This is a remake for the PSP, published six years after the original game. It’s also the only iteration of the game to have made it to Europe. Oddly enough, it’s based on the original Japanese release of the game, and thus does not include some of the ease-of-use improvements which were made in the American PS version. To wit: it’s no longer possible to sort the inventory, you can only change the equipment of characters who are in the active party (meaning more switching characters around if you need to swap equipment). Finally – and this is probably the most annoying change – switching Lenneth’s weapon from a sword to a bow, or vice-versa, will automatically unequip all of her Skills, so you need to remember to reset them. I can see why this happens (Archers and melee characters don’t have access to the same Skills), but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. On the other hand, this version is also somewhat easier than the original, due to the fact that some bosses, like Barbarossa, no longer use Great Magic. This will be a relief for some and a disappointment for others.
Inexplicably however, some of the censorship from the American PS version did make it into this one. For example, in the original Japanese game, Badrach smoked, and even used a cigarette as part of his PWS. For some reason, American people decided that this was evil and vile and removed it, so that Badrach’s PWS now involves him dropping gunpowder (no, not like that). On the other hand, the pentagram which appears when Lezard teleports and which also got removed in the American version is present in this one. Not sure what the reasoning behind all this was, but there you go.
Other than these small quirks, the game remains virtually identical to its original, with the exception of a cleaned-up script and the replacement of all the anime cutscenes by CG ones, which can be replayed from the Movie Gallery in the main menu once you’ve seen them in-game. It also means that some of the characters get shiny new CG embodiments. I find that this adds flair to the game, as some scenes are genuinely beautiful, like Lucian and Lenneth’s goodbyes in the Weeping Lily Meadow. The only small detail is that, apart from Lenneth, all the VAs in these new CG cutscenes are different from the original ones. Considering the quality of the original VAs…that’s not necessarily a problem. I, for one, will certainly not miss them.
Overall, there’s nothing particularly phenomenal in this remake, but it does score a few points. Firstly, it’s easier to find than the PS version, which also means that it’s cheaper. Secondly, the PS disc has a reputation for being particularly fragile, with the slightest scratch potentially making the game unplayable, which is not an issue with PSP UMDs. And thirdly, if you live in Europe, this is the only version available anyway.