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MS Saga: A New Dawn Preview

Scheduled release date:
February 2006
Release Date:

There are plenty of games that put you in command of a
giant robot letting you slug it out with other large robots, but there aren't
tons of RPG's that feature these giant mechanized beasts. MS Saga: A New Dawn is
one such game, and it focuses on storytelling, interacting with tons of people,
and of course customizing your Mobile Suit. The game is a PlayStation 2
exclusive, and it's due out sometime this February – though a solid release date
has not been locked in.

You can view the game's intro movie right here.

MS Saga follows the exploits of two orphan teenagers,
Tristan and Fritz who through bizarre circumstances come into possession of two
mobile suits. Being an RPG, the story unfolds over time, so you never really
know what is happening until the end. But, from what I've played so far, the two
set off to avenge the death of Miss Natalie, a kind woman who ran the orphanage,
and met her demise at the hands of some giant robots. If you've watched any
anime at all, you know that nobody can stand in the way of a teenager determined
to go off to battle, and the two head off to uncover exactly why their orphanage
was destroyed. There's also the matter of a mysterious G System, which
apparently is very powerful and can do great damage when in the wrong hands…

Click here if you'd like to see the game's combat in action.

While I'm not very far into the game, MS Saga feels like a
traditional turn-based RPG. Battles are random, the combat is pretty basic, and
will instantly be familiar to RPG veterans. One of the key elements of the game
is the customization that it allows. There are 39 different customizable mobile
suites, and they can be personalized with over 260 parts. Even early on in the
game you have access to several weapons, and it's up to you whether you want
your suit to be better at ranged attacks or excel at melee combat. If you're not
big into tinkering, a handy auto-upgrade feature will do all the work for you,
setting you up with the best mobile suit possible.

The overworld is viewed from a distance at slight angle
above the main character. Indoors and in towns the camera gets closer, showing
off the characters, which were designed by Akira Yasuda, who you may know from a
little series called Street Fighter. Mr. Yasuda definitely went to town on some
of the people's outfits – they're a little on the outrageous side. That said,
they do go a long ways towards making the game feel like a cartoon, as well as
making it stand out from every other RPG out there.

The music is a mixture of electronic/synthesized themes, an
over-the-top theme song that is sung in Japanese, and a catchy "town theme" that
feels like it was ripped straight from a Final Fantasy game. The voice acting is
passable, but doesn't sound like it's going to win any awards. The same goes for
the game's text translation, which is okay, but feels a little awkward, and had
a pretty major typo not ten minutes into the game.

Since no firm release date has been determined for MS Saga:
A New Dawn, we're going to delve a little deeper into the game and bring you
some more impressions. Of course, as soon as we find out a release date, we'll
pass it along to you.

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