Panzer Dragoon Orta

a game by Sega
Platform: XBox
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews total
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 1 vote
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Born into a world of dragons and biotechnology, Orta is confined in the prison of a crumbling stone tower. The game opens as a sea of Draonmares turns her prison, and refuge, apart, and a single dragon rescues her from their clutches.

Those of you who owned a Sega Saturn might remember the Panzer Dragoon franchise as a weak sister to the endless stream of first-person shooters that followed. But this latest iteration is a prime example of how a new technology can not only breath life into an old game, but can reinvent it.

Panzer Dragoon Orta is a third-person rail-shooter, and more than likely, most gamers won't have heard of this short-lived sub-genre. Basically it means you have no real control of what direction you are heading. Instead you sit atop a car, train, rail, or, in this case, a dragon, and shoot at stuff like you're in a shooting gallery. This genre disappeared with the advent of the fully controllable first-person shooter. But Orta's return to the sub-genre is a good thing, because of Sega's approach.

The game plays from a third-person perspective, allowing you to control your dragon's banking movements and speed. It also allows you to control where you are looking, in a 360-degree circle. Put on top of that the fact that you have to duck and weave through the scenery and dodge projectiles and you've got a wonderfully complex game. You'll spend half your time focusing on shooting stuff and the other half figuring out how best to shoot it. You can use Orta's basic gun by tapping the button or a homing laser by holding a button in, painting a couple of targets and letting go. You also have the ability to ram objects with the dragon or launch a special berserk attack. And if that weren't enough options, the game lets you morph your dragon at will into one of three types of mounts. The glide wing is a light dragon with weak weapons but lots of speed. The heavy wing has powerful laser blasts but slow movement and the base wing is a mix of the two. As you go through the game you will also be able to pick up gene bases which power up each of the dragon types to a stronger version of itself.

This game is truly something that could only be on the Xbox. The graphics are beautifully rendered, offering enough scenery to nearly distract from the utter chaos that makes up much of the game and the sound supports Dolby 5.1 which means a surround sound that actually helps you locate enemies in gameplay. If that weren't enough, Orta comes with 10 packed and wildly varying levels and more unlockable extras than you can shake a stick at. It includes a full port of the 1995 Panzer, stand-alone scenarios, a seven-mission side story, and tons of fun little extras like playable characters, artwork and a virtual encyclopedia.

Dragon Panzer Orta has it all. This game is a must have for any Xbox buff.

Download Panzer Dragoon Orta

XBox Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Panzer Dragoon is back. The series, for those who never owned a Sega Saturn, is famous for its simple premise (it's a 3D shooter) and stunning execution (stylized graphics, techno-organic enemies, lavish soundtrack, etc.). Now the legend, which was originally to have ended with the Saturn RPG Panzer Dragoon Saga, continues with an all-new hero(ine): a young girl known as Orta who's ready to ride the dragon into battle against an oppressive empire.

But don't get your hopes up -- Orta does not follow its predecessor's role-playing path. Instead, PDO returns to the series' roots and models itself after the straightforward on-rails-shooting action of Panzer Dragoon Zwei (the second game). For the diehard few who were hoping for a new Saga, project leader Akihiko Mukaiyama had this to say: "We are picking up where Saga's story left off. It's the dawn of a new era, but characters from Saga will return." Happily, the classic Panzer control scheme (with slight modifications) returns as well.

To help illustrate the Orta gameplay experience, enjoy this scene: You look behind you to see a huge, house-sized skeletal boss who is galloping along on all fours. As he rushes up on your six, you squeeze off a couple shots from Orta's gun, but they ricochet off his bone-plate skull. You veer to the left and hit the brakes (in this case, "reins"), allowing your nemesis to rush past. You spin the camera around to now face forward. Targeting the soft, fleshy backside of his now-exposed noggin, your dragon ride unleashes a fusillade of lock-on lasers, putting a well-deserved hurtin' on your foe.

Still, as fun as the game is, the thing that will draw most gamers to Orta is its jaw-dropping visuals. Whether you're flying past swirling cyclones, dogfighting with squadrons of bio-organic warships, or going head-to-head with enormous battlecruisers, Orta is always a looker. Smilebit hopes that the unlockable sub-quests (which let you see the story from the perspective of the bad guys) and the branching-path system borrowed from Zwei (letting you choose your own routes through the game each time you play) will inspire repeated fights with the evil empire.

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