Just RPG - Reviews, PC and PS2 Walkthroughs, Previews, and RPG News!





HOME

Reviews
Previews
Walkthroughs
Strategy Guides
Articles
Interviews
Editorials
Links
About Us
Past Issues

June 14, 2011
March 22, 2011
Feb. 28, 2011
Dec. 14, 2010
Nov. 23, 2010
Nov. 9, 2010
Oct. 26, 2010
Oct. 6, 2010
Sept. 21, 2010
Sept. 14, 2010
Sept. 7, 2010
Aug. 31, 2010
Aug. 24, 2010
Aug. 17, 2010
Aug. 8, 2010
June 15, 2010
January, 2010
Dec. 21, 2009
Past Issues

Age of Conan: Unchained
Dark Souls
Dreamlords: Resurrection
Final Fantasy IV In-Pack Items
Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword
League of Legends: Co-op V.S. AI
Final Fantasy IV
Duke Nukem Forever
Divine Souls Open Beta
inSANE
Mass Effect 3 Unveiled
League of Legends: Cassiopeia
League of Legends: Trundle
King Arthur: The Druids
Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom
RIFT Closed Beta
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Magicka
Pandora Saga
DC Universe Online Screenshots
Fallout: New Vegas Add-On Content
League of Legends: Lux
Bloodline Champions: The Nomad
Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania
League of Legends: Battle Training
League of Legends: LeBlanc
Iron Cross
Prinny 2
Crusade Kings 2
Lionehart Kings' Crusade
Borderlands Game of the Year Edition
Castlevania Harmony of Despair DLC
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Spiderweb Software's Birthday
League of Legends: Swain
Gormiti: Lords of Nature!
Disgaea 4
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
League of Legends: Magma Chamber
League of Legends: Sona
War of Angels
King of Kings 3: Mage
Legend of Edda
Lionheart:Kings' Crusade
Cladun
Dreamlords
TERA
League of Legends
Silkroad Online Battle Arena
Grand Chase Thunder Hammer
Aika Global
The Shadow Sun
Saw ll: Flesh and Blood
TERA
Neverwinter
League of Legends
Castlevania Harmony of Despair
Smash Your Food
I SPY Spooky Mansion
Hexyz Force
World of Tanks
League of Legends
Mass Effect 2
DOFUS 2.0
DOFUS Screens
FFXIII Box
Puzzle Chron.
Gyromancer
Warhammer OL
Star Trek OL
Lost Saga Scr
Marvel DLC
League Legends
Poxnora
Demon's Souls
League Legends
League Beta
Fort Zombie
Arc Rise Fantasia
Arc Rise Screens
Mimana Iyar
League Screens
Marvel DLC
Free Realms
Adventures To Go
Fusion PR Group
Demon's Souls
AdventureQuest
Witch's Tale
League Legends
Half-Minute Scr
Half-Minute
Freaky Scr.
Valhalla
Dragon Quest
Vandal Hearts
Mytheon
Risen
Gemini Lost
Freaky
Gyromancer
FF Crystal
Dragon Quest
Star Trek OL
Fort Zombie
Disgaea 2
FF Crystal
Champions OL
Wizard of Oz
Star Ocean
League Legends
Valhalla Scr.
Dragon Age
Marvel Ultimate
Risen Website
League Legends
Adventurequest
Final Fantasy
Agarest War
Agarest War Scr.
Demon's Souls
SMT: Persona
Pangya
Dragon Age
Warhammer
Mana Khemia 2
Runes of Magic
Cursed Mtn.
Cursed Mtn. Scr.
Freaky Creature
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Aion Goes Gold
Free Realms
Wizards Exec
Freaky Creature
Arma II
Champions
Aion CG Movie
Marvel Ultimate
FFIV Dev Diary
Steambot Chron.
League Legends
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Champions
Champions Vid.
League Legends
League Trailer
Risen Screens
Freaky Creature
Star Treak DAC
Phantom Brave
Demon's Souls
Geneforge
The Witcher
Free Realms
Runes of Magic
Demon's Souls
Aion Screens
Fallout 3 DLC
Marvel Ultimate
PuchiPuchi Virus
League Legends
Fallout 3 DLC
Mytheon
Wizard of Oz
Oz Screens
Marvel Ultimate
La Tale
Asda Story
Avernum 6
Battle Fantasia
League Legends
Adventurequest
Warpforce
New Nintendo
Aion
FF Crystal Chron.
Mind Twist
Little King's
Stan Lee, Marvel
Elf Island
Ether Saga
Wizard101
Demon's Souls
League Legends
FFXI Trailer
Champions Online
Free Realms
Aion Preorder
BioShock/Elder
Silkroad Online
Warpforce
Warpforce Scr.
Runes Screens
Runes of Magic
League Legends
Marvel Ultimate
FF XIV
Knights
Asda Story
Champions
League Legends
Runes of Magic
FF XIV Online
Time of Shadows
Kingdom Hearts
FF IV
Demon's Souls
Lunar
League Release
League Trailer
Cross Edge
Runes of Magic
Phantom Brave
Crimson Gem
DC Universe
Freaky
SMT Devil
Steal Princess
Steal Screens
Wizard101
SMT Devil
Runes of Magic
Warrior Epic
Fallout 3 DLC
League Legends
League Screens
Bounty Bay
Bounty Bay Scr.
Ragnarok Scr.
Ragnarok Online
Runes of Magic
Time of Shadows
Time Scr.
Steambot Chron.
Adventures
Adventures Scr.
Warrior Epic
Sacred 2 Ships
Disgaea 2
Last Rebellion
Mana Khemia 2
Sakura Wars
Witch's Tale
Runes of Magic
Runes Screens
Class of Heroes
Sacred Trailer
Valhalla Knights
Wizard101 Gift
Freaky Creatures
Playboy Manager
Blizzcon 2009
Champions
Little King
League Legends
Wizard101
Wizard101 Scr.
Neverwinter
Warrior Epic Beta
Elder Scrolls
Warrio Epic Beta
Sacred 2
Utopia Kingdoms
Wizard101
Tweet in Games
Star Trek D-A-C
Champions
Champions Vid.
DragonSky Scr.
DragonSky
Free Realms
Free Realms Scr.
FFXI Vana'diel
DC Universe
Warrior Epic Scr.

 





Developer:
Square-Enix
Publisher: Square-Enix
Platform: PS2
Release Date: March 02, 2004

by Charles Cosgriff II




Ride a dragon. Kill stuff. That pretty much sums up Drakengard, Square-Enix's latest opus. Sure, it sounds good on paper, but does the execution give it justice?


The basic premise is simple enough: the evil Empire has laid siege to the Union and kidnapped its princess. That all changes when a much larger conspiracy unfolds. Everything comes to rest on the shoulders of a single warrior and his pact-partner, a dragon.


You'll start right in the heat of things, taking control of the hotheaded Caim. Things already look grim as a horde of enemies stand between you and the castle where your sister, the princess, is trapped. It's up to you to cut down anyone in your path or risk everything. Fans of the Dynasty Warriors series of games will immediately recognize the similarity as you hack your way through literally hundreds of enemy troops.


Drakengard certainly gives you a lot to do and see. Your actions in battle can affect the advancement of the story line. Throughout the adventure, you'll be given a shot at obtaining powerful allies, each with their own set of side-quests to accomplish before they'll join up. Your own actions will also affect the story line, as the game boasts several endings, stages, and tons of weapons. Sound good? The premise is solid, but it just doesn't play out well.


From the first glance, Drakengard is no great shakes. Stages are massive, flat and plain, but not hard on the eye. You'll fight the same enemies over and over, but with thousands placed throughout the game, the lack of variation is mostly understandable. Thousands of troops are a lot to handle, especially on the slowly aging PS2 hardware. Still, a few more model types would have been welcomed. As always, the cinemas are gorgeous and superbly done in terms of both production and storytelling.


With that said, the music is a major disappointment. The powerful orchestral sound initially implies something spectacular, but it quickly devolves into a repetitive techno beat. In other words, you're stuck with the same few chords constantly thumping for the duration of the battle, each of which can last upwards of a half-hour. It's an unfortunate and drastic change from the usual elegance of a Square-Enix soundtrack.


Mostly mediocre from an aesthetic sense, it's up to Drakengard's gameplay to pull it through - and it has the right stuff to succeed. Drakengard sports two main areas of gameplay: weapon-oriented on the ground and aerial combat atop a vicious dragon. On the ground, Caim begins armed with just a sword, but the number of weapons soon swells, adding some nice variety. Each weapon has its own set of combos and magic. As you defeat opponents, your magic capacity will increase. Once it hits the optimum amount, you can cast powerful magic attacks that deal strong amounts of damage.

The initial thrill of one man against hundreds quickly dwindles. The controls are a bit clunky, making it hard to aim your attacks with precision. When the enemies have you surrounded, it's not easy to clear them away - and you've got to go through hundreds. Troops of your own would have greatly helped, but it gets tiring fast when you're getting swarmed at every turn.


Throughout the battle, you'll receive missions that usually involve running somewhere and killing something. They're painfully dull and add little to the experience: run here, kill them. Run there, kill them. Run way over there... kill them.


Allies are the biggest disappointment. The story leading up to their recruitment is very well done, but the problem comes in actually utilizing them. Prior to a foot mission, you're allowed to select an ally. Your partner can be summoned at your discretion, but only for a limited time: their strength will slowly diminish over time, and when you factor in more lost strength through enemy attacks, they don't last long. It comes off as more of a novelty than anything else.


On the plus side, the wide variety of weapons helps to balance the gameplay. Dozens of weapons ranging from swords and axes to pikes and spears are scattered throughout the game, and each type handles just a bit differently with their own set of combos and magic attacks. The more each weapon is used, the more powerful it becomes, gaining stronger magic and longer combos. You're able to carry a specific number into battle and change between them on the fly, so you'll always have the right weapon for the right situation.


While the ground battles were lacking, the aerial assaults are even worse. These stages are liberally interspersed and require you to pilot a dragon through enemies taken to the air. Again, it just plays clunky. It's hard to aim your fire attacks, and the dragon is just plain slow and awkward. As your dragon gains experience through battle, it becomes quicker and more powerful, but not enough to balance things out.


It's also a much more straightforward task than the battles on foot: basically, shoot your way from point A to point B, without any allies, weapons or missions. There's little variety, among both scenery and opponents. It boils down to "fly here, shoot that, fly there, shoot that."


Despite all that, Drakengard shines brightly when it comes to its powerful story. The tale is told with the usual eloquence associated with a Square-Enix game. New endings and levels are obtained by beating certain combinations of quests, and in turn unlock more endings and levels. There are five endings in all, and almost twice the normal levels once everything has been unlocked. Each new side-quest and ending delivers a little more to the overall adventure.


The downside? You've got to hack through a whole lot just to see it all. While this should add to replay value, the lackluster gameplay will keep many gamers from the full experience. A nice way to cover up the lacking gameplay would have been to add multiplayer (and Drakengard screams for it), but a co-op mode is sadly and surprisingly absent.


The bottom line is that Drakengard just isn't fun enough to keep you playing. With repetitive missions, no multiplayer and mediocre gameplay, it often devolves into a chore. Its deep story line and massive amount of weapons to collect may intrigue Square-Enix or Dynasty Warriors fans, but for everybody else, it's a rental.


Pros

  • Deep, immersive story line
  • Several stages and characters to unlock
  • 65 different weapons


Cons

  • Slow, clunky gameplay both in the air and on the ground
  • Repetitive Music
  • Stages drag on much too long


Final Grade: 65%




All materials 2000-2010 Just RPG
RPG Network: Free MMORPG | RPG Music