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Drakengaard on PS2...


jayboy
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Edge gave it 8/10.

I think it's brilliant. Some people find it boring. It combines sections that are like Dynasty Warriors (ie. battlefield beat 'em up with multiple enemies), sections that are a bit like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (ie. isometric beat 'em up), and sections that are like a slower, off-rails Panzer Dragoon Orta (ie. dragon-riding shoot 'em up). Some of the Dynasty Warriors sections allow you to take to the skies on your dragon and soften up enemies with a bit of aerial bombardment. There's also a weapon upgrade system; basically you unlock various weapons as you go on, and level them up by taking out enemies with them (so requiring you to vary your weapons, and consequently fighting style, if you want an effective tactical choice in later chapters). It's all tied together with some lush cut-scenes and over-the-top narrative action, and is divided up into successive chapters, each of which consist of various missions and cut-scenes - but the missions don't necessarily open up in chronological order; you have to go back and replay certain missions and beat certain targets etc. to unlock some earlier missions.

I should declare a vested interest in that I have connections to the company distributing it in Europe, but the opinions above were formed when I played the import version as a journalist, when I had no vested interests.

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Edge gave it 8/10.

I think it's brilliant. Some people find it boring. It combines sections that are like Dynasty Warriors (ie. battlefield beat 'em up with multiple enemies), sections that are a bit like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (ie. isometric beat 'em up), and sections that are like a slower, off-rails Panzer Dragoon Orta (ie. dragon-riding shoot 'em up). Some of the Dynasty Warriors sections allow you to take to the skies on your dragon and soften up enemies with a bit of aerial bombardment. There's also a weapon upgrade system; basically you unlock various weapons as you go on, and level them up by taking out enemies with them (so requiring you to vary your weapons, and consequently fighting style, if you want an effective tactical choice in later chapters). It's all tied together with some lush cut-scenes and over-the-top narrative action, and is divided up into successive chapters, each of which consist of various missions and cut-scenes - but the missions don't necessarily open up in chronological order; you have to go back and replay certain missions and beat certain targets etc. to unlock some earlier missions.

I should declare a vested interest in that I have connections to the company distributing it in Europe, but the opinions above were formed when I played the import version as a journalist, when I had no vested interests.

Hmmm its a decent enough game but not deserving of an Edge 8/10

Having completed the US version I can tell you its a good enough but somewhat flawed game.

(Possible spoilers ahead)

The hack n slash levels are amusing enough...but graphically dull for the first third of the game (way...way too much grey) and the missions lack variety in objectives and ultimatly revolve around slaughtering thousands of cannon fodder troops repeatedly. A lot of the game has a levelling up feel in an rpg - the more kills - the better the weapons get etc. The combat however is a bit too simplistic and the weapons don't really vary enough to make you that bothered about them - Caim's main sword is good enough for the whole game pretty much.

There's not really any 'levels' that are in the Balders Gate style - they just tend to bookend story sequences - the majority of the game plays remarkably like Dynasty Warriors.

Some of the levels are way, way, way too long as well and are more an endurance test then of skill.

However mass slaughter is great fun - and hopping on the dragon and raining firey death on the hordes below is an experience to be savoured.

The levels in completely in the air on the dragon take a long time to warm up - the first half a dozen are dull as hell - and compared with the mind boggling visuals and frantic style of Panzer Dragoon Orta pale considerably.

The last few dragon levels are excellent however - once the dragon and powered up and the game makes more use of the 360 degree movement to dogfight etc.

The presentation and plot however are first rate - and the story is very dark indeed. Although the dialogue as ever could do with a little work (and the main character is struck dumb in the opening 20 mins!) The four different endings to the game is interesting as well (although to be honest the first ending is the best - the last is just plain weird).

So enjoyable - but could and maybe should have been executed better.

Oh and the first endings boss is the most evil thing you will ever encounter!

I'd give it 7 - worth a look - esp to Square fans

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's really really dull. It's like Dynasty warriors with 2 moves (you use 1 combo of 4 hits for the whole of the first misson). Then it's a poor man's Panzer dragoon saga. it also looks like a hi res playstation game. SHIT!!

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It's really really dull. It's like Dynasty warriors with 2 moves (you use 1 combo of 4 hits for the whole of the first misson). Then it's a poor man's Panzer dragoon saga. it also looks like a hi res playstation game. SHIT!!

.::: Thank god, I thought I was the only one...

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I lauged as the teams of 10 fighters all at once all strafe and attack at the same time, like there's one soldier with one of those puppet contraptions on each shoulder like it was a cabaret show. The whole thing is just so lame, this should have got a 4 out of 10, on a PS1!

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I just got a review copy of this two days ago. Firstly, I must say although there is no 60Hz option, there are NO BORDERS. NONE.

Secondly, the people who are knocking the graphics must have different tastes from me. I've been playing the splendiforous Ninja Gaiden on Xbox, and Drakengard holds it's own. It sports some of the the crispist graphics available on PS2 (with the exception of GT3/4 and Ape Escape 2). The style is marvelous - realistic and moody, without being generic and boring.

When I first started playing the game I was very disappointed. There was only an awkward 3-hit combo, and the enemies' animations was equally gawky. It was like a po-faced offline PSO experiance. No thanks. But once your weapon / magic abilities open up, the fighting become an utter joy.

The enemies ARE low-poly, which is why some people say it looks like a PSOne game. It doesn't. They're low poly, because there can be 300 enemies in any given level. It's a considered sacrafice, and it works well. You really do feel like a demigod on a sprawling battlefield.

The different weapons really add variety. They all have different combo styles and magic. Tieing weapons and magic is usually a no-no, but here it works well, as you can quickly change weapons on the battlefield. However, from what I've seen, the elemental nature of magic is completely irrelevant to damage.

As I'm a Panzer Dragoon fan, the flying sections haven't wowed me so far. However, the 'killer feature' is the ability to mount / dismount the dragon during a single level. I.e., you can reign terror from above, and then drop down to go toe-te-toe. Some levels offer only flying, some only ground, but the most fun is had when the player can mix it up. This ability really 'elevates' Drakengard above the average hack n' slash (sorry, couldn't resist).

One final point. Don't buy this game just on the Square-Enix brand. Although it's published by Squenix, it is not developed by the Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest team. The only 'Square'-ness you can rightly expect is excellent presentation, well-presented story, and some RPG-lite weapon upgrade elements. However, do buy this game is you like knights, dragons, and wrecking bloody hell on the battlefield!

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You review games and you like it? Shame on you. I'm not reading/buying your magazine/website even though I don't know what it is. How can you play games like Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry, maybe even Bujingai and say that this game is good?

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Yeah, I really do like this game. It took me a little while to warm to it, but it is one of the most enjoyable experiances I've had on PS2 for a while.

Fans of Otogi, Ninja Gaiden and PSO will appeciate how the different weapons lend themselves to different fighting styles. Sure, the fighting is more clunky PSO than fluid 'Gaiden, but it is equally satisfying.

I'm sure most of you are familer with a run of Rez when you think 'I'll go for combos over shotdown ration', (or vice versa) and adapt your gaming style to fit. In Drakengard, you can choose to maximise combos (by sucessively hitting opponents before the meter runs out) or level time / health (by judiciously using magic to knock down and damage opponents). You can expect a different fighting experiance either way.

In conclusion - it's a satisfying brawler, where you have options on destruction (dragon or on foot), options on weapons (fast vs. slow vs. instant knock down), options on combat style (combos vs magic), with a coherantly presented large-scope medevil setting.

Perhaps it's not your cup of tea, but it sure is mine. I suggest players rent the game to decide for themselves.

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You do that in Bujingai and Ninja Gaiden but in a much better and less boring way. The draw distance is so bad that it's too hard and too boring to bother to work out a combo route. you only have about 3 moves anyway, you just have to bash the attack button then ppress L1 or R1 to get out of the way. I won't start on the dragon bits because they rip off Orta so much but not nearly as fun.

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Most interesting about the borders. Perhaps the 'not for retail sale' PAL copy I have was a rushed converstion, and hence is PAL-60 only. I'll have to look into it.

The draw distance isn't fantastic, but the maps (minimap and pause map) do alleviate the problem, and allow combos to keep going.

True, the dragon riding bits don't match up to Orta, but what do you expect? Orta is a focused, bombastic rollercoaster with some beautiful set pieces. Drakengard's aerial action is slightly less linear, with a lockon system to help focus it. I'd say Drakengard's flying is more ambitious, but not as satisfying.

Train spotters will notice the laser targeting system sometimes looks like the lasers in the 'third form' in Rez, and the floating cubes are straight out of the fourth level in Orta.

But I do stand by the variations in the weapons. Each lends itself to a fighting style, and the player should always be thinking about their position relative to a group of enemies. I really do dig Ninja Gaiden (only had it for a while, but I've just kicked Alma's sorry ass first try), but the Nunchucku / Flail weapons 'freeform' style really does just equate to getting up close (air comboing on the way in) and then mashing 'X' and 'Y'.

But honestly, I don't many action games will come close to Gaiden's fluid, attack/defense/counter swordfighting in a long, long time. Drakengard doesn't try to, it's a whole different type of enjoyment. Some will like it, some won't. But putting it's combat directly against Gaiden, and it's flying sections against Orta is a little unfair, Drakengard has more scope, and is ultimately more than the sum of its parts (which also includes well-implemented RPG-lite weapon levelling).

[Prepares himself for a barrage of unjustified insults about my 'button mashing' playstyle. In fact, my favourite fighting character is the highly efficiant 'Hokuto' from the Street Fighter EX series.]

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