Unbound Saga

Unbound Saga
Format: Microsoft Xbox 360 Live Arcade
Players: 1-2
Online: 2
Price: 800 ms points
Genre: Streets Of Rage’em up
Release Date: 1st December  2010
Vogster Entertainment 

Life isn’t easy for a comic book hero thanks to The Maker being in control of their actions. New bad guy of the month to beat, the odd crossover. Rinse. Repeat. Meat head, Rick Ajax, has had enough though, and sets off to kick the crap out of The Maker and possibly become a Veterinarian. Hot chick sidekick included.

The game is another one of those side scrolling beat’em ups. Think Final Fight, think Streets Of Rage. Playing as one of two characters you walk through comic book panels beating the snot out of thugs and flipping the occasional switch. Rick is the powerhouse, with grabs and item throwing his specialty, while the second character, Lori Machete, deals in trickery and speed. The two are radically different characters which adds a nice mix to the co-op brawling and the ability tree brings some slight customisation to the table. Choosing if you want to deal quad damage or have a wide range of combos early on is one of those choices you’ll make. It is a solid enough romp, though attacks can feel a little hit and miss thanks to some shaky collision detection. Hitting an explosive canister has never been so random.

The game wraps itself up in a rather delicious setting though, the team really have enjoyed making a comic book game come alive. Grotty cities to dusty plains and a self-aware narrative running through, Unbound Saga jumps out of the crowd as something with a personality and a great deal of care lavished behind the concept. Seeing a giant hand of The Maker draw in enemies is always cool to watch and the way the plot twists and turns as characters try to fight their fate is an amusing one. It is just a shame that The Maker seems to run out of ideas, regurgitating settings and enemies in the second half. They suggest his imagination has run wild, but that must mean his imagination is rather limited. Still, a game with thugs, mutants and walking bears in aprons is a little more exciting than a game full of soldiers.

Unbound Saga is a fun title with a cool idea, but it never goes as far with the ideas as you’d expect. With some more time and a bit more leeway on inconsistency when The Maker runs riot, Unbound Saga could have been a classic. Instead it is stuck within its own panels.

6/10

maker, control, creater, tree, imagination lacking

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