Savage: The Battle for Newerth
Strange as it may seem, I've been pretty bored online recently. I seem to have this knack of choosing games that nobody else wants to play. Drifting through the uninhabited servers, I often wonder what it's like to be surrounded by enthusiastic, eager team-mates, all willing me on as I scythe my way through extraterrestrial pie. At least, that's what it used to be like - before Savage.
Savage is social gaming personified. Two opposing teams of up to 32 players (one comprising of humans and the other beasts) each construct a base, research loads of weapons and stalk each other around fantastically designed levels, from mountains to swamps.
Team commanders are the players who generally have the most responsibility, insofar as they're the ones who decide where to build base structures and what the overall strategy should be. For them, the game is played from an overhead RTS viewpoint. For other team members, Savage is a straightforward action game. And although technically you're a mere pawn, you never feel as though you have to do anything.
Do What You Like
Orders from the top are more like suggestions; if you want to help construct a watchtower on the edge of your team's territory then fine - go ahead and do it. If, on the other hand you just want to run around hacking the indigenous wildlife to pieces, you can do that too. Nobody forces you to do anything and it's great to know you can explore your surroundings and not get W the boot for doing so.
The thing about exploring is that you usually stay alive longer too. Even when you take extraordinary care, you'll probably only last a couple of minutes in battle. Your existence is part of a never-ending production line of disposable warriors, who are constantly killed and respawned.
When you do kill an enemy, the corpse drops cash so you can buy new upgrades at your base - everything from plasma guns to stronger avatars. Commanders can even summon giant monsters to do a Godzilla-style demolition job on a rival HQ.
The only downside is the close combat, which basically comprises of running, jumping and slashing with sword or pincer. A few more combos or melee weapons wouldn't have gone amiss.
OK, it may all be utterly brainless, but if you're after a straightforward pick up and play, gung-ho shooter with an RTS sideline, you won't find many better - or friendlier.
Download Savage: The Battle for Newerth
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Online-exclusive titles are becoming more and more common nowadays. Usually, they're in the vein of a FPS or MMORPG, but every now and then something will arrive that's completely new and refreshing. Savage: The Battle for Newerth is that something'creating an entirely new genre with excellent execution.
Categorizing Savage as either a RTS or FPS game would be doing it an injustice. Self-proclaimed as a RTSS (real-time strategy shooter), Savage blends the two genres seamlessly into a unique online game. To get an idea what an RTSS is, think of Battlefield 1942 and it's addictive combat on vast maps. Then think of Warcraft 3, and it's meticulous strategy with a slight RPG twist. Now think of what would happen if the two combined. That's Savage in a nutshell.
Two warring tribes square off each match, with one commander and the rest of the team who play in the FPS mode. The commander oversees things in a traditional RTS fashion while everyone else tries to kill opponents and structures through weapons or melee combat, ala the FPS mode. It's an interesting concept, one that's executed extremely well. While just about every online game incorporates teamwork in some form or another, in Savage it's absolutely vital. It's not all about gunplay in Savage since the maps complement the game's strategic nature, with certain tactics viable for each map. Everything just works really well, with plenty of subtle gameplay features that keep things fun and balanced.
Like most online-exclusive games, the learning curve can be extremely high in Savage. While this is true for the FPS portion, it's very noticeable for the RTS portion. There's no in-game tutorial so you're forced to learn under the heat of battle. Usually this wouldn't be too big of a problem for any regular RTS, but you have to take into account that you're commanding other people. Success is extremely dependent on the commander's skills, and learning the basics of the game with all of your teammates on your back can be quite frustrating. Adding a single player mode for the RTS portion could have helped considerably.
While Savage isn't the next Doom 3, it certainly does look nice. It's similar to Warcraft 3 in most regards, with stylized structures in open and mountainous terrains. Perhaps the biggest fault against Savage is that the draw-in distance could be longer, especially since all of the maps are on open fields. Likewise, the audio also works well, with a grand, epic feel to it. Unfortunately, the music seems out of place at times for the FPS portion, especially since it often slows down to more thoughtful themes'not exactly ideal for the FPS mode. But on the whole, a strong showing on both fronts.
Between all the copycat FPSs and MMORPGs that constitute the majority of online games, it's refreshing to see something like Savage come along. Whether you're an action or strategy enthusiast, there's something for you in Savage. And really, with a few tweaks here and there, Savage could easily become the next big thing in online gaming.