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Drag-on Dragoon aka Drakengard

version: jp - year: 2003 - developer: cavia - publisher: square enix - format: playstation 2, dvdrom - condition: mint - rarity: common
































Review - Square Enix outing is an action game that features melee combats and flying sections on a dragon.

Basically, it could be described as Chaos Legion meets Panzer Dragoon with excellent CG movies, average in-game graphics and entertaining but repetitive gameplay.

I must say that I was expecting more from it. For starters, Drag-on Dragoon should have had better graphics. Throughout the long quest, 3 kind of missions will unfold.

The on-foot missions put you against hordes after hordes of clueless knights, skeletons and the likes. The enemies don't behave very intelligently but anyway, I find it fun to slice my way right through endless waves of monsters like I was some kind of demi-god. Plus, the numerous weapons at your disposal upgrade according to their use. They become more powerful, their magic becomes increasingly devastating / spectacular and the weapons themselves morph shape! Their handling is very different from one to the other and this is certainly a good incentive for replaying missions with other or newly acquired weapons. As you progress in the game, some characters will join you and you will be able to toggle from your character to one of them for a few seconds as they are extremely powerful and can inflict a great deal of damage.

The second kind of missions put on displays an isometric view that is ok but backdrops tend to look even more simplistic this way and these sections are usually very brief and don't add much to the game.

The 3rd kind of sections let you ride a dragon and wreck havoc from the top. Controls tend to have excessive inertia so it is pretty hard to control the dragon at first.

What really annoyed me was the limited color palette used for the backgrounds and the omnipresent fog effect to hide clipping. The horizon is very close and it gives the impression of fighting always in the same spot.

Luckily, as the game progresses, the cosmetics become better (and the game becomes way harder!) Also, I had some minor problems with the camera that is sometimes slow to follow the action, forcing the player to adjust it manually.

Luckily, a very handy (medieval?) radar function is there to signal you where the enemies are at any given time.

As of the audio part, I found the music to be appropriate and atmospheric even if the tunes tend to become repetitive after a while. Voice acting is in Japanese but it is of very high quality. At the title screen (just after the CG intro), there is an echoing female voice that says something in Japanese that sounds totally awesome and I wish I knew what she says (I wonder if they will keep the same effect for the western release).

To conclude, Drag-on Dragoon is a game that could have been much better but in the end, it will provide some moderate amount of fun to players who are patient enough to play it through the end since it becomes better later on. The difficulty level becomes very high towards the last stages and they will require a lot of determination to be completed. The main incentive I had was to see the great CG sequences and this is kind of sad since one should play games because they are fun and for no other reason, but this is a topic for another day :)

Bottom line: a competitive alas a bit repetitive action / rpg with excellent character design and entertaining melee battles. 7/10










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