Review

Saga Review (PC)

I have to admit a certain fondness for MMOs.† I like the ability to get into the world and experience it with others (flamers, jerks and other such delightful examples aside.)† When I heard about Saga I was excited for the possibilities as this game has moved away from the typical MMORPG to an MMO strategy and world building game and theyíve done a nice job of it too.

The Good
Saga takes place in a fantasy setting, but one thatís been built with a lot of options so that the kingdom you create has its own look and feel, different from Billy Joe Sue Bobís kingdom just down the road.† Designing your kingdom is, in fact, the first thing you do upon starting up Saga.† You can choose from one of five races, two Ďdarkí races and two Ďlightí races.† Each of the five has particular specialties when it comes to the top level fighters you can field, so consider your choice carefully.† Then you get to play paper dolls with your standard and colors and name the place before youíre in business.† Business is, naturally, to help your kingdom grow.† Sometimes this is done through internal projects as you create and gather the resources needed to keep a growing kingdom happy, and sometimes this is accomplished by going to war with the neighbors of both PC and NPC varieties.


Welcome to my kingdom

And this is my temple from whence come quests!

One of the things that I love is that you donít HAVE to war against other players if you donít want to, you can pursue quests from your temple instead, and there are scrimmage modes where itís a practice war that doesnít destroy all of your hard won resources just because you wanted to see what going up against another player was like.† Sagaís set up is not conducive to newbie snipers who just want to be jerks and kill people as fast as they spawn, but much more focused on strategy and diplomacy.† This ability to just get into the game and get playing and to have the time to learn how to play before youíre under attack makes Saga much more casual player friendly, even as the strategy and complexity of the gameís possibilities appeal to the hard core gamer.

Much of the complexity in Saga comes from figuring out what components your army needs and how many of what you should field at a given time.† The tutorial battles help with this and teach the rules of the game with a minimum fuss.† The AI isnít stupid, and most players are even more clever, so sometimes the difference between half a dozen crossbow men and basic peasant footsoldiers can be a devastating one.† You can purchase and field army components based on your number of command points.† These points go up with your level, allowing you to do more interesting things, but the number of points required is also a shifting target based on the unit.† Foot soldiers and basic archers are cheap, but the damage they can do is more limited and walls get in their way.† High level magicians that can blow through walls and flying troops are more expensive, but sometimes are just the only way to pry the enemy out of turtle mode and bring him onto the field of battle.† Balancing defense and offense becomes more and more critical the further you go and may hold the key to a strong kingdom or your demise.


Quest map. Iíve finished the tutorial and moved on.

To the victor goes the spoils.

From an aesthetic point of view Saga is a pretty game.† Thereís a lot going on so a bigger monitor is a helpful thing, I canít imagine playing it on a 15 inch screen.† Iíd go blind.† Each unit type has a unique look and battle animation, though within the unit everyone is pretty much the same.† Thereís not a lot of customizing so that one archer looks any different from any other archer.† I liked the background track, though the war grunts and groans got on my nerves after about the first 30 minutes.

The Bad
Much as Saga is a nice looking game I had trouble with balancing all of the windows on the screen.† The chat window moves up to the top of the screen when the battle windows are open, which meant it kept getting in my way when I was trying to click on troops who were merrily walking right past the enemy and getting their butts handed to them.† I tried moving the window but then it was in the way on other sides.† I just wanted to close it, but it was resistant to that idea and I settled for cussing at it.† As mentioned before the war noises also got on my nerves.† If I want to hear men grunting and screaming Iíll watch Home Improvement reruns.

Some of the color schemes make it hard to see where your troops are, and I lost archers that went wandering on paths unknown several times.† In another kingdom my ballista wandered off down a canyon and I never did find it.† It disappeared from my map, so Iím not sure if it was destroyed or rolled off into programming ether.† It may have joined my plunder which I occasionally couldnít pick up.† Glowing treasure chests and me without the ability to gather them!

One of the features that has pros and cons is the time it takes to build something or destroy something.† Some of the buildings for resources, mines and such, can take literally all day to build.† When you re-enter Saga after time away it calculates how much time has gone by and whatís been accomplished in your absence.† So it does allow you to get something started and walk away, but if youíre waiting for that accomplishment before you move to the next one and you have to just sit thereÖbooooring.


Fire good!

Everyone needs plunder!

I did run into quite a few glitchy problems with camera angles and pathing which I suspect will be addressed as the game moves forward.† Iím also not sure how I feel about the booster packs.† These are content packs that are purchasable in order to give your kingdom bonuses that you havenít necessarily played for but paid for, and add a Ďcollectableí aspect to the play.† There are other games that use similar systems, and I admit I havenít bought any yet, so the jury is still out as to how effective or non they are.


The OverAll
After my first pass at Saga Iím still excited about the game and enjoying it and forsee many hours ahead of me in the Saga universe.† Is it the most perfect game Iíve seen this year? HahÖI never judge any game as the most perfect game, but itís a good game and well worth the time required to gain experience and levels.† I found myself with a bit of altitis, Iíve played three different kingdoms and still havenít decided which is my favorite.† The current issues that are coming up are being addressed quickly by the team, updates can be seen on their site with each patch, and I think that attention is critical in bringing Saga from a good game to a great one.


Top Gaming Moment:I love making the buildings burn and finally explode!† Itís a simple pleasureÖso sue me.

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Comments

By Youri (SI Newbie) on Feb 28, 2008
Youri
The game isn&#039;t started. :( I registered to the homepage and started the game. And write down my Acc and my pass. But tis message is come: Server not responding.
The server is only for USA or UK? ( I live in Hungary)
By Kres (SI Elite) on Feb 29, 2008
Kres
Got to be some temporary server problems. Occasionally MMO&#039;s do server restarts and maintance. Not sure if you were lucky enough to hit those at the time. I presumed you tried more times in the meanwhile. Any better luck?

Aside, really do wonder how Saga is. Good score it got. If anybody else played it, do share what you thought of it. RTS&#039;s were my weak spot for decades (going old!) and RTS MMO is something I dreamed of before.
By Youri (SI Newbie) on Feb 29, 2008
Youri
A server is too instabil yet. But i try it every hour. :) Maybe i lucky enough to hit those at the time.
By Kres (SI Elite) on Mar 01, 2008
Kres
Strange. Well good luck Youri!
By Todendron (I just got here) on Mar 04, 2008
Todendron
The game servers were taken down for final patches and to reset the game world for all players on Sun/Mon and will go live this afternoon (Tues. the 5th of March). It is all posted on the front page at www.playsaga.com.
By sagabad (I just got here) on Mar 27, 2008
sagabad
I would give the game a 5 of 10.
The good: It&#039;s free if you choose the free version

The bad: bugs, balance, and AI. The game can crash when doing just about anything. The AI doesn&#039;t use the special ability of its troops. Just check out the
list of complaints on the boards.
By Karahandras (SI Newbie) on Jul 31, 2008
Karahandras
saga are prepared to lie, cheat and steal from their paying customers with the basic response to any complaints as \"tough\"\n\nSTAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THEM
By Karahandras (SI Newbie) on Jul 31, 2008
Karahandras
saga are prepared to lie, cheat and steal from their paying customers \n\nSTAY AWAY FROM THEM