Although Soul Blader/Blazer, Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia, and Tenchi Souzou/Terranigma are separate games, they were developed by the same company and share similarities so they are unofficially known as the Soul
And that is exactly the reason why Gaia Gensouki (and Tenchi Souzou) are some of my favourite games: because they have soul
(and I'm an atheist that doesn't believe souls exist so this comment should not be taken lightly!). When I say the game has soul, I mean that it is the sort of game that has, in my view, a deep story dealing in myriad themes. The type of game that keeps you thinking, even after you finish it. So to me, the "soul" of the game is secondary to the playing of the game itself. Oh and the game ain't half bad either so that helps. On the other hand, this was a childhood game for me so maybe it's just nostalgia talking.
sven666 wrote:how would you rate it amongst the other top tier snes games and has it aged well?
The best comparison would be with The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods/A Link to the Past.
LoZ is non-linear, IoG is linear (not too much backtracking).
LoZ has a fairly thin plot with not too many characters. IoG has a full cast of characters and there is much more dialogue.
LoZ has more action in the gameplay (special moves, tools etc). IoG has less variety (some special moves, two extra playable characters).
LoZ has puzzles in its dungeons. IoG not so much.
LoZ's setting is your fairly typical medieval ages world. A lot of IoG is based on real life locations (Great Wall of China, etc).
I'd say graphics wise, LoZ is more polished but IoG's are quite good and each area has its own personality, with little to no palette-swapped dungeons.
It's fun exploring LoZ's world map, but with IoG, you get more of a sense of going on a journey (similar feeling can be had in PS1's Grandia).
To answer your question, you could
(I wouldn't) say the gameplay, graphics, etc hasn't aged well. But the themes and topics raised in the story has not and are still relevant to this day.
So if you liked LoZ but you wished for more plot in your A/RPGs (they often don't), then IoG might be worth a shot. Tenchi Souzou improves in every way though so if you haven't played that, then play IoG first. Other comparable games: Alundra (more puzzle-oriented, also has a darkish plot).