Perhaps the best "generic" RPG that doesn't use an abstract or "storytelling" system; however it does have a few problems.
Let me say first, Savage Worlds was one of the best gaming investments I have ever made. I really wanted to rate this game a 5; but the "problems" with the book make it a 4, sadly. It is easy to use, yet highly detailed. It is completely customizable without major rules modifications.
In game design, you are forced to make judgment calls and people will not always agree if Tracking is part of the Survival skill or a stand alone one. With SW, the GM uses his "setting rules" to make some of these "splits". My major problem with the game, however, is some fairly "silly" inaccuracies and some holes in basic mechanics.
This may sound very nitpicky; but the rules use a six foot "inch" "to be compatible with 28mm miniatures". Huh!? Even if two companies made the same size 28mm miniatures, 5 feet to would be more correct than six feet. 1/72 miniatures are exactly 1"=6'; but even 25mm miniatures are not 1"=6'. Problem fixed, easy enough, 5 foot or 6 foot squares depending on your miniatures.
The miniature conversion is just an example of some of the mistakes that were made translating "real world" items. Is a 44 Magnum more powerful than a 357 Magnum? Open to debate and may very with setting. At what point does a knife shift from "Improvised Weapon" to "d4 Weapon", the same. When does a Great Sword weigh 12 pounds, cause a -1 to your parry and is usable by a d12 Strength without penalty, only is a very particular setting. While I can "believe" a Maul could way 20 pounds (heavier than a 16 pound sledge hammer), the "core" rule book should not have said "Great Sword". "Barbarian Sword" could be a setting weapon. A Great Sword is real and weighs is at about 8 pounds and is EXCELLENT for parrying.
Again, I am not trying to nitpick. I have lived for years with D&D having a Short Sword, Long Sword and Bastard Sword when a Long Sword is a Bastard Sword; but they have a specific setting for their game. They can call an Arming Sword whatever they want! The core book lists the weight of armor and states that it weighs "much more when not being worn". Many U.S. Soldiers will be grateful that their Flak Jackets are only heavy when they are not wearing them. Well, until they put them on. I understand that listing an "Encumbrance Weight" is different than "actual weight". This is a split the Designer has to make and a "setting" may change it further.
In conclusion, Savage World is a MUST have game. They have even secured the rights to some games that have been "dead" for years and for many of them, conversion to Savage Worlds was a necessary improvement. The mechanics handle man to man and larger battles with the same ease and rules. Character generation is simple; but creates unique characters quickly. The core book is extremely useful in helping create your own campaigns and offers several ready to play.
With only minor adjustments this game could easily become an industry standard. I play in a lot of settings and this will probably become my new game engine for most of them. I just hate making "house rules" where those rules could have been easily addressed in the core book. I don't know if one is available; but it would also be nice to have a Players' Manual with just the character generation and basic rules.
[4 of 5 Stars!]