Savage Skies takes place in another world in the times of dragons and powerful warring factions. Every faction has their own reasons for taking out other factions, but it is never clearly stated what exactly those reasons are. The game will constantly drone on about victory this and that, and ruler of so-and-so land. It is as if they are trying to tell an epic 6-part story within the confines of a 2-page brochure. What this all boils down to is a storyline that you could care less about. Add on the over-the-top heavy metal/medieval motif and the end result is 4 gigs of data that doesn't know where the hell its going. Ozzy Osbourne was originally on board to play a significant role in this game but since Bam! Entertainment couldn’t pony up the cash to license his likeness, they had to scrap their plans and squeeze out a game before people started becoming suspicious.
Graphically, the game looks good enough; the various flying creatures are well animated and adequately detailed. Surroundings are vast and the draw distance is rarely a problem. Explosions are intense and satisfying. The CG cinemas look impressive and convey a big sense of excitement but since the narrator persists on endlessly yakking about forgettable and confusing things the whole time, it overshadows the coolness of the video clips. Voice work sounds forced and boring; RESSURECTION! DEATH! CONFLICT! Half the time you don't even know what the annoying narrator is babbling on about. Music is not any better with over-the-top heavy metal butt-rock guitar riffs blaring in complete disorder. Sound effects are your run-of-the-mill generic sound bytes that do little to improve the overall enjoyability of the experience.
Controlling the various dragons and other flying creatures takes some getting used to and even after hours of playing, the control layout still doesn't make much sense. L-Trigger changes your perspective around and pressing X will move you forward. The square button will slow you down and make you go backwards when you are on land. When in the air though, the ability to go in reverse is not available. To land, you press the square button two times and to take off you hit X two times. There is rarely any reason to land and this ability feels like it was thrown in as an afterthought.
Each creature you pilot will have a main and secondary attack, which you can perform by pressing R-1 or R-2 respectively. Mines can be dropped behind your person, if they are equipped, by tapping on the triangle button. Each creature has a different set of attacks and attributes, which is a worthy attempt at keeping the action fresh. Unfortunately, objectives can be very ambiguous and mindlessly wandering around through levels happens far too frequently. Each stage will offer a new objective but most revolve around protecting a base, escorting cargo ships or taking them out, and destroying enemy installations – think Bloodwake, only without the cool graphics and entertainment value. The best way to describe the onscreen action is frantic and confusing. The weirded-out gameplay mixed with the frustrating mission objectives relegates this title to rental status at best.
There are a few shining moments in the game that manage to be entertaining, though the dragon-based dogfights can be enjoyable. There is also a large assortment of controllable creatures and variety in surroundings. On top of the main 1-player mode, Bam! also saw fit to include a couple 2-player battle modes. Of the included 2-player modes is head-to-head, time attack and team battle. These options are far from impressive and are just your basic straightforward multiplayer components. As you progress through the story mode you’ll be able to unlock various multiplayer maps, and the majority of beasties in the game can only be seen by completing various optional objectives in the story mode. More often then not you will find that the pros of the game cannot hold a candle to the cons.
Every level has 3 or more objectives but you only need to fulfill the main one to progress. It is unlikely that you will go back to previous levels to take care of the second and third objectives but if you did, it would prolong the length of the game considerably. As it stands, you probably won't even have the patience to finish the bare minimum of the game's requirements. Looking at this parts-and-pieces mish-mash of a game makes you wonder what exactly they had planned for Ozzy Osbourne in the game; maybe he was the missing ingredient. However, that is neither here nor there. In actuality, the developers seem to have set their sights high but failed in almost every regard. You'd be well advised to forget that this game even exists, the only thing it succeeds in doing is inducing hours of hair-pulling frustration. You've been warned.