Games Gazette Logo

        

SQUARE-ENIX  ACCESS GAMES

DRAKENGARD 3 is the third in the series and has been a long time coming - Drakengard was about 10 years back.

There are goods and bads in this version, and I'm not talking about the characters.

The Bads:
The Controls really are sucky, especially when you are fighting while flying the dragon and when it is you (as Zero)
fighting alone against the end of level adversary - usually a single unique huge creature with special attack powers.
For Zero you use the thumbsticks to move and direct. X jumps, Square is basic attack unless pressed multiple times,
Circle takes you back and Triangle is the dynamic, dramatic end result of a multi-combat manouevre.
Manoeuvering can be painful. When against an end-level creature I seem to be going in circles, when flying it is
difficult to direct your dragon mount, flapping its wings (X) and using the Triangle or Square for combat actions.
The Graphics are sometimes blocky and edgy with very little detail, eg the sinking of a Battleship by you and Mikhail
sees it go down without any visible damage.
The Story that you are given at the beginning of the game makes little or no sense and as you progress through the
game it makes even less sense.
Changing Screens leaves us with a considerable amount of downtime as the next location loads.

         

The Goods: 
The Graphics - when they aren't being blocky, edgy and rough are excellent classic animé.
The Combat - the mainstay of the game is combat and it is bloody good. Zero cuts and slashes her way through all the
soldiers sent against her, sending blood and bodies flying through the air. Weirdly when the dust has settled there is no
blood or bodies on the ground or surrounding walls, but Zero's beautiful white dress is drenched in claret.
The Fun - The verbal interchanges between Zero and her dragon, Mikhail. When Zero asks why he is flying so slow Mikhail
replies it's because Zero is too heavy.
The Dragons - Michael, Zero's first dragon and supposedly the strongest of all dragons is killed in the pregame action
where Zero also loses an eye and an arm (it's a wonder she doesn't have Nelson as a nickname).
Mikhail - he is reborn of Michael. He loves to roll around in the sh** (mud) and the sea - in fact when he is despatched to
destroy a Battleship out in a bay while Zero clears the ground forces (including a nasty end-level monster) he spends all
the time swooping in and out and rolling through the salty waves. When Zero catches up with him she has a few choice
words - some of these words are of the XXX type. In fact there is enough XXX language to make it a Cert 18 (16 at least).

         

The premise of the story is that in the Land of the Seas there are several Countries, The Land of Mountains, The Land of Forests,
The Land of Sands and Cathedral City, where the action takes place. Six Sisters, Intoners, rule the World. These sisters are known
as Zero, One, Two, Three, Four and Five (I guess mama wasn't good with words!). You play Zero. Zero wants to rule the world
on her own - or that's how the story is set to you at the beginning. So this should make you the baddie in the story, but when you
meet up with your sisters the verbals between you make them sound evil and you righteous, making it weirder when Five summons
an Angel, Phanuel, as her Champion.

    

The game begins with Zero and Michael in combat with numerous soldiers, eventually defeating them, a rather large dragon, and
then meeting up with all Five sisters. Their combined power and dragons are too much for you. Michael dies and you lose an eye
and an arm (previously noted).

A nightmare, a rude awakening, and Zero wakes up in a poorly constructed wooden hut. Hearing what sounds like children playing
outside Zero stomps to the door and opens it none too gently. The camera pans and we see a young dragon frollicking in a muddy
lake and we soon discover that a year has passed, Zero has healed and Mikhail is her new dragon. Zero is now on her way to find
the first of her Sisters, the one she calls the most stupid of them all, Five!

The battle with Five is not as I expected after the original fight against the sisters together. Five uses her "Song" to summon Phanuel
a water Angel - basically an underwater creature whose main/only weapon is a powerful cone of water blasted at speed from its maw.
You send Mikhail into battle and guide him by sitting astride his back and reining him away from the water spout and then aiming
him at Phanuel when it is still above water. Using the dragon's claws you tug and pull the Angel out of the water onto the surround
where it is vulnerable. You need to do this 3-4 times at least, using the dragon's breath as well as the claw attack once the Angel is
floundering, but it isn't as easy as it sounds due to the clumpy flying controls.

Once Phanuel is down Five is defeated and killed off by her supposed aid, who then goes ape on her dead body. During the combat
the screen goes blank and you see two cute little look-alikes of the protagonists with warning messages saying that the visuals and
verbals that are currently occurring (beneath the veil of silence and cuteness) are not fit for human or other consumption.

To date I have played for about 3 hours and have reached the end of the first Sister v Sister battle, eventually defeating Phanuel at the
second attempt. In this combat it was my skills on the controls but Mikhails claw and breath weapons. In other combats it is my skill
on the controls, with Zero using whatever weapon (usually a sword of some type) she currently has equipped. On rare occasions you
will see a light beam on the ground and if you enter this you can summon your dragon to basically clear up a large volume of soldiers
in one foul (or fair) swoop. Strangely, Zero would rather get the sh** kicked out of her than call for Mikhail in most combats and to
date Zero always faces the end level creature solo.

You cannot Save the game during play unless you reach a Checkpoint, where saving is automatic. When you complete a Mission
you are sent back to the set-up screen where you can change weapons, upgrade weapons, buy weapons, change the game settings
and more importantly SAVE the game - you should remember to do this after you have made any adjustments to Zero.

As I said, I have only completed what I believe to be the first Chapter, the death of Five. If it takes about the same time to defeat
each Sister then I imagine there are 12-15 hours more gameplay for the main quest. However, Accord, the Market Shop owner is
always offering extra Quests that you really need to complete to discover all there is to know about the story and exactly why Zero
wants to rid the world of her Sisters.

The game is quite linnear with little or no chance of veering off the beaten track. During the distance I have covered to date I have
found buildings with doors wide open and pathways leading up into the hills but neither can be explored, not even a little bit.

Well, that's about it for the review. I don't expect anything different from the game for the finding and fighting of the next 4 Sisters
but if I do discover anything that needs reporting then I will either update this page or create a new one - depending on what if
anything I discover. For now I will just say, having recently read another review online, that this is a game where you will have to
make up your own mind. The review I read was scathing of the game, whereas I think that despite the "Bads" this is a good animé
game with some amusing backchat between the characters.

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015