JOKES ABOUT SEX AND DRAGON’S PISS AREN’T ENOUGH
When I first saw the trailer to Drakengard 3, I thought I was looking at a Final Fantasy style game, immediately making me excited to play it because I really enjoyed the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. The art style, crazy-sounding story, and fact that Square Enix published it gave me hope that it would end up being similar to Final Fantasy. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong about the game I was about to play.
Drakengard 3 is set a century before the first game in the series, making it a prequel. During this time, the world is in chaos as countries wage war against each other. Eventually five beings, called “Intoners”, descend from the sky and defeat the warlords with their mysterious ability to use magic. The Intoners spawned when the original Intoner was saved by an evil flower, which in turn gave them all their powers. They then split up into the different countries and rule them as gods. You play as Zero, the original Intoner, as she sets out on a quest to kill the other Intoners and save the world from the flower’s evil powers.
There are weird stories out there, and then there is this. Drakengard 3 is by far the weirdest story I have ever experienced in a game. At first, I thought it was kind of fun, or at least funny. But as I progressed, the story became more convoluted. The story tried too hard to be outrageous and hilarious that it became nonsensical. I am sure there are people out there that will enjoy this story, but I am not one of them. It ended up feeling like a 13-year-old decided to write as many fart and sex jokes as possible and threw them into one game hoping it would make for a good story. Well, it didn’t.
The graphical side of the game was just as bad, if not worse than the story. When I originally watched the trailer, it looked like it was going to be an extremely pretty game; it ended up being as far from pretty as possible. The graphics are so dated, even for PS3 standards; they look worse than many games did at the beginning of the console life cycle several years ago. Important character models were not crisp, enemy character models were reused by the thousands (also not crisp), and the environments repeated the same textures and were about as bland as can be.
Drakengard 3 was also plagued by technical hiccups. Each and every time there was a large battle, the screen would constantly suffer from horrendous frame rate drops. This would make it nearly impossible to know what is going on during battles, let alone figure out where you are.
There are two types of battles in the game: ground battles and aerial battles. The ground battles’ fighting mechanic is literally the game’s only saving grace. However, that doesn’t mean that it will appeal to all audiences. Drakengard 3 features hack-and-slash gameplay while on the ground, which can be fun if you if you enjoy slicing up hundreds of baddies per level. However for most players, myself included, this style of gameplay gets extremely monotonous very fast.
I always felt overpowered when fighting against the cannon fodder troops the game would throw at me. Drakengard 3 tries to make battles more challenging by giving you different weapon types that are more effective against different enemies. The varying enemy types weren’t common enough to warrant switching weapons often, so when they would finally show up I would forget which button to use. This honestly didn’t make the game any harder, and instead only made it more annoying.
Typically an aerial battle is made up of you riding a dragon and shooting fireballs at hundreds of enemies on the ground or in the air with you. These aerial battles were not only much worse than the ground battles, but they also suffered incredibly because of the frame rate drops. Aerial battles were hard to control and felt like a mini-game that was shoe-horned in just to change things up from the boring hack-and-slash gameplay.
Drakengard 3 also deserves criticism for its outdated mission structure. Each mission was made up of a linear path, with hundreds of enemies littered around, and boss rooms here and there before the end. After every mission you would go to a boring menu screen where you could buy items and weapons, upgrade your weapons, and choose to do “side quests” or continue with the main story. Even though this mission structure felt natural because of the out-of-date nature of the rest of the game, it is still weird to see it in a game today.
The Verdict: 4.7 out of 10
Drakengard 3 is not a good game. Plain and simple. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a niche audience that will have a lot of fun playing it, it just means that most normal gamers will not enjoy their time with it. It suffers horribly from framerate issues, outdated graphics and mission structure, and a repetitive combat system. The story can be funny sometimes, but only if you go into it not caring about it and expecting it to be silly. If you need a hack-and-slash fix or just want a crazy story that makes no sense, you might as well give this one a try. Otherwise, it’s better forgetting this one even exists.
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