|Posted by Morpheel on July 16, 2015 at 10:05 PM|
Guru Morpheel here to talk about Mercenaries Saga 2 by Circle Entertainment.
You might be wondering if there was a first Mercenaries Saga, I actually have no idea, but let's not allow that to distract us. This game is what is known as a Turn-Based Strategy RPG, in a few words, that means that you will be taking turns to control several characters at the same time in battles against enemy units, think of it like a game of "action" chess. The game chooses to display things with an isometric perspective, as is traditional of the genre.
As you start the game you're shown a short bit of exposition, some shady characters are discussing something that sounds important; soon after the focus changes to your group of warriors: the so called Order of the Silver Eagle, who work for the local prince as his private bodyguards and elite. Stuff happens- someone wants the prince dead, so the team embarks on a dangerous journey where they meet new allies and discover who's behind it all. Sounds like a pretty typical story, but it's entertaining and the interactions between characters can be pretty fun to watch. You may even be given some input in the story to change things up from time to time.
The story is divided in chapters, each one follows a well defined pattern of exposition-battle-exposition and they're often short enough to want to play several in a single sitting. There's not much gameplay outside of the battles but you can do several things between chapters, like customizing and upgrading your units, selling and buying items and even replay slightly modified versions of past battles to grind for experience and money, which is very nice.
Each character you can play as has special, often unique, powers and abilities and branching growth trees you can play with to create a really varied army, it will take quite a bit of grinding to get all the good abilities and equipment for them though. You can only take six units into battle, so you might want to experiment with formations and find good strategies that work for you. While in battle, it can sometimes be hard to navigate around the isometric landscape, and after selecting most actions there's no undo option, so chances are you'll end up wasting some turns if you get hasty.
Graphically the game is completely in 2D, with good sprite work and nice looking backgrounds and character art, the sound is good enough too, if a little forgettable. The menus and character status screens are a bit hard to follow at first, specially since most stat names are shortened to just a few letters and it's often hard to know what they're supposed to be or affect with the less obvious ones.
As you might expect, this game is very technical and it can be hard to understand what's happening or what to do. It's not exactly newbie friendly either, even though it features an easy mode. If you can get past that, it's actually a rather nice offering with a good amount of content and addictive gameplay, but it's certainly not for everyone.
I give it 7 womanizing priests out of 10.
Review copy provided by the publisher.