Mercenaries Saga 2: Order of the Silver Eagle (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Andrew 16.08.2015

Review for Mercenaries Saga 2: Order of the Silver Eagle on Nintendo 3DS

Mercenaries Saga 2: Order of the Silver Eagle is a turn-based strategy game reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. Many of the positive aspects of these games have been adopted to make a coherent and challenging gameplay experience, but there are not a lot of features that haven't been seen elsewhere.

Mercenaries Saga 2's levels consist of battles, with up to six player-controlled allies taking on a horde of enemies. Each turn allows for every character to move and do one other action (typically a physical or magical attack). Battles are relatively short, with even the lengthiest clocking in at about 10 minutes, but despite this, there is a surprising amount of depth involved. Usually, the aim is simply to defeat all enemies, although there is some slight variation on this theme. The fights are difficult, but rewarding, and technical nous is required during both the battle and beforehand, as setting up the appropriate team is a vital part of the strategy. As a whole, the battle system, and indeed the game itself, offers nothing new, but it is consistently solid, with a lengthy main quest.

The game starts with the briefest of tutorials before plunging the player into the action. Whilst it would be logical for further tutorials later on in the adventure to delve into the more subtle aspects of the game, these never materialise. It is never explained how to adapt or upgrade the equipment, class and magic of characters, for example. In fact, these upgrades or not even mentioned. In some ways, this is a good thing, providing a sense of discovery and exploration, even if that exploration is only within menus, and it is refreshing to explore what MC2 has to offer without the slightest hint of mollycoddling.

The customisation itself obviously allows for personalisation, and characters can add depth to repeat playthroughs, as character traits can be set differently. On the other hand, the lack of explanations does little to reassure gamers that are not familiar with the genre. Even on Easy Mode the difficulty will exponentially increase without weapon or class upgrades, and the smallest of pointers as to how to proceed ("Click here to visit the shop") would have gone a long way. To some, it may feel like useful upgrades are hidden away within menus, even if those menus are not hard to navigate once discovered.

Screenshot for Mercenaries Saga 2: Order of the Silver Eagle on Nintendo 3DS

This state of slight confusion also extends to stats, which are regularly displayed on the bottom screen. Most will be comfortable with the idea of Lv, HP and ATK stats, but what about things like GRD, VIT or AVD? There is little to no guidance on what these numbers represent, even within the manual. Of course, the general policy of "bigger is better" allows for a rough guide that's good enough to select most items/characters, but there are 29 different stat numbers in each character's profile. Why even bother displaying the numbers if the meaning is so opaque? It's a source of frustration that upgrades are based solely on stats, but the meaning of the number is not always obvious, or even discoverable.

Ultimately, about a third of the time is spent on upgrading and customising characters before a battle. This may seem like a lot, but the experience of upgrading and tweaking is enjoyable as an activity if focusing on the bigger picture. Another third is spent on the battles themselves, leaving the last third for the story. The storyline is rather mundane and the cut-scenes are quite basic, focusing on text to read. There is an option to whizz through the scenes at lightning speed, which is definitely handy, but there is no option to skip them altogether, which is a shame, particularly if levels need repeating.

Graphically, MC2 has a (seemingly intentional) retro feel to it. All characters are displayed by sprites, and the maps are displayed in a pseudo-3D isometric style. This does create a few small problems, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, characters can occasionally be quite hidden due to changes in elevation of the map or when they are behind each other. Secondly, the controls take a few minutes to get used to, as the tiles are tilted diagonally from the player's perspective, meaning that they don't map to the D-pad 1:1. Ultimately, these are relatively small issues, though, and a slight delay in response time due to them can be forgiven when the game is turn-based with no time limit.

One point of disappointment is the fact that Mercenaries Saga 2 does not really take advantage of the features of the 3DS. The lack of 3D support is disappointing, but what really stands out is the lack of support for the touch screen. All game maps and battles are displayed on the top screen, and so moving troops or selecting menus using the touch screen is a non-starter. The Circle Pad controls are also not ideal due to the tiled nature of the game, but the D-pad fulfils its role well enough.

Screenshot for Mercenaries Saga 2: Order of the Silver Eagle on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Mercenaries Saga 2 is designed with fans of turn-based strategy games in mind. It doesn't push the genre to its limits or even offer anything particularly new, but it's a solid addition nonetheless. For its price, the title certainly punches above its weight.

Developer

Rideon

Publisher

Circle

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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