Mercenaries Saga Chronicles - Nintendo Switch Review

A bit too old school

Game Info:

  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: CIRCLE Entertainment / PM Studios
  • Developer: RideonJapan, Inc
  • Release Date: Sept 11, 2018

Who it Caters to

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You know what we here at Honey’s Anime noticed as of late? There is a draught of good old-school tactic-based games and that hurts our gaming hearts slightly. Thankfully, developer RidenJapan, Inc alongside CIRCLE Entertainment and PM Studios, has released Mercenaries Saga Chronicles which is exactly what we’ve been looking for in our gaming experience. CIRCLE Entertainment was in charge of localizing the game and releasing the digital release while PM Studios took care to release the physical copy! Based on a series of mobile games, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles has three games together all of which have been reformatted to play similar to the third entry in the franchise. Those who miss the old grind of placing units around a map and moving them to defeat other enemies in turn based battles will want to continue reading what we have to say about Mercenaries Saga Chronicles.

What to Expect

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Mercenaries Saga Chronicles plays very similarly to older tactical role-playing games—TRPGs—akin to Final Fantasy Tactics and/or Tactics Ogre. Players guide their characters across grid-based maps damaging enemy troops and leveling up. As the player levels up, they are able to advance their individual classes in branching categories gaining new skills and powers to become stronger and keep character progression less linear than most TRPGs. With not one but three games, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles offers a big title that can easily take 60+ hours. Expect a very old school experience that will bring you back to the older days of gaming when you enter the world of Mercenaries Saga Chronicles.


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Mercenaries Saga Chronicles follows not one but several stories depending on which game you play. Each story focuses primarily on a small group of young warriors who end up finding themselves thrust into the heat of war and political strife for some reasons or another. With three separate stories, players will see various teams such as the White Lions, Silver Eagles and Grey Wolves—all of which follow the title of their respected entries in game—go from small group of mercenaries to those who champion for something greater. Are you ready, player? The world of Mercenaries Saga Chronicles awaits to show you what it means to be a mercenary driven by more than just desires and gold.


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Back in the 90s, PS1 reigned supreme in terms of TRPGs thanks to titles like Final Fantasy Tactics, Front Mission 3 and Tactics Ogre. Though as time has passed, the TRPG genre has come to a bit of a slow down and while we still get a decent amount to enjoy—Fire Emblem, for example—we have missed those older TRPGs and continued to want to play them even as young adults. That’s why when Mercenaries Saga Chronicles came onto our desks here at Honey’s Anime, we were more than excited given the series is known for echoing the classic TRPGs from the yesteryear consoles. However, does Mercenaries Saga Chronicles make for a good trip down memory lane or did playing it make us remember why old school isn’t always a good thing? Why don’t we find out together in our review of Mercenaries Saga Chronicles for the Nintendo Switch?

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:

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Mercenaries Saga Chronicles is what we consider a solid game in an amazing package, but it’s still not without its flaws. Gamers who loved the old school tactics found in Final Fantasy Tactics or the million other older tactic RPGs will love the style and gameplay found in Mercenaries Saga Chronicles. However, for those who want a bit more of a modern era feel, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles is old and it not only looks it, plays like it but also screams it. Battles will take on average 10-20 minutes and everything from the sprites to the maps look to be comparable to the PS1 era of graphics. Yet, with not one but three games that harken to simpler times, this old feel isn’t going to be a turn off for all and might be a godsend for those heavily invested in the yesteryears of tactical titles. We recommend Mercenaries Saga Chronicles to those gamers who are more about old school turn based grid movement and don’t need flashy visuals to be impressed.

Honey's Pros:

  • 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

Honey's Cons:

  • Visually looks extremely dated
  • All three stories can be a bit formulaic
  • Gameplay format might be overly simple for some

Honey's Final Verdict:

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The beauty of games like Mercenaries Saga Chronicles is that it echoes older games that were once considered beloved to TRPG fans. While that might not be everyone’s cup of tea—we figured to use a dated quote to go with that previous statement—there will be plenty of people who enjoy the feeling of reliving the past. That’s why we like Mercenaries Saga Chronicles for what it is but understand its shortcomings as well.

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.

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Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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