Mustache Double-Teaming!
Dopply Causes More Trouble

This is going to be a short entry this time, as there aren't a lot of screenshots left to make a post with before I get more from the Vita and upload more, but I want to get this little substory out of the way now, because I'll likely forget about it by the next time I upload caps, and I really want to make sure it's included.

Because this time, we get TWO mustaches for the price of one!

So, Liz and Leo decided to travel away from the southeast border area and head north through the town of Nekwa. Nekwa connects to the south side of Rhonicum, which is the place where we have a doppelganger running around and we met Urpina. And no, I don't remember the names of all these places, either. I had to go look up the old post about this place lol. I mean, I can check them on the world map and stuff when I'm playing, and I do remember some (like Gladion is 'baby place' and Megdasse was the first place I went and stuff XD) but I don't have them all memorized, and when I'm making these posts, I haven't seen the world map in a while so it's like... who knows what these places are called. Plus the spellings seem to be like... a jumbled assortment of letters only vaguely resembling how the word would be pronounced, so...

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

ANYWAY WE GO IN AND SEE THIS LSKDJFLKSDJFLKSDJFSKLDFJ

I can't believe I never went to Nekwa before? I think I usually avoid the border towns because if they end up automatically taking you to the next region it's really annoying to come back because you have to go through the whole world map scene and some loading time lol.

But uh this guy is an absolute cutie! He's the mayor of Nekwa. Doesn't have a name, but he does have a unique sprite! And I've even seen some fanart of him, so maybe he's a playable character...? I kinda don't think he is, though.

Anyway, mustache love aside, it's just a normal town so we continue on through to Rhonicum... but as we do, we see DoppeLeo running out of Nekwa suspiciously.

Liz seems to be fed up with him, and says we're definitely going to catch him this time. Leo seems to be more amazed at how much energy this guy must have, but Liz scolds him for lollygagging and urges him to hurry up.

But Dopply seems long gone, so I go back into Nekwa to drool over the mayor again see if anyone there has anything to say about Dopply, since he just ran away from here.

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

When we enter, it seems the mayor is tracking down a thief. Leo and Liz talk about how they thought Rhonicum was a relatively safe place, but maybe it really isn't.

And then, as you probably saw coming, the mayor stops us and recognizes that Leo is the thief. Liz tries to convince him he has the wrong guy, but the mayor recognizes him as the one he stole the ring. His clothes, his face -- everything matches.

But he's relentless and tries to catch us... So we have to fight him :(

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

But hey, he looks pretty suave!

He's not that hard to defeat (I feel like I'm saying that about a lot of battles anymore... have I gotten that much better at the game already...?) and afterward Liz seems pretty cheerful, telling him he'll be okay because we went easy on him. Leo notices that it seems like Liz is having a lot of fun. So I guess she just likes beating up on people or something O_o

But he apologizes dramatically for getting us mixed up. But like, I don't see how beating him up really proves we were not the thief? So did we just force him into saying that...?

Anyway, we leave Nekwa and Liz talks about how it's weird how Dopply just seems to vanish after running away a bit, and wonders if he might be a ghost or something. Leo agrees that he's probably not human.

Liz starts to get scared again, and says maybe we should give up on tracking down Dopply. What if he switches places with Leo and she can't even tell the difference? Honestly, that's a kind of legit concern.

Leo wonders if that would really happen. Dopply would definitely make his identity known.

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

Walking just a bit ahead, we see Dopply slip into the Boat House. Leo wonders if Dopply can get away by taking a boat.

We head to Boat House and Boat Dad appears and we instantly melt. He's a recolor of Drunken Pirate but somehow hotter. Pleeeeeeeeease join the party please please. Honestly there HAS to be a recolor of these guys that joins the party... there has to be...

Anyway, Boat Daddy greets us by saying he's counting on us, and we're the only ones who can save his children. Ah, what kind of mess has Dopply gotten us into this time?

Leo asks what he's talking about, and Daddy says not to be like that. Of course he's talking about the thing we just discussed a bit ago. And of course he just decides to repeat all the details to us even though that wouldn't make sense to someone you just said them to, even if they act weird about it.

There's someone from Nekwa who is repeatedly visiting and causing nightmares for his kids. "Leo" appeared and felt sorry for them, and said he happened to know what was going on, and Daddy could leave everything to him. He tells Leo to stop looking at him like he's hearing all this for the first time.

Then he just leaves I guess, and Leo says to himself that he doesn't know anything about some nightmare person. Liz says that this is the kind of thing that you might ask a god to take care of. Leo remembers that a temple of Marigan is nearby, and decides we should go ask around there.

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

But as we're headed to the bridge to cross the river to the north, we see Dopply hanging out near the woods by some... huge straw manikin with its crotch on fire.

This... looks like perhaps the beginning to some more Dopply shenanigans, and I decide to come check this out after first visiting the temple.

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

But when we approach Marigan Temple, we see Dopply running out and disappearing like always...

We enter the temple and it seems very noisy inside. Leo wonders if something happened, and then a priest comes up and thanks us for earlier, calling Leo "Leonard-sama" and everything.

SaGa SCARLET GRACE Screenshot

He thanks us for the huge offerings we gave earlier, and says they're in the process of dividing everything up and moving it to the center. It's just so wonderful! Leonard must be walking together with Marigan...

Leo says he doesn't remember giving any offerings to the church, so it must have been Dopply. I guess he was saying this to himself, because the priest doesn't respond to it, but instead gives Leonard a Talisman of Marigan, letting him know that Marigan is always watching over him.

We return to Daddy Boat and he asks if we've found anything out. We have the option to tell him we don't know anything yet, or the cause of the nightmares is a lack of prayer to Marigan.

I picked the latter to see what he would say about it, not really thinking this would cause the whole thing to be "solved." Daddy seems to consider the idea that such a thing would cause the nightmares.

Leo hands over the talisman we got from the priest, and Daddy gets pretty elated about it. He says he's also going to try giving it to the mayor, who also seems to be suffering from the nightmares. And he assures us if there's ever anything we need, we can come to him for help, and he'll do what he can.

Oh, I have something I need from you, Daddy~

But yeah, the burning manikin disappears and it seems we ended this little substory kind of prematurely. I was expecting to still go and investigate it. Well, I was thinking that the manikin may or may not be related, and wanted to check it out, and I guess it was, but we "resolved" it by giving away the talisman.

But that's one thing I think is pretty cool about this game is that there seems to be tons of options to choose all the time, and it really feels like they make the game different, rather than just being aesthetic options that all lead to the same result. I mean, I don't know if it's really that way or not, but it definitely makes me want to try different things the next time through.

And a lot of other players are saying the same.

Since this entry was a bit shorter, I'll kinda blather about some various thoughts.

Firstly, I want to say that when I first saw previews of this game, even though I was excited for a new SaGa game, I was feeling really iffy about it. The whole "no dungeons" thing was really... unappealing at first, and the character models and stuff were kinda ugly (I still think they're kinda ugly, but I get used to graphics easily so now I don't really think of it much), and the load times looked ridiculous... it just overall looked more like a glorified mobile game or something. The load times did improve since then but they're still kinda... longer than they should be.

But the game is extremely addictive and fun. There may not be dungeons, but the game is loaded with content. There's so much dialogue and options and little events all the time. There are times I feel like I've exhausted everything there is to do in an area, but more events happen later when I visit again! Just... the sheer amount of content in this game is pretty astounding on its own.

The battles are super addictive and fun. SaGa games have always been about intricate and strategic battle systems that focus on a 'nurture over nature' approach to character development. The battles take a LOT of thought and are very exciting and fun. I get super pumped in battles, and the difficulty is always pretty high. Even now when I say things go smoothly, I mean compared to before when I was scraping by with one character having like 2 HP at the end of a battle. Now I actually have more than half the party alive.

I realize I can't properly judge it since I haven't finished and it's still in the "COOL NEW GAME" stage for me, but I feel like this could easily become one of my favorite games in the series, and even one of my favorite games of all time. How well it holds up over multiple playthroughs is probably going to be a big determining factor there, though.

I'm also happy to see that the game is pretty well-received. It got a surprisingly high Famitsu score (higher than SaGa games tend to get, and way higher than a lot of people were expecting), and fan feedback seems largely positive. I haven't heard a single complaint on the GameFAQs board, though it's not like a ton of people are playing this game and discussing it there, since the game is only in Japanese. And a lot of people, myself included, were expressing doubts and pre-order regrets before the game came out.

Maybe part of it is that the early looks at the game gave us really low expectations, and the loads of content and fun and addictive systems really impressed us since we were expecting to be disappointed.

The game seems to have a decent following in Japan -- it seems to be doing better than UNLIMITED:Saga's release. There are a lot of people really enjoying the game on Pixiv and doing fanart, which is cool. Strangely, Urpina seems to be by far the least popular protag, when she was the first revealed and the most promoted. Personally I love Urpina from what I know of her, but I do think all the protags seem pretty cool.

I wouldn't exactly say I like Leo, but I like his scenario, and I love Liz. Leo is a bit dry. But Liz is a really fun character and she does more talking and interacting than Leo anyway. Leo just is kind of a "straightman" type or whatever to move things along when they need to.

Speaking of Liz and Leo, though, one thing I'm really not hoping for is for them to get together. I saw quite a bit of fanart shipping them and just... IDK, I don't like it. I mean, it's cool if other people want to ship them but... personally I think they make the coolest best friend duo. I think that their relationship is perfect how it is, and it doesn't need a romance at all. Plus the idea of a platonic relationship developing in a game like this is really cool. It's always the forced hetero romance and that's so boring anymore. I mean, I'm usually a sucker for it (I love every last Final Fantasy protag romance to death) but it will be so cool to see something new.

So I'm hoping a lot of this fanart is just fan shipping, and they don't canonically develop a romance by the end. I know there's been stuff with Liz acting "jealous" but I like to think it's more her acting protective?

If they do get together, though, I won't be like... mad or sad or anything. Especially if it's done well, and the characters and writing seem pretty nice for a SaGa game so far.

And speaking of shipping I don't really have any ships in this game I guess? I mean, I platonic ship Liz and Leo like... hardcore. But I don't really think about much else. I kinda non-con shipped Rico > Marian for a bit, just because he was her captor, but I've come to think of Rico as probably a big softie who doesn't want to actually hurt anyone. I mean, Marian didn't really seem upset or anything when we rescued her; she was actually pretty happy as if she was enjoying herself in there. Maybe I should just consensually ship them XD

Maybe I'll ship like... Lewis x Lighthouses or something.

Anyway, I'll be super happy if Liz and Leo end up having a great friendship in the end with no hints of romance. That's like... my biggest wish for the game right now.

I'm also super excited to start a new game. Like... I don't want this one to end because I'm really enjoying it, and I don't want to miss out on stuff by rushing to finish it, but at the same time I feel so eager to start my second play. I won't try to rush though. I really do want to see as much as I can on my own this first time.