|Drakengard 2 (2006)
Available for: PlayStation 2
Another day, another real-time based RPG. Knights and monsters and dragons and treasure chests and magic and experience points. If the tone of this review doesn’t sound absolutely excited, it’s because the RPG genre doesn’t often cough up anything really innovative on the console platform. Hence we have “Drakengard 2,” a mediocre follow-up to a mediocre debut. Some people get their kicks from this kind of thing, but when the game amounts to nothing more than mindless button mashing, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Anyway, here we are 18 years later after the first game. Our hero Nowe, whose well-renowned father was killed in a battle some time ago, has recently become a member of the Knights of the Seal, a group of seemingly do-gooders who are out to keep the realms free of traitors and the like. However, it’s soon learned that the Knights are actually the bad guys, something Nowe seems to have a hunch about long before this is ever revealed. So of course, he switches sides and bands with the traitors to overthrow the Knights of the Seal and save the world from their greedy takeover.
That’s all fine and all, but the game itself isn’t much fun. Unless you’re new to RPGs, seasoned players will find “Drakengard 2” to be nothing more than an exercise in boredom. Sure, there are multiple characters to switch amongst and play, but when all the action boils down to nothing but basically mashing the square button over and over to get things done, there isn’t much point to trying out all the characters. Therefore, having different attacks attained by mashing button sequences is pointless as well.
There are lots and lots of enemies to hack and slash through, but one soon realizes that on some missions you can just run by them and not deal with the majority, unless you’re just wanting to level up. Most enemies don’t even pose a threat, as they mainly just lumber around at a turtle’s pace, waiting for you to hack them up. It becomes mind numbing fast and the payoffs just aren’t there. Unless, of course, you consider wading through typically bad RPG dialogue screens with typically bad voice acting. Oh, how we haven’t come a long way at all.
However, “Drakengard 2” isn’t all about ground fighting. Nowe gets to mount his foster-parent-of-a-dragon Legna and take to the skies. This makes taking care of ground battles easier at times, but no less boring. Legna can target multiple enemies, but unfortunately he’ll have to blast them almost as many times as Nowe has to beat them down with his sword. Dragons should be a little more powerful than this. There are also air battles as well, but once again the enemies are either dumb and slow, or literally stationary, as Legna often has to destroy patterns of stone blocks hovering in the sky that sometimes shoot back and other times just sit there. God, that’s really not exciting at all.
There are the usual weapons upgrades, magic spells and healing potions. Stores to buy extra junk and sell rinky-dink weapons you find in treasure chests along the way are included as well. Hey, what kind of RPG would this be without the typical general store? Yes, you’ll be pondering that - as well as a hell of a lot more - when playing “Drakengard 2.” In the end, this game feels like nothing but a whole lot of filler and only a little action. It might be one for the kiddies (even with its head scratching “M” rating), but even they will probably tire of this one pretty fast. Oh well, there are always plenty of other RPGs to wade through.