Japanese anime and manga series Saint Seiya has been around for quite a while, originally published in late 80s the series built up a fan base that was still going strong in the midst of the Dragonball Z manga era in Japan. Since then the videogame license for the series hasn’t got wild and had game after game attached to its itinerary. Instead the series has enjoyed games here and there on different consoles with the last coming in 2006 on the Nintendo DS. Six years later Japanese developer Dimps and Namco are bringing another game to the series as a PlayStation 3 exclusive. However what’s found in this package is one of missed opportunities, lazyness and repetition.
What’s found in this package is one of missed opportunities, lazyness and repetition.
If unfamiliar with the world of Saint Seiya it is a quite unique setting and storyline. Within the universe there are five guardians called Saints (Seiya, Ikki, Shun, Shiryu, Hyoga) that battle in mystical armour called Cloths which they draw their power from the stars in the constellations. As such their given symbols which go on to identify their special moves within the game, Seiya’s symbol is of a pegasus while Ikki has the phoenix at his disposal. At this point is where the Japanese universe crosses over with Greek mythology. The Saint’s are tasked with protecting the rebirth of the greek god Athena while battling off the rest of the 12 gold Saint’s. These narrative themes could have made story telling within the game interesting, instead the game takes a weird decision to tell the story through still images and voice overs instead of actual cut scenes. In addition to that dialogue between characters is put in a ridiculous motion of having the two characters talk to each other in a certain backdrop depending on which temple of the 12 Saint’s you’re at.
From there the game goes downhill even more. When watching the games opening title sequence you’d be forgiven if you ramped yourself up in anticipation at the action packed anime scenes if you thought gameplay would be similar or resemble it even. Dash those hopes, Japanese voices are present throughout the game, although does a good job keeping players up to date with the subtitles. From here comes the only depth the game offers and in the end even this turns out to be shallow. Players can level up their characters and purchase items and moves, all range in different prices bought in the currency of Cosmos Points. Each Saint has a Energy, Cosmos, Attack, Defence, and luck meter for players to max out in leveling up and equipping items onto. While these features have same depth of other games in the genre it does keep the game simple for users who don’t want to divulge into that.
As the game draws you into battle it shows off a map of 12 temples, a recurring theme within the game these temples mostly consist of all the environment you’re going to see. Each level starts off with the player being dropped at point A with the goal of getting to point B which of course is the temple. Each level makes a sly move to make you think you’re in a different area by changing the shade and colour of each run up to the temple, it’s very easy to spot when you think to yourself “have I seen that column before?”.
Combat within Saint Seiya has evidently been given some thought but ultimately has been poorly executed. In only what can be described as a watered down Dynasty Warriors, repetitive button bashing is the name of the game here. As waves and waves of enemies come and mashing of the square and triangle buttons will service and will evidently get boring after a while. The developers make use of special attacks and modes to mix up combat and provide some diversity. Players can make use of the cosmos bar at the top of the screen unleash projectile attacks depending on which Saint you are. These moves however fail to revive what was an already dead game scenario. The enemies themselves pose more of a light laugh than what they deserve. As you trudge through the already drab environments of the game same enemy type litter your screen with the only variant being their size or what weapon their holding, add to that the furious button bashing component and this game is really a poor sight to see. The game will through in addition of 20+ enemies at you in some cases and can leave your thumbs in a state of damage.
Aside from the one positive note is however the boss battles. As you get to the climax of each temple you’re greeted by one of the golden Saint’s with the task of defeating them and advancing on to the next temple. These boss battles present the player with different scenarios and situations. One boss battle has you facing the taurus Saint where direct attacks don’t affect him while his arms are crossed with the only way to defeat him being to activate the seventh sense and unleash your big bang attack. Rinse and repeat is still in these segments but each boss battle varies as the scenarios change.
Saint Seiya is in the end let down by its repetitiveness, grinding and poor enemies.
One of my major gripes with the game is amazingly not the combat, it is however with the camera itself. the developers decided to put the camera a bit too close to the character and you lose sight of what is behind you or in most cases what is coming up from behind. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth each time a enemy gets a cheap shot at you from this poor camera angle. It is just adds to the number of this within the game and deflates any fun you’re having with the game at the time.
Saint Seiya is in the end let down by its repetitiveness, grinding and poor enemies. Small positives can be taken from it but these don’t outweigh all the problems the game poses to players.
Rating: Below AverageReview Policy(version tested: PS3)
Saint Seiya: Sanctuary battle is out now exclusively on PlayStation 3. You can order a copy here.