"Superb multiplayer experience with something for everyone!"

Savage 2 is one of those types of games that dares to be different in the very tight-laced and at times multiplayer community. Savage is a game that attempts to combine various genres (RTS, FPS and Third-person) all into one multiplayer game. Does it succeed in doing so? You're darn right it does! Savage 2: A Tortured Soul is a very entertaining and highly underrated multiplayer game that no one should pass up.

Story -

While there is a story to Savage, chances are you wouldn't be looking into it much. If you are thinking of playing this game for the story, you will have to look elsewhere. Basically it's Human VS Beasts in a battle for supremacy. The Savage 2 site has all the lore to this game, but trust me, you are not playing this game for the story.

Graphics

Not the best of today's generation, but top-notch. All the environments and character models especially are very detailed and impressive if running on a mid to high end computer. The game features many customizable options to get the game running on the lower end computers as well. I also found this game to have some of the best weather effects I've see. The rain looks very realistic, and is very immersing.

Gameplay

First let me clear up one thing that I find many people asking about this game.

There is no true Single Player to this game. It is Internet/LAN Play Only!

However, to clarify what 'true' means, there is a small part of single player, if you would even consider it much of it -- it's a practice mode. You select your character, and spawn AI controlled enemy characters that you can practice on. This is useful to honing your skills in-game, but again, this is not truly single player material.

If you played Savage 1 and enjoyed it, then chances are you will enjoy the gameplay in Savage 2. It is striking similar, similar down to the sound effects and the overall 'feel' of the game is very alike to Savage 1. However the graphical improvements, system improvements and most importantly gameplay tweaks make the game a worthy successor to Savage 1. Obviously, if you hated Savage 1, you are most likely going to dislike Savage 2. If that's the case, you are wasting your time reading this review any further.

For those new to Savage completely, if you enjoy: RTS, FPS, Third-person slashers and even a touch of MMORPGs, you may find interest in this game. So how do all these elements fit into one game, I will break it down into sub-sections and give you a glimpse of what to expect for each mode.

RTS
RTS meaning Real-time strategy. If you've ever played Blizzard's Warcraft III or Starcraft, this is what it is. One person plays the 'RTS' mode, and has control over constructing buildings in order to support his troops. The difference is his troops are actually real people! Being the commander can be one of the toughest jobs to do and I don't really recommend it for beginners right away. People who played Savage 1 will enjoy the new features a commander has. Instead of being completely powerless on the battlefield, the commander can provide buffs to his troops from anywhere, and can even do debuffs to enemies within vision. However with the new Builder class, it's possible to win games without a commander at all.

Third-person
This is experienced when you are playing as a troop and running around normally. Melee weapons and most abilities are activated from third-person. The melee system has been much more balanced since Savage 1, as you can now deflect constant blockers. However blocking can also deflect people who swing mindlessly. Mastering this system is the key to being a good melee combatant.

First person
Occurs whenever you use a ranged weapon. You can essentially switch between third and first person seamlessly whenever you switch weapons. The downside is to my knowledge the game does not calculate where you hit a person. So hitting them in the head will not do extra damage. The first person mode is pretty much point and shoot.

MMORPGs
Your character will level up and eventually become stronger just like an MMORPG, you can then choose certain stats to raise in order to make your character more powerful. You can also kill random NPCs around the map for experience, similar to many MMORPGs.

The objective for each game is to destroy the enemies Stronghold, the game is not won until the stronghold is completely destroyed. Using various towers the commander can help to protect and fortify his buildings. It is also a constant struggle over gold resources, which are crucial for upgrading your technology.

The game also features character classes, a new addition to Savage. Whereas in Savage 1, generally you had weaker classes, progressing to stronger classes. The weaker classes obviously complete crap, and only used when short in resources. In Savage 2, there is only one powerful unit that costs money (besides sieged), the rest are free character classes. The classes differ between the races, but each class has a specific role to support their team, and are equally important for a well balanced army.

The overall races have been very well optimized, and if you take a look at the Savage website, you will notice usually a 50-50 win rate between the two races. However at times Beasts can be a bit overpowered.

Trial/Purchasing
This game, to my knowledge is not on retail shelves. So word of mouth, and of course, this review are means to help the game get more publically known. The Savage 2 website offers a free 4 hour demo for anyone interested in trying the game. While there is some minor restrictions placed on demo players, the game is still very playable and good to get a feel on how the game is. The 4 hours is also counted when the game is of course open, AND you are in a game. So you will not be docked on time for being in the lobby. Nothing to lose there. The game (as of 01/23/08) costs $29.99 to purchase online. You can unlock the game immediately from whenever you feel you want to purchase. A very good deal for such an entertaining game.

Pros(+)
- Very unique multiplayer experience.
- Vastly improves over it's predecessor, Savage 1.
- Has gameplay elements that can suit the tastes of many different types of online gamers.
- Has a free trial, and is cheap to purchase.
- S2 has good customer support, as I did have to e-mail them regarding my account once.

Cons(-)
- Latency can be an issue at times.
- While the game is admittedly in its infancy, it can crash fairly often.
- Beasts are still slightly stronger than Humans (in my opinion of course.)
- Commanders can be irrelevant to having 1-2 builders on the team.

Overall I would strongly recommend ANYONE who online games frequently to give this game a try. There is a good chance you will find some aspect of it likeable, if not just flat out addicting! Savage 1 fans, you will accept this game with arms wide open. Savage 1 haters, steer clear!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/23/08

Game Release: Savage 2: A Tortured Soul (US, 01/16/08)


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