Posted on December 9, 2010, Phil Owen Unbound Saga Review
The brawler is a weird genre. It came about because of the limitations of the hardware for which the games were created, and over the years it grew into the third-person action games like God of War we now know and love so much. New brawlers, now, are throwbacks, but people still like them and it’s a good genre for developers working on a small budget. And so we have Unbound Saga developed by Vogster.
The game came out on PSP last year, and last week it hit the Xbox Live Arcade. I didn’t play it on PSP, so I’m looking at it through fresh eyes. And I generally like what I see.
Unbound Saga (XBox360 [Reviewed], PSP)
Developer: Vogster Entertainment
Publisher: Vogster Entertainment
Release Date: December 01, 2010
When you first boot up Unbound Saga, it looks and plays like any random 90s brawler. Punch with A, kick with B, grab with X, block with Left Trigger. It handles a bit clunkily, which means it feels about right. You can co-op this bitch if you want. The story is told through comic book-like cutscenes. So far, you’re feeling right at home.
But Unbound Saga is deeper than just that. The two playable characters, Lori and Rick, have completely different fighting styles; Lori is quick, can jump and has a ranged attack, while Rick is a brute force-type motherf–ker who grabs people and slams them against the wall (I tended to favor Lori). If you’re playing alone, you can switch back and forth as you please.
There’s a competitive angle to it all as well. You earn points as you knock out your foes, and you earn a multiplier for knocking out a bunch of baddies in a row without taking damage. The points, then, go up on Xbox Live leaderboards and you can compare your performance to that of your friends.
The gamer is deeper than just that, too, however, because it’s got heavy RPG elements as well. As you beat the s–t out of your enemies, you’ll collect skill points, which you can use to earn new abilities. The real reason I favored Lori is because she has some really badass abilities that allow her to dominate battles from afar; I’m specifically referring to her gas grenades and the clone of herself she can spawn that will run around and fight. On top of that, she can turn herself invisible in “shadows,” and while invisible, if you unlock the Assassinate ability, she has a good chance of taking down enemies in one hit.
Things like that are why I like the game. With these abilities, Unbound Saga has a pretty satisfying strategy element that goes a long way toward making this otherwise unremarkable game worth a damn.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. The whole thing is presented comic book style, like Comix Zone, and the hook is that Rick has been in the comic for so long that he’s aware he’s in a comic. And every time anything happens, and I mean anything, he starts bitching about how whatever it is is just some lame manipulation by the guy who’s making the book. Really. There could be a pretty interesting meta-story in the concept of a completely self-aware comic book hero, but Vogster instead took the concept and jumped off a skyscraper with it.
But, hey, it’s a brawler, and you aren’t playing it for the story. And it’s important to note the game is going for 800 MS points, which is a pretty good price for an XBLA game these days. So if you’re in to this kinda thing, I suspect you’ll have a good time with it.
- Fighting is fun!
- RPG elements
- Certainly replayable
- The meta-story is stupid