Love FPS? Adore RTS? Savage is your dream come true...
Covered in a recent allaboutgames.co.uk preview, Savage is an innovative RTS/FPS crossover from newcomers S2Games. Although it's been out for a while in the states, with the European release comes a new site (www.savageeurope.com) and a version boost to 2.0.
Savage's gameplay is much like it was when we last covered it, however there are some worthy additions to the full (2.0) game. One of the most noticeable differences is that there are two races; Humans and Beasts. Although when you first play against the beasts it may seem like the races are unbalanced, once you actually play as a beast you see that they are fairly evenly matched; beasts are far better than humans at close range, but for long range damage you can't beat a human.
New in Savage 2.0 are also healer units. These do exactly what they say on the tin: heal. It's my experience that, although healers would be useful, they tend to be underused; whether this is just because 2.0 is a new release will be seen in time.
There is good variation in maps in Savage; from sparsely populated, vast open spaces, to densely packed small areas which provoke constant conflict - Savage will probably give you what you want in a map. Maps aren't just set in one time period either; matches can last some time (no more than one hour though) and throughout the match the time period changes from day to night (a la Black and White).
Savage isn't a perfect game (what game ever is?), but its problems are not game-shattering. Probably the biggest hurdle for newcomers is the lack of a tutorial option – the only way to learn how to play is to read the manual and dive right in. As long as you aren't stuck with players who vocally complain about newbies, you'll be fine though. Also the engine doesn't have the best graphics in the world; it's not eye-bleedingly poor though, so it's only a minor quibble. The in-game IRC is also not very non-player friendly; it doesn't say which server it connects to (through the wonders of packet sniffing I found out it connects to irc.homelan.com), and uses some weird nickname system, but for most players this won't be too annoying.
Sure, Savage may not have the greatest graphics ever, nor instant recognition like Unreal Tournament, but if you're looking for a new game you may as well try the demo, then pick it up if you like it.
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