Mercenaries Saga Chronicles is a tactical role-playing game for the Nintendo Switch. It is a compilation of three previous games released in one. Mercenaries Saga: Will of the White Lions was originally released on smart devices. The Order of the Silver Eagle and Gray Wolves of War, the second and third installments, were released on the 3DS. The game is a fun play and it offers a decent amount of tactical gameplay. However, it falls short of being great due to lack of story change per game, and the absence of building upon previous games.
The story of each game is fairly similar, as you start out controlling a small group of Mercenaries. The group starts out just working odd jobs to make money but by no fault of their own find themselves involved in a war between to battling kingdoms. You can play the games in any order you want. The sequel titles do have minor references to previous games, but nothing to overly confuse a player.
Players of Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift on the DS will feel at home, not only because of the art style but also because of gameplay. Gameplay is that of most tactical RPGs. At the beginning of the battle, players are given conditions for winning and conditions for losing. There is one interesting difference between Mercenaries Saga and other tactical RPG’s. In most RPG’s you start the battle with a set number of magic points. In Mercenaries Saga however, you start off each battle with zero magic points. As the battle progresses characters begin to increase their magic points. If you choose to defend with a player, their magic points generated are higher than if any other action was taken. In battles, the camera angle remains the same, which for the most part in a game like this it is not too much of a problem. There are those times however that being able to adjust the camera angle to see where you are placing a character would have been a nice touch.
As battles are won characters earn skill points or SP, which can be used to learn or power up a skill. Each skill is set to a class type. For example, fighter skill is set around physical attacks whereas a wizard’s skillset is set around magical attacks. After you reach level 10 and then level 20 you can upgrade your class and learn more skills.
All three games share graphic design, gameplay as well as the class and skills. The absence of further development for each game leaves the title feeling stale, especially if playing through all three games. Aside from different characters, it would be really hard to tell each game from one another. The addition of new classes, skills, and magic, would have helped set the tone for each game apart. The collection would have been more fun had it had been more than the first game with a fresh coat of paint each time.
Although much the games almost feel like carbon copies of each other they still offer up the key points of Tactical RPG’s. Some battles can be won with ease where others take some amount of planning and strategy. Deciding which characters to bring into the battle or which ones to develop are all part of the process.
With all of that being said I don’t want to sound as if I am saying the game is terrible. Mercenaries Saga does do a good job of delivering the basic Tactical RPG experience. Battles often present a decent strategic challenge. In some battles you battled monsters instead of the normal human enemies helped shake things up. Playing through one game each game at a time with a break in between would certainly help hinder the stale feeling of the sequel.
When I started to play the game I was really excited as I love Tactical RPG’s. I love playing through them and finding everything there is to discover and developing my characters as far as I can. I enjoyed my playthrough of Will of the White Lions. I was really excited to start The Order of the Silver Eagle but shortly after starting I realized there was nothing new. By the time I got to Grey Wolves of War I was still holding out hope that there would be something new, but unfortunately there wasn’t. Mercenaries Chronicles Saga offers a decent amount of gameplay that averages about five dollars a game. Which really is not a terrible price. However, the lack of freshness does hold it back. Players looking for a game that has all the basics of a Tactical RPG will not be disappointed.
Review: Mercenaries Saga Chronicles (Nintendo Switch)
Mercenaries Chronicles Saga offers a decent amount of gameplay that averages about five dollars a game. Which really is not a terrible price. However, the lack of freshness does hold it back.