Clueless Guy 1: Drakengard 3 is basically Bayonetta but Japanese
Gamer Guy 1: Bayonetta is Japanese…
Clueless Guy 1: Well… MORE Japanese.
Drakengard 3, the third release in the series and a prequel to the first game, this is the first game in the series to be developed by Access Games as the first two were developed by Cavia, though it did have some of the core team members that worked on Drakengard and Nier in the team. Having heavy influences from Nier, a great game for fans and a not so quite great game for everyone else, and with a battle system that is familiar of the Dynasty Warriors Franchise, can this game break its way into the top charts for 2014?
The story starts off with you controlling the main character, Zero, a godlike being known as an Intoner with the power of her voice to demolish her foes and her ability to control Dragons. Zero is on a quest to kill Zero’s 5 intoner sisters who are named in numerical order, so One, Two etc. We aren’t told in depth why she wants to kill them at first but she merely states that she want to be the world’s only Intoner and hold all the power.
After the first failed attempt of the sisters lives, Zero tries again one year later but instead goes after the sisters one by one in a more calculated manner. Traversing the different lands of the world to hunt down and murder the sisters as well as steal their disciples to help her in her quest of murder and world domination. Though the journey isn’t straightforward all the time, with twist and turns that send you on rampages and hunts on your way to the Intoners locations.
Besides the serious nature of the game and the more appealing feel of playing as the Anti-hero/Villain there are a few comedy moments to occur within the game, either behind the scenes or right in your face with subtle humour and one liner jokes dotted around. The comedy is well placed the majority of the time, even catching me off guard sometimes giving me a chuckle here and there. Some of the more in your face moments are too exaggerated sometimes and can feel out of place and trying too hard to be funny.
The 40 hour campaign can be expanded even more with all the collectables, side missions and levelling up that will increase the playtime by double the campaign length. One playthrough feels enough for this game, but another playthrough is almost unnecessary with the ability to select any Chapter or Verse to play from with all the weapons and items you currently have.
There are 4 different endings on offer in Drakengard 3, but with the level select options it isn’t too hard to obtain them all.
Following the gameplay of Drakengard you control your character in a similar fashion to games like Devil May Cry or Darksiders. On PS3 you move around with the left stick, jump with The X Button and attack with the Square button and use special attacks with the Triangle button and perform combos with the combination of the three. You can also block with the circle button, dash with R1 and change between 4 different weapons types with R2, from swords to spears, Gauntlets and Chakrams, which all have different strengths and uses.
Besides the ground combat as Zero there are also Dragoon segments where you ride on your dragon Mikhael, and fly through the sky raining fire on your enemies. Including both sky missions and Ground-Dragon missions, Mikhael can shoot fire balls, controlled flames and dashes to obliterate anyone in your path. These segments really give you a sense of the power you wield, but the controls are a slight bit janky and take some getting used to.
Through the levels you acquire items from enemies and containers which are sold at the end of chapters or levels for gold that can be used to buy items and weapons as well as upgrade your current weapons. Upgrading weapons both changes their aesthetic look and improves their stats and sizes, allowing you to tailor your weapons to your play style. Every weapon has a tale or background to it and is expanded upon with each and every upgrade so this is another bonus to keeping your weapons strong in both their stats and lore departments.
The game is very linear, featuring a mission based story progression which has been used in the earlier releases, allowing you to return to previous missions to get better score or find hidden items you might have missed. Besides the story missions there are also request missions that have you killing a certain amount of enemies or retrieving an item for the shop manager for gold and item rewards, this being a good distraction from the story and a great way to upgrade your weapons.
The game has no difficulty setting but the damage done by enemies’ scales to the amount of times you have to “Continue”. If you die enough times the game just becomes easier which is a very seamless transition and an interesting concept I have not encountered that much in gaming besides Ninja Gaiden which unlocked easier game modes if you died too many times.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The music in Drakengard 3 is brilliant at most times, with Japanese tunes and rock tracks that get you pumped for battles. However there are times where the music dulls and you are left to the sounds of your footsteps and jumps as you explore the levels for the hidden chests which can be a bit detaching from the immersion you feel.
The graphics are lovely for a lot of the game, on both characters and surroundings, but seems to fall short in later levels and in the moving platform sections where the area seems to have been rushed and put together to simple give Zero a place to move about in. The cutscenes are beautiful if few and far between, making the game look a lot less polished then it could have been.
Overall I give Drakengard 3 a 4/5, the main game is fun an engaging with amazing sounds and visuals but there are so many nit-picks to be had with certain areas like the character and environment design, as well as the forced humour that doesn’t quite hit the spot at moments. Fans will love this continuation in the series, as well as anyone who like a good hack and slash game with RPG elements.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.