From developer Rideon and publisher CIRCLE Ent. comes Mercenaries Saga Chronicles, the game that combines three previous entries in the Mercenaries Saga Chronicles Saga tactical RPG series: Order of the Silver Eagle (2), Gray Wolves of War (3), and for the first time on a console Will of the White Lions (1).
While each story tends to follow a similar pacing arc, I was surprised that the development team was able to have three distinct storylines present, even though the games play identically to one another. Each one has its own premise, and I’ll break down the backstory’s of each one below.
Will of the White Lions – In the first title in the series you take control of Leon, the commander of the White Lions mercenary clan. While the majority of this story sees you do what mercenaries are often tasked with doing (battling against bandits and destroying monsters to help other people) a turn of events thrusts you into the middle of a great war!
Order of the Silver Eagle – In the series second title you control the leader of the Kingdom’s Order of the Silver Eagle, Claude. What starts off as business as usual quickly turns as you fail to protect Prince Laz from being poisoned by an assassin sent to strike him down! It falls to you to find the antidote and save the prince from sure death!
Gray Wolves of War – The third title sees you take over a new band of mercenaries, this time named for the Gray Wolves. Marion is your mercenary band leader, ultimately being tapped by the kingdom to help thwart the uprising of a Liberation Army!
As a set of three tactical role-playing games, all three of these titles follow identical formats from a gameplay perspective. In each scenario you control a team of characters across a grid battlefield in order to defeat opposing groups in turn based combat. By battling you earn gold and experience points that you then can use to help create the strongest possible team.
While it is your turn, you make decisions for your individual team members. This consists primarily of moving them across the grid so they can get in a position to either attack opposing team members or utilize a wide variety of skills that can include healing your party, collecting treasure from the grid, or defending themselves from future attack. Upon completing battles, your party then moves on to other battle scenarios, and the cycle continues for the duration of the game.
Outside of the battles, each of these games are chock full of decisions to make regarding the make up of your team. Each fighter at your disposal has a different class and rank, with the rank being something that you can level up with enough time and experience. Using combinations of different classes and ranks gives you full customization of the type of team you have. Within each class you have a specific battle or special technique menu to use when you fight. This allows you to tap into each characters unique abilities to help your team conquer every different conflict.
While Mercenaries Sage Chronicles doesn’t do much to innovate on the tactical RPG genre, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a tried and true formula that works with this type of gameplay experience and fans of the genre will come to appreciate the accessibility of these games. Throw in the fact that you have three games (albeit all very similar…) in one package and you’ve really got a lot of content to work with, making this a great value of a game bundle.
Considering the often ‘retro’ feel of quite a few titles on the Nintendo Switch, Mercenaries Saga Chronicles feels right at home with its pixelated sprites juxtaposed with illustrated character models that present themselves very well. The feel of the entire game (for better or worse…) is that of the Fire Emblem series, and you can tell the development team even went as far as to present the game in a similar style to that long running series. The same can be said of the sound design for the game. Nothing comes off as jarring or out of place, making for an all around pleasant presentation in an all around average game.
The best thing this game has going for it is the fact that you get three games in one convenient bundle. The sheer amount of content that includes is extraordinary! It is the nature of the tactical RPG genre to often feel repetitive, but that’s ok given the large number of customization options within your team and the accessibility of these games as a whole. I learned to appreciate the strategy of the battle sequences and intentionality of crafting my team while playing these games, and I’ve left this experience a new fan of the genre. I give my Nintendeal seal of approval to the digital edition only (this is coming from a physical purist) however, as I just couldn’t justify the significant price increase for the physical cartridge. If you’re someone who wants to experience this genre for the first time, this bundle is jam packed with content that will serve as a great entry point.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download & Physical Cartridge (Amazon affiliate link)
Publisher – CIRCLE Ent.
Developer – Rideon
Price – eShop – $14.99 Physical* – $28.49
Genre – Strategy, Role-Playing
Size – 252MB
*Prices for physical cartridges are reflective of the time of publishing and may change
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.