if you want to save us." Then head to the volcano, run to the top, and fight ... a pile of rocks? This fight can be challenging, because an infinite number of enemies charge at you (max of three on the screen), so it can be helpful to have some strong AoE attacks (Falling Arrows, Galactic Rift) or distance attacks that can skip the mobs and hit the rocks. Once you've done enough damage to the rocks, the volcano does not super-erupt, but instead lets out its normal stream of lava.
Now, return to Zemio (if a stone boat isn't there, go get another one from Salamat and return), and talk to the Salamander again. You will get a black-screen transition and this trophy:
Lizard of Volcano Island
At this point, if you know this is the path you want to take, make a separate save and re-load your safety save. Otherwise, don't save at all, and just load that safety save.
This time, instead of talking to the salamander again, just go back to the human town. You'll get a cut scene where fiery madness rains down on everything. Afterwards, check the map of the Comroon province, and you'll see a new destination has appeared! Go there. It's a dungeon, albeit a short one. When you get to the end, you find an ancient tome with secret magic. You take it, but as you go to leave, the Seer confronts you. He explains that all this time, his evil plan was to have your ancestor block the volcano, then when it super-exploded, this land mass would rise from the sea, and then he'd gain access to this magic tome that he'd been searching for. He offers you a trade: you can have all the other treasures in the room, just let him have the book. That's a great way to not get any trophies. So tell him the deal's off, and he'll get angry and attack. He's not a difficult boss by any measure.
After you've defeated him, return to Avalon. When you go to the Magic Research Laboratory, you'll notice that talking to the Cosmology NPCs is a bad idea. They want you to throw away the book because it's evil. But, if you take it to the NPCs in any of the four elemental rooms, they're like "ooh! Shiny new book!"
After that, without anyone telling you, there is now a secret magic tower built east of the Laboratory. If you exit the laboratory, you'll notice a one-tile-wide path to the west and east in the grass. Head east, and you'll run under the tree line and BAM! Tower for Dark Magic research. Go learn some Dark Magic, my friend!
Again, no matter what you choose in this fork, it will not affect progress towards the other trophies. A lot of people like Dark Magic. Personally, I never used it, and I was happy to have the Salamander on board, even though I never really used him either.
Now then, if you have access to Comroon 2, you should also have access to Sunken Ship and a whole bunch of other near-endgame stuff. Which means you'll next be collecting the following trophies:
Self-Aware Automaton (note the conditions in the trophy description below)
Friend of the Sea
Ruler of the Sea
Leader of the Seven Heroes
And at this point, you'll have reached endgame, which means you are the Final Emperor/Empress, which also means...
There are a few things you should do before heading to NG+. First is the horrible grind to finish the orchard. You can read the details below. Many hours later, congrats, you got:
Great Tree of Avalon
Next, if you followed this guide properly and added all possible provinces and recruited characters (save Salamander, he's optional), you should have the opportunity to do the friendly duel with ghost-Victor. Some helpful tips are found in the trophy guide below for him. Clear that and you get:
All that's left for now is to complete the game. If you wanted to, you could clear the four Maze of Memory Dragons and attempt the Dread Queen, but we're going to save that for NG+. So go ahead and beat the game! After the credits are done rolling, you'll get:
Hero of Legend
First, if you missed any of the above trophies in your first playthrough, use NG+ to pick them up. You may be able to pick them up as part of the Other Legend route, or you may not. It depends on which trophy you need. If you need to do a third run, so be it.
You can take care of Dread Queen at any time during your NG+ run. The entire Maze of Memory operates outside the time/generation points system of the main game (it is, essentially the game's "Additional Content" that you select at the beginning of each game). The Maze of Memory is found in South Longit, but the map icon for it does not appear until you talk to an NPC in Mobelm (who is always there) along the southern row of docks, standing on a dock west of center, with no boat by him. Once you talk to that guy, and have found a path to South Longit, you can go to the Maze.
Completing the four mazes will net you the following:
Those bosses are pushovers, mostly because you have access to Hasten Time! The next boss, however, is immune to Hasten Time. So you'll want to pay attention to the strategies in the trophy guide below. Once you're ready, head to that sandy-colored orb in Maze of Memory's lobby area, and prepare to take on the hardest enemy in the game: The Dread Queen. Win, and you will be presented with:
All that's left now is arguably the hardest trophy in the game: Other Legend. This requires a very specific route of the game that tricks the game into bypassing the flag that forces you into becoming the Final Emperor/Empress. All of the details are in the trophy guide below. Should you succeed, you'll get:
[PST would like to thank pgann for this Roadmap]