Metal Saga
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 12/31/2006

It all began in 1991, with an NES game entitled Metal Max. Never released stateside, this game spawned a sequel for the SNES in 1993, which also fell into the pit of non-localization. Finally, in 2006, the series was resurrected for the PlayStation 2 in the form of Metal Saga, which finally spoke English for the first time, thanks to Atlus.

The future is bleak. After a computer malfunction reminiscent of Terminator’s Skynet, the world was rent asunder and nearly every city on the planet was wiped out. Many years later, humanity is beginning to pick up the pieces of its former life. Old technology is being excavated, and many of the machines that contributed to wiping out civilization before are still loose. This is where the player comes in. The son of a mechanic and a hunter, one is given the choice of being a mechanic or a hunter. The selection of mechanic produces the game’s first ending, in which (very minor spoiler) the player lives the rest of their days in peaceful boredom, mechanicking things like new (end). As a hunter, however, adventures ensue. Indeed, they ensue like the dickens!

Screen Shot
Both of those dogs are going to explode when they die, and I have no idea why~

Metal Saga plays out much like the Square Enix series of the same name, being highly open-ended. Much of the story’s progression comes in the form of bounties, which can be hunted much like nearly every bounty ever. Once the bounty is completed, rewards are earned, which range from money to…um…money. Various other tasks can be completed, and there are many different endings strewn about the game. Three additional characters can also join the player, a mechanic, a warrior, and a bazooka dog.

Of course, a bounty cannot be defeated without a battle system to fight and defeat it with, unless they added in some rock-paper-scissors system without telling anyone. Battles are the standard turn-based affair, and can take place either on foot or in tanks. It should be noted that enemies, no matter what kind it is or what it is made of will, without fail, explode upon death. Tanks can be customized at most towns in garages, allowing one to change basically everything that can be changed on a tank, which includes armor, engines, weapons, and accessories such as the totally sweet spikes that allow for ramming speed, and even paint.

Screen Shot
“Mom, I’m leaving to go kill giant robots in the tank I found in the junkyard!” “Okay, be back by dinner…”

The graphics of Metal Saga leave much to be desired, with relatively simple textures and models, splattered with lifeless greens and browns which are most likely due to the post-apocalyptic wasteland setting. That still doesn’t mean everything has to be so BROWN. Audio is where the game really shines, fitting well with the settings, the battle music standing out the most, which utilizes some wonderful electric guitar. And the soundtrack is nowhere to be found.

Overall, Metal Saga proves to be a worthwhile game for a player looking for a simple, open-ended experience with as much depth as one wants, with a smattering of unexpected but entirely welcome humor, and also a dog with a bazooka strapped to its back.

-Quinton Alexander

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Good
Story Below Average
Graphics Bad
Sound/Music Great
Replay Value Average
The Verdict: 5