I have never played any games in the Drakengard series prior to this and I certainly have no plan to after this. This game was really, really cool for certain reasons but I doubt I could stomach a game with even worse gameplay than this had.
That being said, I’m really glad I did play this. I would have ignored it entirely but the trailer with This Silence is Mine won me over so hard that I excited about this game for months. So even though this game was frustrating, tedious and a chore a lot of the time, I still think the end result was totally worth the headache.
Spoilers ahead, I guess?
I see a lot of people really disliked this game. And I understand for some very obvious reasons. Gameplay was absolutely terrible, yeah. I constantly felt underpowered, even with my weapons upgraded to the max. Or I mean my sword maxed out. Good luck trying to use any of the other weapons in the midst of a giant crowd or with an archer nearby.
And if you don’t have Intoner mode saved up… WELL. Enjoy that chipping ever slowly away at the boss. By the end of the game since I was just running away from mobs of enemies, my health bar big enough that I’d just let myself get hit by the boss a couple times so my Intoner built up. Othertimes I would just mash the stamina attack without looking or carry a conversation outside the game without paying attention and still do fine.
Flying on Mikhail (which were most of the bosses, ruining most of the boss fights for me) was a damn pain in the ass and I felt like I was getting lucky more often than I was doing anything tactical or that involved any skill. Eventually you get pretty good at it but if you master garbage, doesn’t that just make you a Trash King? I was the Trash King.
It also looked pretty bland most of the time. The opening cutscene was gorgeous and the rest after were decent but otherwise I noticed textures taking a long time to load and it ended up looking pretty bad sometimes. The setting was nice and some stages were super cool.Fight through them fifty times and they lose their charm though.
And to say NOTHING of the terrible framerate that even caused me to die once or twice…
But I powered through it all. Because of intrigue. I simply could not beat the game, however. I collected all the weapons which was a far less gruelling task than I had imagined it would be. Then I played through D and well… I knew about the rhythm game but I simply could not imagine it would be so difficult and unforgiving. I’m terrible at rhythm games and to have to perfect one? That’s impossible for me.
It did leave a bad taste in my mouth because I then saw other people talking about how easy it was. My pride had been singed and I continued to try even though it frustrated the hell out of me. Maybe I’ll get it one day. Maybe I’ll just trade it in for something else. I was gonna trade it in for Watch Dogs but man that feels like a downgrade.
Sure Drakengard 3 played like garbage and was a chore to play most of the time but man, it hooked me. I see people complaining about the story and how it was poorly written but like??? I’ll GLADLY take what this game offered than what most other games offer. Was the story confusing at times? Was it poorly written at times? Yeah, maybe. But at least it felt original and left me thinking and wanting more. It had a character I hated to play but eventually came to sympathize with immensely. It had tons of characters that were awful but didn’t entirely deserve the just as awful things that happened to them.
I’ve become cynical with games lately. None of the protagonists or characters are like me or relatable in the slightest. Zero certainly was not either but it was still so much fun to play as a female whose design wasn’t overly sexualized (there was one fanservice scene that didn’t sit will with me, I’ll admit) despite herself being very sexual. She was dominant and didn’t take shit from any of the men in her harem. When they weren’t pleasing her in bed, she outright told them how lousy they were. She was tough and rude and crude and full of attitude. Call her a bitch for murdering her sisters and all but you call her a bitch for any of that other stuff and I’ll shake my head so hard it’ll dislocate, fall off and roll away.
And her sisters! Five was definitely my favourite despite only appearing very little. Both times I sympathized with her a lot. Usually a character like her is very brash and cheeky and sure she was full of attitude but her first death was so horrible and then her second showed her in an even more sympathetic and sad light and she sealed the deal as my favourite. Not to mention I just love characters like her (Panty) who are very sexual and know what they want and talk about what they want because I think the virginal and chaste way most women are presented as in media is gross and boring. And I’m certainly not a person like her or would ever but I admire characters like that so much.
Four was a character I could relate to a bit more but like Five she barely shows up. Unlike Five, in her second appearance she’s just full crazy and it’s harder to sympathize with her. Though the contrast of who she really was in A and who she ended up was pretty sad on its own. I have no real opinions about Three or Two (well Two I did feel bad for most of the time).
And One. I can’t bring up One without bringing up one of my favourite things about the game. I played with the english dub because I’m a poor scrub who couldn’t afford the $5 for the original voices. But you know? I loved the english dub. I would go as far as to say it’s one of my favourite english dubs of a game that I have ever played.
And it was mostly because of the scenes between One and Zero. I mean Zero was consistently great. She was full of attitude but soft when the moment called for it such as Branch C. But it was mostly their scenes together that showcased how powerful the dub was. After Mikhail dies, Zero’s voice is full of emotion and I got that. It wasn’t just “I was paid to come in and read these lines”. No, she delivered them perfectly. One was the same way. She was able to deliver anger and grief perfectly as well.
The only character whose dubbed voice was a little artificial sounding was Four to me. She often felt over-acted but I have no idea how her original voice was. It could lend to her being unstable but it just didn’t feel that way.
So other nice things about sound were the soundtrack. While the soundtrack itself is nice, the vocal tracks are just superb. Even the Eir Aoi track isn’t half bad. And it’s Eir Aoi! Well, of course the Emi Evans version is better but hey. Whatever. And though I couldn’t get past the last boss, The Last Song is fantastic.
Notably there’s also the chapter in D that explains most of the loose ends like where the sisters came from and the flower and all that where the vocals only kick in when you use Intoner mode and that just was the coolest thing possible. I’m so glad they took advantage of that.
So I could gush about music for awhile and I could gush about how the characters weren’t typical of the genre and where it wasn’t friendship and love trumps all and how much I love that all. Branch A had so many cool quips what with the censoring and the “early end” and just so many fourth wall things that made me laugh. This game caused me to laugh a lot, drop my controller in sheer shock and even tear up a little bit at times. Sure the writing and story could be confusing but man I’ll take that any day than what passes for story now a days.
Despite the many, many flaws this game had, it was still refreshing in it’s own way. With it’s brutish and interesting female characters, apocalyptic setting, wonderful music and tragic story, it was an experience for sure. And it’s one I probably won’t forget for a very long time.