Developer: Wahoo Studios
N Amer - Q3 2007
In the realm of MMO’s there is one genre that is rarely discussed. This collection of games has a vastly diverse range of play styles, some critical successes and some critical failures. Role-playing online games have been a staple of the MMO culture for a long time. Strategy games, however, have a different legacy. Some players might question the decision of a developer to test out those troubled waters. With Saga, Wahoo studios is doing more than testing the waters – they are diving in. Saga has a number of features that can appeal to the casual gamer as well as the hardcore gamer. The game world has many options, many paths players can use in their pursuit of power. Saga boasts a vibrant economy, a strategic simulator for the inevitable warfare, and easy-to-learn controls to let players plunge into the depths quickly and painlessly.
The basis for Saga is a standard medieval world. Players need to build armies to defend their territory, but first they have to construct the resource base that will allow their domain to flourish. The in-game economy is a great boon, allowing players to buy and sell extra resources. With careful trading and a few wise investments a domain will quickly begin its rise to power. Every resource in the game, including weapons and armor for your armies or entire units themselves, can be purchased and sold through the in-game economy. At first players are at the mercy of the economy. Starting supplies will only last for so long. If a player is clever or wise they can quickly change that, making the economy work for them.
When war looms players can form armies. Each unit has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each domain belongs to a faction, like the nature-revering elves or the giants and humans of the “light.” The factions have their own specific units they can recruit. The number of units allows for a great deal of flexibility in tactics. Players also have to balance the troops they bring into combat. As players advance in power the number of soldiers they can bring into each battle increases. The warfare simulation scales beautifully from small skirmishes to epic battles between rival kingdoms. In a unique twist lost warriors are not permanently discarded. By using up the favor of their gods players can return lost soldiers to life.
The casual nature of Saga gives players the opportunity to enjoy a strategic game without suffering instant and catastrophic losses. The good features far outweigh the concerns players might have about the game. Saga’s interface is very easy to learn. The gameplay during domain management gives players time to make good choices instead of quick decisions that might cost them later. The battle simulator handles incredibly well. The only downside to Saga this is that everything takes real-time to produce or build except for military units. Construction of a low-level resource generator, like a gold mine or a farm, takes the better part of a day. Casual players will enjoy this aspect, as it lets them progress through the game without sacrificing large amounts of their time. Die-hard players will find the depth of the late-game interactions quite addictive. Once a player gets to the more advanced stages Saga can stop being a casual game. Like most things, this game is what you make of it.
Saga has a number of features that can appeal to the casual gamer as well as the hardcore gamer
Reviewer: Matt Eberle
Review Date: 07/23/2007