I didn’t buy a Playstation 3 just for Drakengard 3 (that would have been silly), but it was the first exclusive game that made me really want a PS3. Fortunately I was able to adopt the console for the low, low price of free, and then I bought Drak3, and then I… didn’t play it for like two years. Oops!
But now, I am playing it! Time to get m’self up to speed before NieR: Automata drops. I mean, they’re only very loosely related so it’s not like it really matters, but I still feel like I ought to play through this game that I was desperately excited for before I start up the next game that I’m desperately excited for.
Before I even started up the game, I logged into the Playstation Store to check out the DLC options, as I knew there were add-ons for extra chapters. While I was ready to go ahead and buy them sight unseen, I decided to wait and see how the base game turned out before dropping another $30. It turned out that you can’t play the extra chapters until the main story is cleared anyway.
There are also costumes and music packs to purchase. The costumes are all of characters from the previous Drakengard games and NieR, and they also actually affect gameplay! But, they’re $4 each, and that’s a little too steep. Even though I could be running around dressed as Kainé or Nier (albeit the inferior “brother” Nier). Even though I don’t know exactly what it does, I did drop $3 on the NieR BGM pack, which adds three remixed NieR tracks to the game. Where? Not sure yet! But they sure are cool mixes. Wish I could put ’em on my phone somehow so I could listen to them whenever I like!
The game starts with “protagonist” Zero and her dragon partner Michael (not a good name for a dragon) assaulting a fortress, with the express intent of murdering Zero’s five sisters. Apparently they’re all legendary angels, but I don’t really know what that’s about. Gameplay is very basic hack-n-slash business in the intro. Hopefully it’s just keeping it simple for now, but if the previous Drakengard games are any indication…
After mowing through countless soldiers, who bleed as if they’re literally just huge bags of blood, you finally meet up with the sisters. And then a massive four-on-one boss fight ensues. It’s not hard because Zero is nigh invulnerable, but it can be tricky to keep your sights locked on to any one girl for long. Once they all give up, One, who appears to be the de facto leader of the group, summons her own dragon pet, Gabriel (oooh I get it now). You fight Gabe for a bit, then he blasts Zero’s left arm clean off and presumably kills Michael. The pair tumble into a chasm and we jump a year into the future.
Zero, to this point, doesn’t seem like much of hero. We have no idea what’s going on in the plot so far, and her only justification for attempting to murder her sisters is that she wants to be the only magical angel lady (or “Intoner” as the game calls them). She is also not very appropriately dressed, but this isn’t surprising, because Taro Yoko very obviously has some issues with women. Her outfit isn’t quite as skimpy as Kainé’s lingerie, but it’s not very much better. In fact, I sort of regret having purchased the game at a real store, because the checkout girl that seemed happy to help me at first took one look at the cover and shot me a look that told me she’d decided that I must be some sort of weird pervert.
But Zero is definitely a badass. She’s got a short temper and a foul mouth, and has got the skills to back it up. The way she flies around the screen, slicing her enemies to ribbons, is very cool. Actually, she is basically just Kainé, if Kainé was a murderous psychopath instead of a grumpy hermit. Her temperament is much more like that of Caim, the hero from the first Drakengard. Which I greatly approve of, if only because his characterization in The Dark Id’s LP was amazing.
An I make it sound worse than it really is when I call Zero a psychopath. Because every single character in Drakengard is on the psychopath spectrum, and it looks like D3 is following suit. Except for Mikhail, Zero’s baby dragon buddy who is apparently a reincarnated version of Michael. Mikhail is constantly asking Zero why she wants to kill everyone instead of just talking it out and trying to resolve their issues. He’s a naive little dude that dislikes violence, but follows Zero around anyway. It actually seems like he belongs more in the NieR branch of the series than Drakengard.
Anyway, the game hasn’t made much of an impression yet, but these things are often pretty unassuming from the start. Gameplay is snappy but uninspired, graphics are not the best the PS3 has to show, and the story hasn’t gotten twisted at all. But that’s after just the prologue and two levels into chapter one. It may take a while before it really opens up and goes coo coo bananas. There have been a couple shocking scenes, but nothing on the level of the Grotesqueries yet.
Stay tuned to maybe read some more about this wacky game!