RPG juggernaut SquareEnix decided to take a risk and create something complete different from their normal pallet. Drakengard, while being action packed, is a concept that has its flaws but remains to be an above average game.
Players will take control of a warrior named Caim. This solider is a leader of the Union army and does battle with the evil empire. During a colossal battle, Caim is wounded and is forced to make a pact with a dying dragon. As Caim and the Dragon switch hearts, their fates are bound as one. Both these characters are now forced to fight endless swarms of enemies.
Drakengard can best be described as a Dynasty Warriors with a good supply of Panzer Dragoon. The player will fight in three different ways. Ground combat will take place when controlling Caim. This is just like any Dynasty Warriors game. The player is pitted against throngs of enemies at one time. Flight is an important part of the game when the player plays through levels like in Panzer Dragoon or Star Fox. The final type of battle mixes ground with aerial combat. Caim can fight enemies on foot or quickly hop on his flying friend in the sky.
Combat is pretty much based around one button. Combos can be made if the button is pressed in succession. Magic spells can also be cast if enough magic power has been stored. Caim also gains new weapons as the quest unfolds. Before each level, the player has the option to select which weapons to bring into combat. Weapons can be changed quickly at anytime when in ground combat. To generate an RPG feeling, weapons can grow stronger with experience. The more you use a particlurar weapon, the stronger it will be become. Each weapon also has its own magic ability. The many types of weapons brings quite a bit of variety into the game.
No matter which mode you are playing in, the graphics are well done. The FMVs also scream SquareEnix quality. Even thought the graphics are detailed, there is still plenty of room for improvement. There are only a few different types of enemies in the game that results in repetitive combat. Enemies tend to be simply pallet swapped. Another thing that is extremely annoying is the pop ups. Enemies literally pop up out of nowhere. If you thought Dynasty Warriors had bad pop up, you haven’t seen anything yet. However, I am willing to forgive this cumbersome feature do the number of characters on screen at one time. Even though there are lots of pop ups, the frame rate remains constant with only a rare occasion of slow down. The sound isn’t really of the highest quality but it is enough to generate the feeling of battle. The voice-overs are cheesy at times, and characters will even say useless facts right in the middle of a huge fight. This can become quite annoying.
I also found the jump feature to be quite useless. There really wasn’t an instant where the player will need to jump. Many times small objects like a pile or rocks will stand in your way. It would seem like the player could easily jump over this obstacle but an invisible wall will always prevent from advancing. I hate how the game cheats players by creating environments that are blocked by invisible barriers.
Thanks to the three modes of play, Drakengard remains fairly fresh because the actions always seems to sway right when it should. On the other hand, these three modes are nothing that have not been done before but, SquareEnix has managed to create enough depth in the game through the use of new weapons and leveling up. With the RPG elements and detailed graphics, Drakengard is a simple, but not original game. This game will provide plenty of fasted paced action, but expect to have a run in with repetition a few hours into the game.