|a game by||Square Enix|
What do you get when you combine the awesome fury of a Dragon with the mass slaughter gameplay personified by Dynasty Warriors? A fairly kick-ass game, that's what. Drakengard, one of the latest titles from Square-Enix, provides just such gameplay opportunities. You take on the role of Caim, a powerful warrior fighting to protect his sister Furiae, known as the Goddess, from capture and harm. Aiding him in this role is a mighty dragon, bonded to him in an ancient and powerful pact. Thus you set the stage for history, thus you set the stage for conflict.
Similar at first to Dynasty Warriors, prepare to deal with hordes of enemy foes dealing out basic combos left and right, with very little variation in the overall control scheme. At first, with only one character to choose from, and a simple weapon that only hits three times in a single combo, you'll be asking yourself, where's the fun? Once you slog through the first level however, you'll see the beauty of the game's mechanic. First and foremost, the game's experience curve gives you more than enough power in any given scenario, as long as you can develop your strategy. As you pickup new weapons (some 65 in all) and they increase in power (by defeating enemies) you'll see the combo strings leap into the double digits. Additionally, each weapon comes packed with a special magical attack. Featuring a timed charge attack during any given combo, it's readily apparent that one can kick some serious booty after just a short amount of practice.
Dragon combat only gets slightly cooler, giving you access to a new flight sim style mode that's challenging but also very destructive. When you're in a normal ground combat, you can also leap onto the dragon's back to torch the enemies with a single explosive fireball or unleash serious destruction upon the baddies with a torrent of dragonsbreath.
In the other areas of the game, Drakengard doesn't prove to be quite as hot. Graphically speaking, this game doesn't have the detailed backgrounds that prevent you from noticing how short the viewable distance is. Get used to enemies just 'appearing' in your sight all the time. Additionally, the developers at Square-Enix could've taken a page from Blizzard and featured an incredible wealth of color in this game, instead of resorting to the very (and I mean very) bland browns and grays that dominate Drakengard's color palette. Aurally, you don't have much else to work with, as most of the background music is repeated loops that quickly become tiresome.
When all is said and done, Drakengard, isn't a game that's really worth the upfront price $39.99. The dragon gameplay makes a good gimmick, and the story is strong, but for gameplay, it only has a Dynasty Warriors hack and slash system backed up by good experience gain. All in all, I'm enjoying it, but I wouldn't have invested in it' right away.