Run Saber has both running and Sabers. It plays a little bit like if Ninja Gaiden had a life bar, sort of a weird beat-em up with otherwise neat moves. But it really grinds my gears.
There’s about three minutes of combat against what seems to be unarmed dinosaur people. Sure they start chucking molotovs after a little while, but if some spandex-clad dick started chopping up your friends you’d probably start stuffing rags in Colts too.
Is anyone else bothered by the fact that every single piece of science fiction that has strict rules about non-intervention is the most likely to habitually murder and otherwise interfere with alien cultures? It’s like the second anyone talks about some lofty principle of non-intervention they’re essentially guaranteed to cut the first alien they can find. Okay sure, if you accidentally pick up the last of a race of shapeshifting salivore that starts picking off crew members, stun or ice it or send it back. I get you. No, I don’t care if they’re the last of their species. If god didn’t want us to wreck up endangered aliens he wouldn’t have given us lithium crystal.
And I understand if you’re the last of a race of time custodians and there’s really nobody to keep you honest, but it’s probably poor form to continually show bias for a single group of aliens over every other group. Sure, it seems that humans are the only race that aren’t bent on complete assimilation and destruction of every other race in the universe, but give them a couple of centuries and some lithium crystals and then you’ll have to find another underdog planet.
The real problem here is that you can’t actually tell an interesting story without conflict, and that every science fiction story about exploration would play out in about five minutes otherwise. Captain we’ve found an M-class planet. Signs of life? Yep. Go to warp in the opposite direction. Engage. And that would be it, until some alien culture without a set of snappy principles decided to reduce our series of barren asteroids to cinders because we make an awful cup of coffee.
But Run Saber isn’t really about any of that. It’s a far more uplifting story wherein we mess up our own planet, fill the atmosphere with chemicals to fix the planet but instead create a race of mutants and slaughter said mutants on account of some scientist attempting to craft them into an army. Why you would want to conquer a planet after having turned everyone into mutants is beyond me, and why you would want to craft a couple of cyborgs to stop them by performing posthuman pogroms is even weirder. But you get to cut up an F-14 mid flight while unspeakable horrors break free from the chassis and attack you.
So that’s something.