Kisai's 7th Saga Review
You are one of seven apprentices trained by King Lemele in the fantasy world of Rioconda. All of you are sent out into the world, with five years of training under your belt (to put you at a whopping level 1...) with the mission to find seven runes, ill-defined with purpose or function or even form...
7th Saga is a long, bland RPG with some interesting twists. The best twist is that you are in competition with six other characters who are always at the same level as you. This makes them the most dangerous people to get into a fight with. You'll have to (Well you don't have to but I wouldn't try getting through the game solo) pick one as your partner, and there's the possibility that they won't like you, or try to take your runes.
Unfortunately, 7th Saga falls into the Dragon Warrior cliche of having isolated towns with nameless NPCs who rarely say anything useful or amusing, surrounded by stretches of monster infested territory. No, sir. I do not care that I slogged my way to level 40 and umpteen miles to hear you say that your house is buried under the snow. Good day, sir.
At the beginning, you are forced along a path of a string of locations. Then, halfway through, linearity disappears (as does the plot excepting the rune scavenger hunt) and you are free to wander where you will. In the third act, you're back to linear plot. The third act is the most interesting part, so if you made it this far, you might as well play through the end.
You get your choice of seven level one characters, whose stats are thoughtfully provided for you. They consist of an ogre (a tank), a robot (another tank), a dwarf (weapons specialist), a fighter (fighter), a priest (white mage), an elf (black mage), and a demon (like a FF ninja, heavy offense weak defense). Surprising enough, the characters strengths and weaknesses were really well balanced and I had a difficult time choosing which one to play. You'll also may find it tricky to choose your partner.
Each of the characters have their own personalized levelled spell list and equipment, so there is no further tweaking besides levelling up.
Ok, just so you don't get fooled like I did. There are two villians, a master and an apprentice, with two very similar sounding names, Gorsia is the chief, Gariso is the lesser. Gorsia will advance the plot, whilst Gariso sits very patiently in his little tiered room for someone to come along and kill him.
There is also a lesser villain or two, Doros being the best one, the other being a twist.
Because the initiates are the same level as you, there may be one who is totally geared towards your weakness. For me, this was playing the robot and getting into fights with the elf. Because my weakest stats were magic and speed, which were her strongest, she would mop the floor with me with her incredibly damaging spells. Quite unfairly, there was no way to beat her at higher levels, so I was forced to put her on my team as quickly as possible.
7th Saga is also very unforgiving with the monsters. You must spend some time levelling up or you will die many, many times.