Available : September 9, 2003
Lowest Price: $34.90

Savage © S2Games / iGames
Preview By: Patrick “Rhett” Moore

So many retail games are out now, and none of them are like this. Some might say that this is the beginning of a new genre, of a real-time strategy game - mixed with a first person viewpoint. This could remind a lot of people of Battlezone 1&2, where you ran around as a soldier, and commanded tanks and vehicles to attack while you were in your own vehicle. Although this isn't Battlezone, and not as futuristic as it is (the action takes place thousands of years before our time), Savage has a better way of managing soldiers and builders at an overhead viewpoint.

This preview copy, as well as the the full game, is completely multiplayer, with up to 64 players beating the hell out of each other. Although I didn't get a chance to try a game with 64 players, I did play it on a server with 10 people. A small game that like is fun, things usually go slow until everything is researched and upgraded, and that's when it comes down to fighting. One person on each team takes the role of a Commander, who makes all the tactical decisions for his team. You can build structures anywhere with a peon; they including lairs, towers, and armories. The selection of buildings was all from the full game, along with the weapons; although there were only 8 buildings per race, and limited amounts of weapons per side. The Warrior on the other side, is the battlefield grunt, who is the one involved in fighting and eliminating the opposing side. While the Commander has an isometric top-down view of the action, the Warrior sees it all in first person mode, somewhat similarly to the way Natural Selection has already done it.

There are two playable races in the game: the Beast race focuses around magic and melee fighting, while the Humans revolve around beam and arrow weaponry. The selection can get old after a while, since the weapons are just upgrades of themselves – such as the Rail Cannon is only an upgraded Repeater, same with the spells. The buildings are less plentiful: only three kinds of towers per side, with 8 total types of buildings. Although they all do look nice in first person warrior view.

The game is generally beautiful to look at, very rich and vibrant in the jungles, but somewhat dull in the deserts. Although the Commander cannot see all this, he has an extreme view of the battlefield, which is important. Along with the beauty, comes the sound of the beauty. The jungles and animals have sounds off in the distance such as birds and war cries, which lead to a feeling of safety and/or desolation. The weapons make basic shooting sounds such as a beam shooting from a weird weapon, or an axe hitting an enemy.

My final thoughts about the game based on playing the beta version – the game still needs a lot of work, which is not satisfying to know since the preview copy I've got my hands on is really close to the final gold master status. While the premise is indeed really fun at first, it gets repetitive really quick, and I am personally hoping that a lot more work will be done and more features (especially new weapons, spells and buildings) will be implemented before the release date or shortly after it. While the graphics and sound are no doubt extremely well done, at this stage it's simply not enough to justify a $40 pricetag, especially with Natural Selection 2 being available for free and basically doing the same thing. Some might look forward to it, some might not, but this is my personal opinion.