Review by Taric
"FPS and RTS combine to make a great game."
Savage is probably one of the most innovative games of the 2003 year. It combines aspects of a first person shooter, a real-time strategy, a third person fighter, and even a multiplayer online roleplaying game, all into one package. While Savage has received relatively little attention at first, the game continues to improve.
The Graphics are pretty good, but not amazing. If you're looking for simply eye-candy, there are better games out there. I would like to note that at the time of this writing (1/4/04) there is a patch going out soon that will update many of the graphics, primarily on weapons.
Probably one of the more disappointing aspects of the game, the sound isn't horrible, but it isn't wonderful either. There is an extremely limited selection of in-game music that changes only when one side's stronghold/lair is attacked (which, I might add, can put lag on some slower computers). Weapon sounds are also the same at all times. The savage's sword always goes *clang* even when swinging at empty air, and the legionnaire's axe always gives a loud *whoosh*. The voice acting was well done, in my opinion, particularly for Ophelia and Jaraziah. Some of the human voices sound kind of goofy though.
Humans have destroyed themselves in petty wars, leaving their once great civilization in ruins. The human race has decided to survive in simple hunter/gatherer tribes. During these many wars, the animals of the world begin to evolve and develop intelligence. A woman by the name of Ophelia learns that she has the supernatural ability to communicate with beasts, and she spends her time more with them than her human family. One day, a young beast went to Ophelia to return a flower that had fallen from her hair, only to be mercilessly slaughtered by humans. Ophelia lost faith in humankind, and fled. She taught the beasts to use magic, and now she plans on taking revenge on humans, led by her older brother, Jaraziah.
The story is an interesting one, but one sees little reflections in it while in the game. The voices of the commanders of the teams are none other than Jaraziah and Ophelia. The humans get to use old technology that was long forgotten (with enough research), and the beasts use magic. Other than this, the story tends to be forgotten by many of the players.
This is where the game shines, and makes you forget about any other problems. As said before, the game combines many aspects of many different kinds of games into one. It sounds complex, but it's fairly easy to explain. There are two teams (usually one beast and one human, but you can have two beasts or two humans), each with one player as a commander. This commander manages workers, resources, and buildings similar to how one would play a normal RTS. The commander researches new weapon types, new unit types, and provides defensive structures for the stronghold/lair. All of the other players take the role of the units in the RTS. They buy weapons, their unit type, and special items with gold that they have accumulated (though the slaying of enemies, harming enemy structures, or by killing neutral creatures), and then attack enemies. While using long range weapons, the game takes a first person perspective. Each of the normal units also possesses a melee weapon, which will put you into 3rd person perspective when used. These melee weapons deal much more damage than the long-ranged ones, and are the true heart of the game. Also, you can become siege units, such as ballistas or catapults, which let you destroy enemy buildings, but require defense. The game also puts aspects of a RPG into the mix, by giving experience to each player. As a player does tasks, such as killing enemies, helping with the building of structures or mining, or destroying structures, they gain experience and can gain levels. Each level improves the player in some way, such as giving better armor or giving a better melee weapon.
The game is all online with no single-player campaign. Many people also complain that the game can get a little repetitive. On the plus side, however, the creators of the game are constantly working to improve it, offering patches that offer dramatic improvements. At the time of this writing (1/4/04), there is a patch planned to come out soon that will add a new unit to each side, a 'medic' that can heal others.
The game is wonderful with a few forgivable flaws. I highly recommend that everyone who likes a FPS to try it out. At the S2Games site there is a demo currently available.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/04/04
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