When it comes to turn-based RPGs like Saviors of Sapphire Wings, I always have two MAJOR concerns that need to be addressed before I’m properly invested.
1: Does the combat have any interesting mechanics or fun gimmicks that can hold my attention?
2: Will the story keep me invested throughout the 30+ hour campaign these games are typically known for?
Unfortunately, Saviors of Sapphire Wings falls short on both of these fronts. Not only is the story extremely generic and run-of-the-mill, but the overall gameplay suffers much of the same fate.
Everything’s Fine… But Is That Enough?
Technically speaking, nothing is wrong with this title. It looks and plays A-OK. My main issue here is with how plain everything comes across. It’s as if the developers were like:
“Hey boss, we’ve got all the traditional elements of an RPG, what can we add in to spice things up?” And then the manger replied
“What are you talking about? These games aren’t supposed to be fun, Gary! You’re fired.”
Examining the actual gameplay itself, it’s very similar to the Etrian Odyssey and Mary Skelter series. A total of six characters line up in battle, taking turns assigning their appropriate actions, healing when necessary, using items they’ve created through cooking, alchemy and so forth. You know the drill. The issue is, there’s barely anything else happening here.
Attacking, defending and casting spells only gets an RPG so far.
To put things in perspective; think of some of your absolute favourite RPGs, and you’ll most likely recall some of their more unique, intriguing features. Whereas with Saviors of Sapphire Wings, it’s got all the basic foundations of a dungeon-crawling RPG… But doesn’t necessarily hook you with anything specific. Attacking, defending and casting spells only gets an RPG so far. And because of this, Sapphire Wings gets stale – way too fast.
A Few Good Things In Saviors of Sapphire Wings
That being the case, pacing-wise, I did like how you can either play out a round’s battle action in full detail or just skip to the final result with a single button press. Also, the fact that you can individually customise each party members’ class, sub-class, appearance and skill point distribution at any time outside a dungeon is mighty convenient…
That’s about all I’ve got for positives, to be honest.
Moving through the dungeons is fine. If you follow along with the bland-looking map, there shouldn’t be many issues.
Although, it doesn’t help that the majority of environments and textures are all copy-paste, cookie-cutter assets. Like they belong in a PS2 RPG.
A-Yup, This Is Frustrating Now
There were also some ridiculously frustrating segments as well. The biggest offenders being; making the player randomly check walls to find hidden paths, or the main story suddenly screeching to a halt, as the party would now be required to fight previously optional battles scattered around the map. Each of these escapades almost always resulting in countless amounts of backtracking.
Each of these escapades almost always resulting in countless amounts of backtracking.
I distinctly remember completing one of the longer dungeons and a party member directly asked me after a difficult fight
“Do you wanna go back to town?” Which I obviously said “yes” to, no hesitation… And then NOTHING happened!
What is this? Troll level 9,000? C’mon game, don’t make us walk 15 minutes ALL the way back to the entrance with a half-dead party! Not cool!…
As a whole, Saviors of Sapphire Wings just loves making the player walk back and forth, fighting random battles for no apparent reason. Even though it’s a dungeon-crawler at heart, this is still padding at its finest.
Saviors of Sapphire Wings’ Generic Story & Characters
In regards to the story and characters, it’s not much better. The cast is all very cliche anime with garden-variety motivations. There are some funny lines from a few party members, but that’s about all you’re getting. Get ready for the standard Kingdom Hearts phrases of “light”, “darkness” and “my friends are my power” for days. Couple that with an obsessive, non-stop praise for the ‘chosen one’ who will ‘bring down a great, menacing evil’ because they’re amazing and legendary and all that jazz…
Good thing the music has some catchy, symphonic tunes to tie you over. Because otherwise, I would’ve stopped playing even quicker.
And you’ve seen this trope done heaps better before. That’s all I’m trying to say. Good thing the music has some catchy, symphonic tunes to tie you over. Because otherwise, I would’ve stopped playing even quicker.
At the end of the day, is Saviors of Sapphire Wings worth your time? Honestly, to tell you the truth… Only if there’s no other game in sight. It bears the shell of an RPG, but unfortunately, doesn’t exactly expand upon any of its foundations. The back-tracking is tedious, the battles are basic and the story is as generic as it gets. Best give this a pass.
Saviors of Sapphire Wings works on a technical level and contains the core elements of an RPG, but ultimately loses its charm extremely fast. Recommended only for the most loyal of dungeon-crawling enthusiasts.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by NIS America. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.