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Savage

It’s the far future, mankind has finally managed to wipe most of the population off the face of the planet returning the population to a tribal existence. While the tribes fight amongst themselves the beasts have been watching and waiting for their chance to get revenge for the past crimes of man. A bloody war between man and beast begins on the planet now called Newerth. Mankind is loosing and just when it looks like the battle is lost one man, Jaraziah Grimm, steps forward and brings the tribes of man together to form the “Legion of Man”. The legion of man re-discoverers the sciences and starts to flourish. Meanwhile Jaraziah’s younger sister, Ophelia, found she preferred the wilderness and that she had a special gift – she could talk to the animals. So the stage is set for the clash between man and beast, brother and sister. I know brothers and sisters fight, it is only natural after all but for the entire planet and future of mankind!

Savage is described as being a “Real Time Strategy-Shooter” (RTSS) which only has an multi player game mode. It combines the action of a first person shooter (FPS) such as Max Payne, Halo, Half-Life with the strategy of a real-time strategy (RTS) game such as Command & Conquer. The game is basically a FPS with a strategy element added, most players will be ‘action mode’ players while one person will get to be the commander. There is no single player variant to this game – it’s a wholly team based affair which means you either need lots of friends with the game or to venture onto the internet servers.

Each team’s objective is very simple, destroy the opposing team’s stronghold (for humans) or lair (for beasts.) To this end there are a number of weapons, units and items that can be researched to help the action players to complete this task.

Playing in action mode is much the same as all the other team based FPS games such as Counter Strike. You earn money from dispatching your enemies, damaging their buildings and from killing general animals you come across. The team takes an amount of the gold you earn as a tax but the rest is available for you to spend on a weapon or unit upgrade. You can carry two weapons of which one is always the melee weapon, however you can choose the other from the available weapons. Each team has a number of units, the basic one has the weakest with the smallest amount of health, armour and damage capabilities. However spend some of your gold and you can upgrade to a bigger more deadlier unit including ballistas and catapults.

Humans have a number of explosive based weapons such as mortars and launchers, projectile weapons and electric based weapons. While the beasts use magic to throw fire, ice and lightning. Items include med kits, land mines and demo packs.

If you choose to be the commander your job is to build up a base, research necessary science or magic to provide better weapons and new unit types so your action players have a better chance of survival. Besides the action players you receive a number of worker units which basically computer controlled units that build structures and mine resources. The main departure from most RTS games is the ability to build anywhere on the map so long as you’ve got the necessary resources. The most annoying thing about playing as the commander is the lack of the ability to force players to do something. So, you need the action players to play ball if you’re going to succeed but as you’d probably imagine some people just run of into the distance and go on the rampage looking for glory.

However the game does try to give the action players an incentive to play as part of the team. Each player has a level which denotes how skillful you are, attain higher levels and you get better armour, stamina etc. One way to attain a higher level is to kill enemies, others include building and repairing structures, mining resources or anything that helps the team. The higher your level the more likely you are to survive so it’s in your interest to help the team out as much as possible. If you please the commander they can give you gold, temporarily give your melee weapon an electric charge, a shield or a health boost. You could also be promoted to an officer, which allows you to heal any friendly unit within a certain area.

If you decide to host the game it will appear that you’ll have a very limited number of options to choose from. In fact the two main options are choosing whether the teams are man or beast and selecting the map. However, fans of tweaking the numbers can breath again as you can fiddle with many values using the console to your hearts’ content. However you’re not always in complete control of the game as people can call a vote on map changes, surrender and even to impeach your commander should you be getting fed up of their leadership.

Sadly there are a few problems with the game. The most obvious is when playing in action mode you can get caught up between other units and the scenery, this is most obvious at the very beginning of a game when there’s a mine resource fest.

Graphics wise the game is above average. The textures are clear and there are a number of nice effects such as the terrain, especially the grass which gently rolls over the hills. The buildings are drawn with a medieval theme and burn quite nicely when they start to get damaged. Explosions are nicely done as are the effects when you get hit by weapons fire. The units are well drawn should you ever get up close and personal with some of them.

Sound wise you mostly get to hear the grinding of metal on metal, metal on flesh and weapons fire. Most of the weapon noises are the standard sound effects so there’s nothing to shout about. The background music is suitable dark and moody to go with the general feel of the game.

This is an enjoyable game best suited to a group of people who can work as an single entity – people who play Counter Strike will find this game a refreshing change to the majority of team based FPS games which are based in the current day or the future. However, venture forth onto the internet and you may get discouraged by people complaining of cheaters, of having the enemy wipe the floor with you because you’ve come in half way and don’t have enough money to buy nice weapons or units etc. One for the committed players who spend their leisure time forming teams and ganging up on each other just for fun.

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