reviews\ Dec 6, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Draglade - NDS - Review

When players first see Draglade in stores it will get their attention and make them wonder: what do music and fighting have in common? After playing through this game, the answer is very obvious - both games are structured the same. Each game requires players to be patience, have accurate timing, and always be prepared for what is about to happen.

Draglade is a 2D fighting game where characters use a device called a G-con which absorbs Matter (from the Earth, wind, ecct) and turns it into a weapon. This process of fighting is using a G-con is called Grapping. There are several different moves players can perform on the battlefield: jumping, strong and weak attacks, guarding, bullets, and the combo beat. Bullets are six special moves that help players turn the tide of battle in their favor by being able to heal themselves, throw fireballs, and do other tasks. While players can carry six bullets on the battlefield, only three can be active at any given time, but it is easy to switch between bullets by touching the screen. Players will have to conserve their bullets, since each takes up a portion of the “special meter,” but the meter will slow increase each time an enemy is hit.

The real fighting (and musical interaction) happens when players hit the L Button. This opens up the beat combo mode, which allows players to unleash a rapid string of attacks. As players hit each beat of the combo, notes from a musical score will play. If players want to get the “most bang for their buck” they will hit the attack button the exact same time the meter shows the notes, because it will cause more damage to the enemy. This is a very devastating attack and is this game’s strongest selling point. The fighting engine is strong enough on its own, but adding this feature makes fighting more fun and involved. 

There are several options players will be able to choose from in this game such as training, Dragon Sequencer, DS Wireless, Nintendo WFC, and Story. In order to become successful in this game, it is highly advised that players load the training mode to practice against AI characters. Doing this will allow players to gain a better understanding of the gameplay basics and even learn advanced fighting techniques. The Dragon Sequencer allows players to customize their own beat combos, change which bullets to use, and read their personal gameplay information.

There are two multiplayer modes that players can participate in. The DS Wireless mode is where two gamers can play with on separate DS's, but only if they are in close proximity to each other. This game allows either multi- or single-card play. Once loaded players can either fight against each other, play a co-op game, trade bullets, and even trade custom beat scores! The Nintendo WFC (Wi-Fi Connection) allows players to compete against each other around the nation. After each match, players will earn G-Points; these points then go into a national ranking system where players can see who is the best in the country.

In the story mode, there are four different main characters to choose from which are affiliated with one of these elements: fire, water, lightning, or Earth. Each character has a unique story;, for instance the fire hero wants to become the best gapper of all time, while the lightning hero is trying to get away from his mysterious dark past. In additional to these characters, there are also four other characters to unlock. The entire story of this game is really shallow as it revolves around players trying to obtain a Grapper license and become the best Grapper, which is called a Major Grapper.

As gamers continually play Draglade, they will eventually get tired of hearing the same combo beats constantly. This especially holds true since there are numerous encounters with “cannon fodder” enemies. Thankfully the developers added in the Dragon Sequencer mode discussed earlier. Players will be able to hear various new beats gained from enemies and make their own beats that will becomes their own tool of destruction and which can be more effective than the default beats in the game. This really helps prevent the game from getting stale, and adds a lot of interaction with players, especially since they can share their creativity with other gamers.

This game looks decent, but there have been many other games recently released that look better. The problem is not with the animation but with the lack of detail. The soundtrack is easily forgettable, which is surprising since the game centers on music, though allowing players to be able to create their own selection of beats really helps.

Draglade is rated Everyone 10+ and contains cartoon violence, mild language, suggestive themes, and use of tobacco.

Review Scoring Details for Draglade

Gameplay: 8.0
The developers did a good job of blending both a fighting game and musical game all in one place. Having the ability to create and use your own combo moves is really refreshing and helps prevent repetition.

Graphics: 7.1
The graphics are decent but there have been better looking games released for this system.

Sound: 7.8
For a game that is centered around sound, the audio for this game doesn’t stand out very well. The music for this game gets old quick. Hearing your own custom beats while fighting enemies is exciting.

Difficulty: Easy
The game is not very difficult, but it does take time to get used to everything. Thankfully there is a nice tutorial mode in the beginning of the game that allows players to get a better understanding of how the game works.

Concept: 8.0
The concept is really great. This is one of the most unique ideas a game has had in a couple of years. Getting to create your own beat combos and share them is really nice.

Multiplayer N/A
At the time of this review I was unable to test the multiplayer aspects of this game.

Overall: 7.8
Draglade has a really unique premise that will keep players attention for a while, especially with the multiplayer aspects. The single-player mode will keep players occupied but it is plagued by a boring story that players might not even care about before the game is beaten. Hopefully the developers will take the game's foundation and improve upon it even more to make an irresistible outing for any sequel.


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