Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

foe_en_s4_b22.jpg

Drakengard (PlayStation 2) artwork

Drakengard (PlayStation 2) review


" "




Imagine a world quite unlike the one you live in. A world filled with children's laughter, a world where nothing but a plethora of positive sensations exist. A world of love, a world of peace. Perhaps a fool's world, but an idealistic one.

Did you imagine that? Good.

Now erase this Eden from your thoughts, replace with complete opposites, and you might find yourself picturing the world of Drakengard. Love? Long gone, devoured by ambition. Peace? Destroyed by a vicious civil war. And it is through this war and conflict are you instantly introduced to what Drakengard is. A depressing example of "wrong" versus "worse". Enter Caim, the champion of the "good", and the protector -- and perhaps even more importantly, a brother -- of a woman whose power alone is enough to protect the world from the dreaded Empire who will stop at nothing to defeat the Alliance and make certain their goals are met.

Now, Caim is not your typical hero. He does not wield a sword of Light that can cleave a galaxy in two. He also does not use power beams that can dig holes in the moon's face. He is your typical Square angst-filled 'hero' -- and I do use the term 'hero' extremely loosely as the maniac is only seemingly happy when swinging his not-so-sharp sword through some Imperial swines in a series of painful way. As you will learn very early in the game, there are reasons for Caim's unquenchable anger against the Imperial dogs, anger that was strong enough to make Caim sign a contract with his in-game partner and pact beast. A mighty dragon who is only happy to help our hero make charcoal of his numerous foes. However, to make a pact, Caim must sacrifice something ... and in his case it was to be the power of speech. Due to this, during the game you will hear Caim's thoughts through the dragon, spoken by dragon.

Other characters that will join you will have to make similar sacrifices. One particular character, a very crazy elf, sacrifices her womb, and one of her hobbies is eating babies. I kid you not.

This varied cast travels through a game divided into missions -- the order of which will open new paths and conclusions for your party. When you start the actual game you will see your character placed on an enormous plain with a legion of enemies rushing towards him, something slightly reminiscent of Koei's now already legendary Dynasty Warriors series. However, unlike within the aforementioned manly brawler, your character will not be half as agile as his rival counterparts, but will rather move like he has a broomstick lodged very deep and painfully in his colon.

Throughout the game you will use the stiff-feeling Caim, his stiff-feeling chums, and, most importantly, the extremely powerful, if not stiff, dragon he made his pact with. About half your time will be spent on the back of your dragon, scorching the ant-sized enemies in a torrent of fire, as well as taking out warships and various flying pests with the odd well-placed fireball. Needless to say, you will deal with the enemies much more ... efficiently in this manner. One fireball alone is enough to destroy a whole pack of enemies.

To counteract the ease in which your beast flame-grills his foes, Caim is obviously holding onto his fiery steed like a pansy, meaning that an arrow or two directed at the dragon and Caim will fall to the ground. Another manner to increase the amount of time you are not spreading justice from above is the number of enemies that cunningly wear armours resistant to fire, meaning you will only anger them further before you dislodge from the dragon and introduce them to your sword/spear/axe/club/stave/dagger.

A wide choice of arms are present; in fact, Drakengard prides itself with a wide assortment of weapons that Caim can use, ranging from swords and axes all the way to spears and clubs. Every single weapon will grow in level -- and with that in killing proficiency -- as you slaughter enemies mercilessly. And every time a weapon gains a level a historical fragment of the tool of death is revealed. An interesting touch, certainly, but once you get ten weapons that look pretty much identical, you may get bored with the said choices, and rely on one or two weapons. The game is easy enough to pass with the default, after all, and this is an option which many will take since some of the rarer blades are pretty hard to obtain.

As you travel from one mission to the other, bludgeoning, maiming and goring, you will fail to be amazed at your surroundings. Glancing at the areas you walk, or fly, past will confirm that everything seems to look exactly the same. Broken up with the odd tree or an overused and poorly animated river added here and there, you would be forgiven in believing that the background is on a permanent loop. After you see nothing but fog around you as far as the eye can see for a handful of levels, and you are walking over the same greyish-brown surface which I can only assume the earthen ground, you will rejoice at even that single, reappearing tree when it makes one of its many showings.

One more thing that is almost as monotonous as the level design of the game is the sound. I am not talking about the music in the cut scenes, nor about the voice actors, some of which did a pretty decent job. No, I am talking about the mind-numbing, droning music that plays throughout every single level you are in. And trust me, if you are going for the secrets, some of these missions can take well over an hour to complete, which, when paired with that gratingly identical music all the time, will make you quite edgy. Throw-your-speakers-out-of-the-room edgy.

The presentation soon picks up though, thanks to the spectacular cutscenes that have the usual Square flare. And just like in most of Square's games, many of the people will invest in the game mainly to see every single scrap of CGI -- which will again take quite a bit of time. In a pretty nifty touch, each of the endings having their separate concluding cut scene.

Now, do not think that Drakengard is a bad game in any way. The way the characters move is a bit dodgy to say at the very least, and the sound is of the generic-annoying sort. Some weapons are needlessly hard to find, and the entire process is just as needlessly time consuming. However, what stands out in this game is the story. And the story is good.

It is very good.

You will find out what real warfare is like. Even in such a fantastical world where dragons and other mystical creatures live, you will find out that there is no romance in the war, but that it is a filthy, brutal affair. The number of casualties, as well as the sad story twists, will make you play further, just to see if the situation ever changes to the better. Will the protagonists ever live happily ever after or will they just become another of the causalities? Each of the roads you take to an ending is different, and yet again the overall premise, is that «war is evil».

Now the choice is up to you. If you like these sorts of games, a game with a powerful story, beautiful cut-scenes, interesting and original characters but with a poor audio-visual performance, then this is your choice. However if you want to slaughter mindlessly in something more realistic, with characters that move much more....fluidly, then perhaps the Dynasty Warriors saga is for you.

The choice is, in the end, yours.

Rating: 7/10

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (October 26, 2005)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by darketernal
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PC) artwork
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (PC)

At first glance, most modern gamers will think that this title is a pure copy of the Gears of War games, due to the similar interface and gameplay. You control your robots through the familiar over-the-shoulder look, and guide them through the world of Cybertron, using walls for cover and destroying various ene...
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (PC) artwork
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (PC)

Most fans know what to expect when Gotham is concerned. A pretty outside that covers up the seedy, criminal infested underground. Lego Batman takes a similar approach, but is not afraid to throw it's own spin on the title, so those that want a more serious title might remain disappointed.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (PlayStation 3) artwork
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (PlayStation 3)

You take control of the Umbrella's security team whose mission is to protect the famed T-Virus so it wouldn't get in the hands of the American military, and the main locations are those of the titular Raccoon City. As it befits the usual fare of Resident Evil, our "heroes" are all top notch specimens of the huma...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Drakengard review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Drakengard is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Drakengard, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.