Will Zero succeed in killing her sisters?
As a newcomer to the franchise, I went into Drakengard 3 with no previous biases for or against the series. I came out as a rather happy gamer.
Drakengard 3, known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon 3, places you in the role of Zero, one of the Intoners of the world. She has a simple goal: Kill her sisters so that she is the only one with the power. Initially she is only accompanied by her faithful, if somewhat dumb, dragon, Mikhail. As she slays her fellow Intoners, however, she gains new allies as she forces their disciples to join her.
In addition to increasing your party size, up to a maximum of three (Zero plus two disciples. Mikhail is largely absent during the stages) and grants you a new weapon. These weapons can be utilized to string together even more impressive combos as you can freely swap between weapons during combat. In addition there are requests you can take on that require you to utilize only one type of weapon, such as swords.
These requests can be done as many times as you wish, though each one features a unique first time completion bonus. This bonus can range from extra gold or an upgrade material to the ability to carry more potions. In fact these missions are the only way to increase the number of potions you can carry into a stage, so these bonuses make it worth the effort of running through, even if said mission is simply “Break open three chests in a certain amount of time”, which can be somewhat agitating to complete the fifteenth time.
That said, the quests do have a bit of variety, but not all that much. Some have you cracking open the chests, others have you fighting hordes of enemies in order to obtain a specific item. Later on there are even survival matches which pit you against increasingly tough foes for gold and experience.
Once you have cleared a chapter you will unlock a special “Payday” mission. These missions require that you complete a certain number of Accord’s requests and pit you up against a tough foe who drops gold every time you hit him. Once you have managed to defeat the foe, if you manage to do so within the time limit, a golden soldier will appear, allowing you the chance to obtain even more gold from the stage.
The plot sounds simple enough, yet it is actually rather gripping and I honestly had a hard time stopping. The characters are also interesting, if rather perverted in several cases. I was warned by a friend going in that the Drakengard games are “somewhat meh in gameplay, but the story is where the series shines”, and I feel like the prequel lived up to that description. The combat features some interesting mechanics, however it doesn’t feel as if it is fully polished and thus it may turn away some of the more hardcore action gamers. If the combat felt a bit smoother this would have easily scored a 4.5 or even a perfect 5.
Overall, if you enjoy games like Nier then you’ll probably enjoy this title. One thing to note is that the game requires (or at least the copy I played did) a resolution of at least 720p, so if you’re using 480p you’ll have to adjust your display settings, if possible.
Final Score: 4/5