Reviews - Updated on March 31, 2022

Mercenaries Saga is a series of Japanese tactical RPGs in the spirit of Final Fantasy Tactics that have been released since 2010 and feature a new group of mercenaries each time. The stories are dramatic and even relevant in terms of social issues. This is especially true of Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons, the fifth installment that came out first on Switch and PS4, and recently made its way to computers.

Socialism in Japan

The plot of Mercenaries Blaze tells about a group of mercenaries Twin Dragons. It is led by a warrior named Lester, the son of a well-known and respected, but already deceased general. The circumstances of his death were not the most pleasant, and now Lester cannot simply start serving and follow in the footsteps of his father in order to return his honest name – first you need to earn a reputation. And he decides that work as a mercenary is best suited for this.

Twin Dragons are engaged in rather dirty work – they not only hunt monsters, but also catch illegal immigrants to send them to refugee camps. No, the action takes place not in a modern, but in a fictional world close to fantasy and the Middle Ages, but the references and parallels are obvious. Here, after the conflict between the two kingdoms, many refugees have accumulated, who, fleeing the war, flood the neighboring regions.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

An immigrant witch? Seems like it can only happen in this game.

Locals frankly do not like “guests” and consider them a hotbed of crime. Yes, and among the authorities there are frank fascists. And in order to give all this a special glow, the writers made it so that among the members of Lester’s detachment and among his friends there are just visitors. And our hero periodically finds himself in extremely delicate situations – he can, for example, rush to the defense of an old friend who was almost lynched, but then he will still be forced to hand him over to the local guard as an illegal immigrant.

At some point, the Twin Dragons start working for one of the influential ministers, who is known for extreme right-wing views and is sure (or pretends?) That the immigrants are deliberately creating monsters against the local population. This is a profitable contract for the group, but at the same time everyone understands which minister is not good.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

The mercenaries themselves are not happy with their work, but there is nowhere to go.

Soon Lester is approached by one of his father’s former associates, a royal general, who offers the hero to go to serve under his command. It would seem that this is an ideal option to achieve what Lester wanted – to return an honest name to the family and serve in the royal army.

However, in this case, he will have to leave almost all of his fellow Twin Dragons. We decide for ourselves what to do – stay true to our friends or continue the game with other characters. Agree, this is rarely seen even in full-fledged party RPGs.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

A typical situation for this world.

In the traditions of the genre and with a twinkle

Leveling up the party and fighting is exactly the main course of Mercenaries Blaze. For the first time in the series, battles take place on three-dimensional maps: it is important to take into account the distance to the enemy, the height difference, where you hit – in the forehead, from the flank or from the rear (hit from the back causes critical damage).

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

Were you allowed to come in from the back? Now it will hurt.

There were also especially powerful skills that are activated only after the corresponding counter is filled. And the leadership abilities of each character give effects to the whole group – Lester, for example, can increase the health of allies, Connie the archer gives bonuses to critical damage when we hit those who cannot counterattack, and so on. Therefore, it is important to choose who exactly will be the leader in each battle – it becomes the one whom we first place on the field before the fight.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

You can also find consumables and chests with something useful on the maps.

And, of course, it is important to cover each other, heal, strengthen, resurrect the fallen with the help of skills or soul stones. Some characters are able to walk even after an attack or other basic action – this increases the importance of positioning and expands tactical options.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

Height matters here.

Right in the battle, our fighters get new levels and experience points, which then, in between missions, can be spent on upgrading their abilities. Upon reaching the 10th, and then the 20th level, an option appears to choose a new class – this increases the characteristics and gives new skills. True, it is not a fact that they will be better than the previous ones, so they are also allowed to use them.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

The choice of the direction of defense is another tradition of the genre.

In this case, there is always a choice of which additional class to learn. So, a witch is free to retrain as a druid or a sorceress, and a cleric as a priest or templar.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

When changing class, some equipment will become unavailable.

Also, according to all the rules of the genre, in between battles we do shopping. Right there, in the store, they allow you to compare things, evaluate how the characteristics will change, and put on new clothes. And all this is really useful, because the game is quite difficult. Therefore, it is no less useful to go through again (and possibly more than once) side missions before proceeding to the next storyline. Yes, this is grind, but in the tradition of the genre, appropriate, organized (and not chaotic) and therefore not too stressful.

Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons: Обзор

And here you can also combine magic items and get new, more powerful ones.

In principle, the entire Mercenaries Blaze: Dawn of the Twin Dragons fits into the traditions of the genre – it does not bring anything particularly new, but it does not drop the bar either. And in order to reach real masterpieces, she lacks details, depth and scale. But even without this, it is interesting to play and test your tactical skills – connoisseurs of the genre should try it.

Pros: an interesting plot that raises current social topics; exciting and challenging tactical battles; many classes and skills; cute picture.

Cons: compared to the best representatives of the genre, it still lacks scale, depth and detail.

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