Savage 2 is a multiplayer game where two teams, one from the Human faction and the other from the Beast faction, fight it out in a struggle to destroy the other’s base while at the same time expanding their own. This concept is familiar to anyone who has ever played a real-time strategy game before. In Savage 2, you can command your units as the force commander through a top-down interface. The only difference is that the Builder unit you select and give orders to deploy a structure to…is a real playing character. Thats right, Savage 2 is a shooter/action game inside of a real-time strategy shell.
Jumping into a game of Savage 2, you will find the option to join either the Human or Beast team. Each side has their assortment of character classes to play, with each class having a melee mode and a ranged mode, in addition to any special skills the unit might have. After selecting your side, you will be given the option to join a squad on that team – or even lead a squad if you are experience enough. Now that you are on a squad, it is time to enter the game.
Your commander can view the battlefield from a top-down RTS view when inside one of your side’s lairs. From there the commander will select any players or squads to carryout any tasks desired. There is nothing quite like telling one of your builder units in an RTS to build a structure somewhere, then watching that unit completely disobey orders and build something else at another location. This can be an issue in Savage 2, which will in turn garner the disobeyer a good chat-flogging or even getting booted from the server, so that works as a good system of checks and balances.
Playing as a non-commanding unit in Savage 2 can be a varied experience in terms of what is expected of you. There are a set number of classes to choose from on each side, and some have to be unlocked by your side having built or captured certain structures. Each unit has a melee mode and a ranged weapon mode in addition to special class abilities which can be anything from shape shifting to taming pets. Human unit’s ranged ability can be upgraded when their side builds an Armory. There are even siege units, such as battering rams and ballistas, which can be taken as a class when your base upgrades enough. These siege units are critically important in taking down a well-defended enemy base.
The melee combat system is well-handled and provides an additional level of sophistication you usually don’t see anywhere but fighting games. There are three types of melee move, the first of which being a ‘basic’ attack. Then there is a ‘blocking’ move which will shield you from the basic attack move. To counter blocking, you can use an ‘interrupt’ move which will stun a blocking opponent, leaving him or her open for an attack move or offensive ability. This level of tactics can sometimes degrade into button-mashing when the Bantha pudu hits the fan, leaving the frenzied player open to the onslaught of a thinking opponent which can easily waste them. I was surprised how many enemy players would seemingly ‘freak-out’ while fighting me and start spamming their attack buttons. I would be able to keep blocking their attacks until a moment when I has a break to cut out from behind my shield and take a slice out of them.
The graphics of Savage 2 are not the best on the market right now by any means, however, they are colorful and of quality production. In game audio is okay, with nothing to really make that aspect of the experience standout. Savage 2’s musical score is nice, having a very ‘epic fantasy’ feel to it which helps set the mood of your matches.
Currently, only the ‘Conquer’ gameplay mode is available, but S2 Games has said they are planning to release more game types in the future. Savage 2 has no subscription system, but instead a one-time fee for life of $29.95. Matches are recorded and can be reviewed back at any time on the Savage 2 website, which is host to a very impressive user-statistics tracking system.
Savage 2 is a fun RTS/Shooter hybrid that manages to combine both aspects into a very cohesive system. The game can be a bit daunting to new players though and with so much going on, even experienced gamers can feel overwhelmed sometimes.