Tips and tricks for playing SaGa Emerald Beyond

Want to make your journey across the worlds of SaGa Emerald Beyond a little easier? This should help:
By Duncan Heaney

Are you ready for a new SaGa?

SaGa Emerald Beyond is the latest game in the franchise, and it features everything that makes SaGa games so beloved: multiple protagonists, stories that change depending on who you choose and where you go, incredible music and combat that is so satisfyingly deep.

But perhaps you’re daunted by the wealth of options the combat gives you? Well don’t worry - we’re here to help you out. We’ve put together some starter tips to help you get to grips with the battles to come.

We hope it helps!

Take your time and learn the basics

SaGa Emerald Beyond’s combat has a lot of strategic depth, and at first it can seem like a lot to get your head around - especially if you’ve never played a SaGa game before.

Don’t feel like you have to rush anything though - you have all the time in the world to choose your moves. The enemy won’t attack, and the game won’t progress until you’ve locked your actions in and confirmed, so play around with the different options, explore the mechanics, and play at your leisure.

It may take a few fights, but eventually it will all start to click and you’ll become master of one of the best combat systems around

Aim for United Attacks where possible 

SaGa Emerald Beyond’s combat is built around the timeline - and manipulating it. When you select a character’s command, a green bar will show on the timeline. Connect a few characters together with these bars and they’ll unleash a United Attack - a powerful move where they all attack together.

This is the best way to deal damage in the game, so always be on the lookout for opportunities to perform them!

But that said…

Don’t let your enemies use United Attacks!

While you can team up for maximum damage, so can your foes!

If you see that they have aligned their attacks together (as indicated by red bars on the timeline), you should do what you can to avoid it.

The easiest way to do this is to place one of your attacks between your enemies in the timeline, thus breaking up their attack. If that’s not possible, you can look at other methods.

Use your abilities to control the timeline 

When you select an attack, you’ll be able to see information about the damage it will do and the effect it will have. Conditional Techs are those that allow you to directly affect an enemy’s attack.

There are various options available:

  • Interrupt: as the name implies, this interrupts an enemy attack, stopping it in its tracks. Bear in mind that you will need to match the interrupt to attacks of its matching element.

  • Protects: When selected, the character will bear the brunt of an attack rather than its intended target. It’s useful if one of your party is near death - or if the enemy is using an attack that targets everyone.

  • Chains: These moves follow on from an ally’s action, even if that action is last in the timeline. They’re useful for controlling the order of your actions, but they will break the flow of a United Attack.

  • Pursuits: These moves will activate immediately after an enemy action, even if it’s part of a chain. This makes them a great way to break up United Attacks!

Use Quell to defuse an unknown attack

Sometimes enemies will use moves marked as ??? on the timeline. This means that the enemy is going to use a conditional tech like the ones listed above - and possibly ruin your carefully laid plans!

That’s where Quell comes in. Use an attack with this command, and you’ll cancel your foes’ disruptive action!

Understand each character’s growth systems

In SaGa Emerald Beyond, you’re not just playing as heroes. You’ve also got monsters, vampires, mechs and more. Unlike other RPGs, where you level up as you gain experience points, each race has their own way of becoming stronger. An understanding of how it all works will help you in the game.

  • Humans: This is the most conventional race and will feel familiar to RPG fans as they can use almost any equipment and grow in strength by taking part in combat. Sometimes during battle, a lightbulb will appear above the character’s head, and the character will learn a new skill - this is known as ‘glimmering’ in the game.

  • Kugutsu: These sentient puppets can only equip one weapon and cannot glimmer to learn new moves. Instead, they grow their skillset through the ‘mimic’ ability. They can also equip the souls acquired from defeated enemies, and if that soul contains a tech, they can use it themselves.

  • Monsters: Monsters don’t need gear - they’re armed well enough with their hides and claws. They learn new skills by absorbing them from defeated enemies. You can only have so many equipped at once, so you’ll regularly have to ‘unleash’ one to free up the slot. You can even do this mid-battle for increased effect (although you’ll lose HP, too).

  • Ephemerals: Depending on the specific character, ephemerals can learn new skills through glimmering like humans or absorbing them from foes like monsters. As they fight in battles, they grow from juvenile to young to mature, and finally to elder. As they age, so, too, do their stats – but their maximum LP, or life points, decreases. When LP runs out, they are reborn again, passing their skills and spells to the next generation. That means that as generations pass, more can be inherited.

  • Vampires: There’s only one vampire in existence - Siugnas. Like humans, he learns new skills through battle, but he also has access to Sanguine Arts that consume LP. He can increase his LP and learn new Sanguine Arts by sucking the blood of party members

  • Mechs: Mechs don’t increase in strength via combat - their abilities and available moves are determined by their armaments. Since weapons and armor can be freely equipped in any slot, mechs can be very powerful given the right equipment! For Diva No.5, her body type can be changed as the game progresses, and she’ll get unique attacks depending on the chosen body type!

Experiment with formations 

The formation you set your party in will have big implications for battle - particularly when it comes to the generation of BP, or battle points.

BP, shown as stars during battle, determines how many actions you can take in a turn. Each move uses a set number of stars, so you can only use as many actions as the stars allow.

Your formation has a big impact on your BP. For example, the default formation, Coalescence, means you start the fight with 4 BP and gain one additional one each turn - plus the BP cost of actions goes down after performing combos. It’s a good formation to start off with, but as you learn the game’s systems, you should try experimenting with other options.

For example, you’ll find formations like Fully Flanked that’s great against flying foes or Tiger’s Den that reduces the cost of actions through defense rather than attack. There are loads more, so try them out in different situations - especially if you’re struggling with a particular battle!

Replay battles to train and grow 

As you explore the many worlds of SaGa Emerald Beyond, you’ll discover red doors. These are battle stages that give you an opportunity to try out new tactics and gain strength.

You can visit some of these multiple times, and it’s worth doing. Not only will you grow your retinue’s strength, it’s also a great way to test out different strategies, learn how different techs together and more.

Hopefully this guidance will help you in your quest - or rather quests. With multiple protagonists and stories, there’s a lot to discover in this thrilling new SaGa.

The game is out now for PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam, iOS and Android. Free demos are also available for download for consoles and PC.

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