Nobody said being a hero was easy, but few games tax your patience with such monotonous gameplay. Metal Saga's combat is so old-school, it's wearing a dunce cap. Battles are turn-based affairs with very little in the way of ingenuity, and they're annoyingly frequent. While the monsters look unusual, they're slow and predictable in attack. Your party's not much better, and options are slim. About the only unusual mechanic is splitting your time between fighting inside a vehicle and on foot.
Tanks play a large part in Metal Saga. Once you find a ride or two, you can pimp them out with upgraded parts and weaponry - just make sure you mind the load restrictions. They're obviously more powerful and have more impenetrable defense than your guy just standing there trading blows with monsters, but mechanical parts are susceptible to breakdown, which can really throw a wrench in your plans. These tanks aren't as fun as piloting mechs in other RPGs - for example, they control just like walking - but you'll covet the gimmick, since it's really the only unique twist combat has going for it.
Believe it or not, what's most enjoyable about Metal Saga's gameplay is the retro way items are hidden all over the place. So few games do this nowadays. While the fact that you find some uber-obscure things that will take hours to discover a use for may hamper this a bit, it's still enthralling to comb every inch of real estate to see what you come across.