Silva Saga II is a very pretty SNES game. It was released by Seta in 1993, and features a number of glitzy graphical effects. The battle system and plot advancement, however, feels a lot like a more retro style Dragon Quest clone. A translation was quite recently released for the game, but it’s pretty playable in Japanese, as long as you can figure out where to go.
Much like Silva Saga, the difficulty level is pretty low in Silva Saga II. Let’s start with the battle system. Fights, much like most Dragon Quest clones, come randomly and pretty regularly. However, you have four ways to deal with a fight. One is to use your statues. Much like the statues in the NES prequel, they use magic and have weak physical attacks. After a battle, all status effects (save for “damage” which is the equivalent of death) are cured and HP and MP is refilled. Statues can be combined after a few levels to have stronger spells. You can use mercenaries. You’ve got a wide variety of men and women which can be hired for a price dependent on their starting level. Once you hire them, they don’t cost any more money, and they are cured like the statues after a battle. They have no magic, and are stronger then the main party. Your third option is to use the main party which needs normal healing and status effect healing like any normal group of people. Your final option is to run and you can use a mix of spells and items to make this more easy.
If you fight every battle, you will almost never need to do any grinding. Compare this to, say, the cliche of needing to be level five before you leave the first town, and you can see how this game feels surprisingly easy. Add in that items are all over the place in towns. On average, you can get three to four healing items and at least a hundred gold from just checking out items in towns. Money can be a little hard to get in the game, but you’ll only be short on money if you buy all the equipment you see. Since you don’t really need to upgrade everything, you can keep your money at a pretty decent level via just doing what the plot wants you to do. There’s also subquests which offer you extra money, so you can take side paths if you feel short on money.
Random events in the game makes playing through the game more varied. For example, you can randomly find rare gems while riding around in a canoe. These can be turned in for some money with certain NPCs. I watched a friend play the game, and then ran my canoe around the same area. He got three gems and I found three pebbles and one gem. My friend entered a cave, and ghosts healed him to max and offered him about 200 gold. I went into the same cave and the ghosts challenged me to win a battle to prove I could survive. In SaGa games, there’s random events, but you tend to feel like you’re clawing to survive in the early game. Due to the easiness of Silva Saga II, I wasn’t upset at all that my ghosts weren’t as friendly.
Unfortunately, the game suffers from some odd design choices. For example, your party members are people who showed up in the prequel. However, they say next to nothing. It’s actually unusual that one of them is upset that you’ll replace him. Each one has similar stats, traded equipment, and traded skills. You’re basically replacing your priest with a priest with another face. Your statues can be combined, and there’s some obscure choices that let you make a third level combined statue (so basically A + B = C and C + D = third level statue.) It’s impossible, as best I can tell, to have a party of four statues that are combined this way, and I strongly doubt the average player can figure out how to make a party of three of them, due to the odds of making a poor choice.
So, forget the optimizing of statues and the lack of character of your party members – is the game fun? Yes. It’s a charming romp with attractive graphics and pleasant music. The battle system offers a number of ways to make it pleasant for the player, and you don’t have sudden horrible spates of grinding. You have an ambitious day night system (complete with the time of day being shown in the battles,) and different dialogue depending on the time of day. I suspect a remake would probably focus on making it easier to experiment with the statues, and probably add more dialogue for your party members. Other than that, the game doesn’t really feel that dated (taking into consideration that it is more in the retro Dragon Quest style of RPG.