Saturday, August 27, 2011

Game Review: M.S. Saga: A New Dawn

By Phillip Powers

Being a longtime fan of the all the Gundam series and a fan of RPG games, I was excited to find out they made M.S. Saga: A New Dawn, a RPG Gundam game.

Developer - Bandai
Platform - PlayStation 2
Release date - February 21, 2006
Genre - Role-playing game
Mode - Single player
The basic story is somewhat the same as most of the Gundam series plots: basically a young man forced to fight in a war using a mobile suit called Gundam. The game’s story starts with a young man named Tristan, after having seen the orphanage where he grew up destroyed before his eyes by a black mobile suit, vows revenge on it. The game includes mobile suits from many of the Gundam universes including the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Double Zeta, and the mobile for the original show character’s counterattack just to name a few.

The gameplay is basic RPG style: you wander around a world map from place to place following a story while you randomly get in to fights. The battle system is pretty simple- you have a three-person party in the front row as your main attack force but if you have any people in the back row, then you can switch them in at anytime during battle. As for the fights, it's simple, you have the attack command, the boost command which is basically special attacks, the defend option, a charge option to store up extra energy for use with the boost attacks.

The real stars of the game are the mobile suits though. You can modify the mobile suits up to eight times in three categories for a total of twenty-four times in all. Then you can outfit them with a single melee weapon, two handheld ranged weapons, a single shoulder mounted weapon, and if possible two ranged weapons attached to the arms of the mobile suit provided the suits payload space can hold that many. The early weaker suits you will have to find the best payload deployment that suits its best type of offense either melee or ranged. As you get farther in to the game you will gain access to the better suits with bigger payload space to hold more weapons and have better stats. There is a nice amount of extra stuff to do if you want to deviate from the story which is nice, but a lot of it can’t be done until late in the game.

However as good as the game is, there are a few bad points to it. First, the max level cap for the characters is only fifty, so it does end up getting tricky towards the end of the game and even the best suits in the game are not really exceptional in the bonus dungeon. In a few of the boss fights, they were able to wipe out my entire party in a single attack. They were using the best suits, all fully modified, and the best weapons in the game so it does require some strategy, but it could have been quite a bit better in the whole modifying the suits department. You can switch out actual parts like the arms or legs and such, but doesn’t make up for the down points of the game.

All in all, it’s a decent game I would recommend to fans of the Gundam series.

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