- System: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: CIRCLE Entertainment / PM Studios
- Developer: RideonJapan, Inc
- Release Date: Sept 11, 2018
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: Tactical RPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/mercenaries-saga-chronicles-switch
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
Mercenaries Saga Chronicles originally released on mobile devices as separate titles—Mercenaries Saga: Will of the White Lions being the first—but now has come to the Nintendo Switch as a trilogy series all on one cartridge. Each entry has also been revamped to play more akin to the last entry—Mercenaries Saga 3: Gray Wolves of War—so Mercenaries Saga Chronicles doesn’t feel like a hodgepodge of new and old titles. This works wonders, too, as the games can be played in any order and always follow a new group of characters rather than making players play each title in order of release for the full story. We enjoyed this aspect of Mercenaries Saga Chronicles the most as we liked some stories a bit more than each other and we assume many gamers will feel the same. Now with that bit of knowledge out of the way, let us dive into what you will be doing in Mercenaries Saga Chronicles.
Instead of breaking down each game individually—and spending a lot of time with repetitive information—we decided to lump our experience with all three games into one singular review. Each Mercenaries Saga Chronicles’ title plays exactly the same. Take control of a group of characters, lead them into grid-based combat where you attack, use magic, heal and so forth each turn and then rinse and repeat several dozen more times. We won’t say it doesn’t sound repetitive—because it is—but that makes it easier to understand what you’re in for in the long haul. Mercenaries Saga Chronicles does pull off a few neat tricks though that keep it from being too much of a clone to other TPRGs and that mainly appears in the leveling system.
While most TRPGs have a focus on leveling up dozens of job classes to learn new skills and so forth, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles relies on a simple but unique level up format. When a character reaches a specific milestone level—the first being level 10—they can choose branching paths for their character. An example is a fighter can branch into a Mercenary or Knight and then at level 20 can branch into two other classes depending on your first choice. Each class has specific pros and cons, but it makes for a unique way of leveling up rather than just going up numbers to increase stats and skill points. In many ways, this system can be compared to what Fire Emblem games do when you use a Master Seal on a character, but think simpler than that and you get the general idea of what Mercenaries Saga Chronicles tries to accomplish.
Mercenaries Saga Chronicles’ combat is where we think some of you might find this type of TRPG style a bit overly old school. As we mentioned previously, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles harkens back to the old days of TRPGs and while we love that gameplay format we also notice it makes for some rather boring gameplay after several hours. There are branching paths that lead to new characters and so forth, but more often than not, this system doesn’t change much from the move unit here, attack, level up and move on gameplay system. Mercenaries Saga Chronicles feels dated and looks it as well. We mean that last sentence literally as this is where Mercenaries Saga Chronicles suffers the most, visuals and music.
Visually, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles looks to be ripped from the PS1’s later years and that really hurts the presentation. Don’t expect fancy sprites or set locations… Mercenaries Saga Chronicles uses very simple settings that range from grass field, grass field with a house or two and town with…grass. The music mirrors the simple graphics with tunes that repeat often and while they don’t sound bad—some of the tracks are excellent—there were times we muted our sound and played our own music to save ourselves from hearing a looping track. Though we do commend Mercenaries Saga Chronicles for its excellent character models that are beautifully crafted and very different from one another.
Our last comment is a simple issue we have with Mercenaries Saga Chronicles and that’s the game choosing system. Most games that feature multiple titles on one disc or cartridge allow players to hit options, quit the game and go to another title. Mercenaries Saga Chronicles doesn’t allow this sadly. If you want to switch between each game, you need to literally quit the game and restart it. Is it a big deal? No, but we do appreciate when games allow an easier way of playing through each title.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Reminiscent of old school TRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics
- Three Games one package means for some lengthy gameplay
- Interesting characters with individual personalities and drama make for good drama
- Visually looks extremely dated
- All three stories can be a bit formulaic
- Gameplay format might be overly simple for some
Honey's Final Verdict:
Though we’ve talked enough about our feelings on Mercenaries Saga Chronicles, we now open the floor to you guys and girls out there. Are you enjoying Mercenaries Saga Chronicles despite the very old school feel? Let us know in the comments below! Remember to keep stuck to our hive also for more game reviews and gaming news curtsey of us here at Honey’s Anime.