- Estimated trophy difficulty: 9/10 (personal estimate) (Trophy Difficulty Rating)
- Offline trophies: 57 (49, 6, 1, 1)
- Online trophies: 0
- Approximate amount of time to platinum: 150+ hours (Estimated Time to Platinum)
- Minimum number of playthroughs: 5 (expect to do 6)
- Number of missable trophies: technically 0 with NG+ and multiple playthroughs necessary, but 2 are tricky enough to warrant the label "missable" (Can Never Have Too Many Friends, Scarlet Fever)
- Glitched trophies: 0
- Does difficulty affect trophies?: No
- Do trophies stack?: No
- Do cheat codes disable trophies?: No cheats available.
- Additional peripherals required?: None
After bringing HD ports of two previously-unreleased classic SaGa titles to English-speaking territories (Romancing SaGa 2 and 3, originally for Super Famicom), Square Enix pulled through by releasing the 10th major title in the SaGa franchise, two years after its debut. The debut version of this game, simply titled "SaGa Scarlet Grace," was a PSVita exclusive released in 2017. The "Ambitions" version, available on PS4 and other platforms, was localized for English-speaking audiences (as well as many other regions) and published in December 2019. The "Ambitions" re-issue also features new content and a lot of fine-tuning to the game's design and mechanics.
If you're coming to this guide before starting this game, you are the ideal candidate for using the Road Map below. If you are already in the middle of your journey through this epic SaGa, you may be better served by skipping to individual trophy guide descriptions. If you know nothing about the game, and perhaps have not even purchased it yet, but are considering getting it and doing a Platinum Trophy run, be warned! This can be a very difficult challenge. Below are some important parameters to consider:
1) The minimum number of playthroughs to get the platinum trophy is 5. It is certainly, and most easily proven, to be 5. It is likely, however, that you will run 6 or more times, because missing the smallest item could result in the need for an entirely separate playthrough. Recruiting all characters and spawning/defeating the Scarlet Fiends is a route not easily optimized, so prepare to build up many endgame parties.
2) You may be thinking, "it can't be that bad, going through multiple playthroughs if you have New Game+, right?" Wrong. What carries from one cleared game to the next is unlocked in two steps. After your first playthrough, you unlock a "fast battle" and "fast world travel" mode, and you carry over information (cleared text boxes about enemies, techs, tips, etc). A hidden "trophy progress" status also carries over, and this is obviously important for things like the character recruitment trophy. Additionally, your party and all recruited characters carry over techs/incantations learned (and ranks), defeat status of Scarlet Fiends (incl. Inferna/Celesta Quintstones in inventory), roles, formations, Benisons assigned to those formations, and development materials. The second and third clears appear to add nothing new to the list of carry-overs. After the fourth clear (so long as you've cleared all four protagonists, no double-dipping), you unlock the ability to carry over all equipment and your Smithy rank is maintained. Things that never ever carry over? HP, weapon levels, and magic levels. Thus, every time you start a new game, you will still be grinding through battles, though the game becomes significantly easier in playthroughs 5+ with all of that endgame equipment available in your inventory.
3) If you're about to start the game, or wondering how the game functions in terms of story progression: basically, there are four story arcs or "scenarios" in this game. Among the fan community they are referred to as the Sigfrei arc, the Phoenix arc, the Earth Serpent (or Savnok) arc, and the Scarlet Shards arc. Each character will be exposed to three of those four scenarios per playthrough, and you secretly have a choice in a lot of how that plays out. For the female characters Urpina and Taria, they have "discrete" first chapters with no overlap. Urpina completes Earth Serpent first, Taria completes Phoenix first. Then, for those characters' second and third chapters, you are able to select them at the beginning of the next chapter by wandering away from their home province and finding the start of one of the other chapters occurring. Should you not get the chapter you want, load from the previous save and walk to another province and see what happens. Much of the optimal routing involves getting these chapters right for Taria and Urpina. As for Balmaint and Leonard, they have two variants of what I would call a "continuous" chapter system. Balmaint's full story centers around Sigfrei, but there are two built-in "intermission" times to complete any of other common chapters: again, limiting him to two of the three. As for Leonard, his main story arc is the Scarlet Shards, and unlike Balmaint, there are no intermissions. Leonard will run into the Earth Serpent and can defeat him in a simple form, same with the Phoenix. He also has interactions with Sigfrei in some provinces, but not with any resolution. All this to say: the levels of complexity here are definitely helping SaGa Scarlet Grace live up to the infamy of other SaGa titles.
4) As with most other SaGa titles, new skills are learned by "sparking" or "glimmering" them. A lightbulb appears over the person's head when they, for no apparent reason, learn a new skill. Of course, there are methods behind the madness, various calculations and algorithms to determine the likelihood of sparking new techs as you go. The "rank" system for each tech rewards players for re-using the same tech, lowering the cost to use it in battle.
5) There is a difficulty-setting option in the main menu which can be changed at any time and has no effect on trophies you earn. However, the easy difficulty ("Weak") does not make the game much easier, though the hard difficulty is noticeably harder. Throughout the game, all enemies scale their levels to yours, with a handful of exceptions (the arena, the Scarlet Fiends, the hidden Celestial battles, and the final boss).
6) There is absolutely no currency in this game. Instead, equipment upgrade occurs through use of elemental ore and specialized items to be used at blacksmiths. As for character healing, all characters return to max HP after combat, but they do have an LP counter like in other SaGa games. When LP reaches 0, they do not experience perma-death ... instead, they remain unusable for a certain number of battles (typically 10). LP can be restored at certain towns, at the cost of half your total accrued ore of the element associated with the character you are healing. Hot Springs and other special events also exist as rare LP-healing opportunities.
7) Above, I stated that you should expect to sink 150 hours or more into this game. In my view, this is a very kind estimate, and assumes 5 very streamlined runs through the game. Given that I had to find my way on my own, I will state that my time in-game surpassed 1000 hours and took place over 8 full plays, plus a few backtracks and abandoned NG+ runs. Hopefully this gives you a sense of what you're up against.
Finally, take note of the save slots. You have 20 save files; use them wisely. You also have an autosave, which is incredibly helpful in the face of a game crash, power outage, or stupid decision that you immediately recognize as being stupid. The autosave activates whenever changing provinces, entering/exiting towns, completing cut scenes, entering battles, etc. Basically, whenever you make some kind of change or progress to the game, autosave kicks in.
Supplemental guide: 100% Platinum Walkthrough -- The below road map gives you a general flow for the most optimized route. For specific details, including actions to be taken during chapters and characters to be recruited in each playthrough, use this supplemental guide.
Supplemental guide: character recruitment -- A specialized guide for recruiting every character in the game. I developed this specifically to help with the road map; be sure to save a copy to check off characters as you recruit them, or print the printer-friendly version and mark them off with a pen as you go. Nothing in the game tracks this openly for you, it's all hidden in your save data, so you're going to want to keep track of this for your sanity.
Supplemental guide: Techs and incantations -- Another table I developed just for this guide. Though not nearly as frustrating as character recruitment, keeping track of every weapon and magic skill you have used can be quite the burden. You may also find yourself asking, "what am I missing?" or "how do I unlock this tech?" Hopefully this guide will help.
Supplemental guide: Benisons -- Though most players will achieve the trophy associated with collecting all 12 Benisons by accident, there is a chance that you could go through 3, even 4 playthroughs and still be missing one or two of them. For guidance on how to increase your chances of making an exact Benison that you've missed appear mid-battle, this guide should help.
Supplemental guide: The Scarlet Fiends -- You may have seen trophies about Inferna Quintstones, Celesta Quintstones, and beating the Firebringer in his ultimate/true form. To make all of that happen, you are going to have to keep track of your progress with the Scarlet Fiends (or start from scratch after pulling your hair out). This digital-friendly and printer-friendly table has all the information you need to locate, spawn, and defeat the 20 Scarlet Fiends in their easy (Inferna) and hard (Celesta) forms.
Kamikouryaku (God Gamer) Japanese database -- If you know the language, or you don't mind utilizing an in-browser translate function, this is an incredible tool to have at your disposal. When I got stuck, which was often, this was my go-to for understanding this game in the finest detail. This game database got started with the Japanese-only PSVita release in 2017, giving the Japanese gaming community plenty of time to amass information and test theories. The site has also been updated significantly for the "Ambitions" version release on PS4, Switch, PC, etc.
Datamine (PC version) -- Fans playing the game on PC utilized tools to dump loads of information from the game into a series of Spreadsheets, and they have been sorting it into worthwhile tables for months. They even used Character data to develop a helpful character recruitment table that utilizes a simple key/legend to show which characters are available for recruitment for which protagonists. If you're looking for information, and you can't find it in this trophy guide or in the Kamikouryaku database, you can be sure to find it here.
Step 0: Knowing what not to write home about
If you are serious about going on this journey, you should know that there are a whole lot of "gimme" trophies that you are almost certain to obtain across the five required playthroughs. I am going to list them here. If you are nervous about these trophies, or wondering why you do not have them yet, refer to the trophy guide further below. Otherwise, just put these trophies aside and focus on the specified, optimized routing in the next five steps.
The "gimme" trophies are:
A New Ally
Rout the Louts
All for One
A Legend in Your Own Right
United We Stand
Wait Your Turn!
Float like a Butterfly...
Favored by the Celestials
One among Many
Where to Next?
Step 1: Off with his head! (Balmaint)
For specific details on how to complete Balmaint's playthrough to pick up the right characters and nab the trophies below, do be sure to follow this 100% Platinum Walkthrough, which provides in-depth information.
Generally, in this playthrough Balmaint will be recruiting as many characters as possible while taking the Scarlet Shards route for ch.2 and Earth Serpent for ch.3. He will also pick up all five elemental weapons and do the partner "event" quests for the other three characters. Once complete, you will obtain:
Protecting House Julanius
Nature vs. Nurture
Wet Behind the Ears
To Catch the Prey
The Floor Is Lava
Fire and Brimstone
A Second Fall
Wait. HOW Many?
To the Victor Go the Spoils
Armaments for All!
A New Mage Rises
Good Fortune, Witch Hunters!
On Wings of Wax
...We're Going Home
Step 2: Pretty-boy protagonists hunting Scarlet Fiends (Leonard)
For this playthrough, you will find that Leonard eschews the "chapter" system entirely. He is dead set on those Scarlet Shards, and the other scenarios come and go like ordinary side quests. In fact, you can technically push for the end-game scenario to occur rather quickly; however, to obtain as many trophies and characters as possible, you'll want to milk the Leonard run for all its worth. This, in fact, is exactly what is called for in the 100% Platinum Walkthrough.
In completing Leonard's scenario, you should earn:
Behind the Scenes
The Movable Object
A New Warrior Rises
Step 3: Stepmother knows best (Urpina)
For our third run, we're going with Urpina. Load your clear game data from Leonard, select Urpina, and you'll see the new game + options appear. Anything that's default set to "No," be sure to switch to "Yes," and continue onwards!
As an overview, know that this is the first of two runs for Urpina. For this run, we will do chapter 1 Earth Serpent (this is default and cannot be changed), chapter 2 Sigfrei, and chapter 3 Scarlet Shards. We will be keeping Antonius alive; this split in the plot creates a rift in which characters can be recruited, and is the reason why Urpina must be played through twice.
For additional details on how to handle this playthrough for ideal character and trophy acquirement, be sure to use the 100% Platinum Walkthrough. By the end of this playthrough, you'll have made substantial progress toward the character and scarlet fiend trophies, as well as:
Step 4: Let's do the pottery warp again (Taria)
Taria's run is the shortest of the playthroughs in this guide. You will grab a handful of unique recruits for her path and finish off the final boss in a relatively low-level state, and that's not a problem. For this run, the route is Phoenix ch.1 (by default), Scarlet Shards ch.2, Earth Serpent ch.3. For more details, check the 100% Platinum Walkthrough.
Once complete, you will earn:
Four People, Four Paths
Step 5: The royal family, part deux (Urpina again)
It's the final run. We use Urpina again to pick up the last few characters, and then power-level her to finish off the Scarlet Fiends and the True Firebringer. For this run, the path is Earth Serpent ch.1 (by default), Scarlet Shards ch.2, Phoenix ch.3. During ch.1, you must let Antonius die this time to recruit a different set of characters.
This is also the clean-up run to finish out any of the other cumulative trophies. Follow the 100% Platinum Walkthrough for extra guidance. Once you are done:
Always in Our Thoughts
Can Never Have Too Many Friends
Pack It Up...
Trial by Fire
[PST Would Like to Thank pgann for this Roadmap]