Saga offers players choice between 6 playable nations, with 3 ‘good’ factions (Humans, Elves and Dwarfs), and 3 evil factions (Dark Elves, Orcs and Undead) available from the beginning of the game. As all units in Saga are card based, players are required to purchase ‘booster packs’ in-game with real money in order to successfully create their army. Having done so, players will have access to a variety of different quests, and highly advanced PvP options including open world PvP, and Guild Wars.
Saga Feature Video
By Cody ‘Neramaar’ Hargreaves
Back in the day, when I was a lad, games were different. We didn’t have flashy graphics, or high powered what-cha-ma-call-its – it was a simpler time, a time of strategy, and tactics. In those days, the RTS genre reigned supreme. But somewhere along the line, the RTS genre vanished into thin air; tactics and strategy were abandoned and replaced with grinding and perseverance. No longer does the best man win, but more, the man who has played for the longest. I wouldn’t say that it was a bad thing… just that it’s different.
LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
So what happened to the RTS genre then? One would think a genre that thrived so well in multiplayer would have easily made the jump into online gaming, yet it didn’t. If I had to guess, I’d say it has a lot to do with the graphics. There’s just no way for the graphics in an RTS to compete with those found in MMORPGs, and console games. Sure, it’s possible to get nice graphics in an RTS. Games like the new Battleforge and Savage 2 are a perfect testament to that, but you never really get to see them up close, so it never looks as good. Games like Saga… well, they didn’t even seem to try.
Saga succeeds as an MMORTS game in a number of ways, but graphics and model animation aren’t included. The overall visual style presented in Saga isn’t bad. It’s dated, sure, but it’s not bad. The model animations however – are nothing short of atrocious. Zooming in up close to a group of units is painful in a number of ways, but mostly because they look like the painted model figurines you would find in a tabletop game of Warhammer 40K. Gameplay however is both innovative and exciting – but requires a large amount of patience, something that will prevent many gamers from fully enjoying it.
CHOOSE YOUR DESTINY
You begin playing Saga with the choosing of your faction, which determines your race, and your starting units. Choose to play on the good side, and you’ll be playing as either the nation of Light (Humans), Nature (Elves) or Machines (Dwarfs and Giants). Choose the darker path, and you’ll find the nations of Magic (Dark Elves), War (Orcs), and Undead (Undead, duh) at your disposal. Choosing your faction will determine, among other things, the look and style of your base and buildings, and the units that you will have at your disposal from the beginning of the game. After choosing your nation you’ll be presented with your base, and begin a short tutorial to help you ease your way into the overly complicated world that is, Saga.
HITTING THE WALL
Unfortunately, the tutorial in Saga isn’t great. Actually, it’s quite bad. It drops off quite frequently leaving you confused and annoyed, and explains little of how the game plays outside of quests. You’ll complete several mundane tutorial quests that introduce you to battle and units before moving forward into the real quests that are equally mundane, and would leave even the most optimistic player craving more.
Saga uses a card system to acquire new units, a system that requires you to purchase booster packs in order to properly advance. This is where Saga feels like a let down, the quests are uninspired and generally boring, and the only way to get more powerful seems to require a credit card. It’s where I believe the vast majority of people that play will decide that Saga just isn’t for them, which is a shame considering the potential it has much later in the game.
UP AND DOWN
You see, Saga like many an RTS game before it, revolves around one thing. PvP. The main attraction of Saga lies in the sole fact that when you log out of the game, your base doesn’t. It stays, along with your units and defenses, and can be attacked by an enemy player at any time. You’ll also continue to gain resources while you’re logged out, and your buildings will continue to build. Everything keeps going – and it’s a concept that has never really been seen before now. Of course, there are many other PvP options available in Saga that follow a more traditional path, such as Guild and Skirmish battles, but there are other, better games out there already that offer that. If you’re going to play Saga, you’ll be playing because you like the innovation and style that other games don’t have.
Saga is the video game equivalent of a see-saw – while the music is fantastic, the sound effects are horrible. The graphics can be nice at times, but the animations look like plastic figurines. The PvP is sensational, but the quests are slow and mundane. Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide whether or not Saga is your cup of tea, and that decision will revolve solely around whether or not you enjoy the innovation style, and good, old-school, methodic RTS combat.
Final Verdict: Fair
Saga has a great many flaws, and at the same time, a fantastic, fresh, and innovate style of gameplay. The PvP is nothing short of sensational, but it requires patience and discipline to fully enjoy, and with such a dated graphics engine, many players may find it hard to stay in long enough to experience it.
Saga Official Introduction Video
Saga PvP Trailer
Saga Gameplay Trailer
Saga Game Trailer
Saga Battle Footage
Saga System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / 2000 / Vista
CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel P4 or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB RAM
HDD: 1.5 GB Free Space
Video: 128 MB, pixel-shader 2.0 (or will not render trees and grass), must support OpenGL 1.4
OS: Windows XP / 2000 / Vista
CPU: 2.8 GHz Intel P4 or equivalent
RAM: 2GB MB RAM
HDD: 1.5 GB Free Space
Video: 512MB, pixel shader 4.0 support, must support OpenGL 1.4