Drakengard 3 Review: Why don't we wash that mouth out with soap
I was honestly confused by Drakengard 3's early hours. Not because I'm unfamiliar with the series, quite the contrary, I've played and beat both Drakengard 1 and 2. Perhaps it was the decade that passed between the release of Drakengard 3 and its predecessors that confused me the most, but I never remembered the old games to be so overly vulgar and ripe with sexual innuendos.
Upon booting up the game, the tone is immediately set when a few minutes into the backstory narrated by an old man's voice gets cut short, and the main character, Zero, plunges a sword through his back. It was both unexpected and quite hilarious, and I immediately knew at that point, this was going to be an atypical story. The events that followed only solidified that. Zero is one of six sisters, called the Intoners. These magical beings descended and each ruled a particular section of the world. However, Zero is on a quest to kill them all.
Having also played Nier, which the developers have worked on prior to Drakengard 3, has desensetized me to the vulgar words and suggestive themes present throughout the game. Still, the sexual innuendos are really only present for the first half of the game, and things do start to get a bit more serious after that. That's one of the things that kept drawing me in, despite its odd premise and vulgarity. In one moment I'd be watching a dragon urinate from being scared, and the next I'd be witnessing a character's untimely death that I felt right in my gut.
Drakengard 3's strengths also lie in its fun and fast paced combat system. Zero will continually get access to more weapons that completely change up her attacks. Players can switch these up on the fly, giving tactical advantage against enemies that might show up that have a weakness to a different weapon.
Zero also has her trusty dragon companion Mikhail, who she can summon in various situations to either help her defeat enemies in an area on his own, or let her ride him. Drakengard 3's action is focused far more on Zero than on her dragon companion, which is slightly different from what I remember in the original two games, which emphasized dragon mounted combat much more. Thankfully, like I mentioned, the game's major strength is in Zero's combat mechanics, so this isn't really a problem. Coupled with the fact that controlling Mikhail isn't always a pleasant experience, you'll most likely be thankful that the game focuses mainly on Zero.
Zero also has a special ability called Intoner Mode which basically turns Zero into an invulnerable and badass killing machine. Not only is the transformation sequence awesome each time you do it, you dispose of enemies with ease and watch as their blood bathes your skin. I'm not crazy, I swear.
When it comes to visuals though, Drakengard 3 is a mixed bag. The character designs were fantastic. I loved Zero's look in particular; her white flowy dress only serves as a contrast to her violent behavior since it gets drenched in blood the more you tear enemies apart with her weapons. But her sisters all have very distinct looks as well, which emphasizes their wildly different personalities.
However, the environments in particular tend to look rather bland. If the trade-off here was to have a silky smooth framerate the entire time, I probably would have been slightly more understanding, but the problem is that isn't always the case. Granted, more often than not, you're getting fairly smooth gameplay, but when things start getting hectic, not to mention when you summon Mikhail to your aid, things start to slow down a bit, and that's a shame.
Drakengard 3 might have come out of nowhere, but it was a pleasant surprise for fans of the original two games, like myself. There is no doubt that the game looks dated, which is slightly unfortunate, especially given new consoles hit the market last year, but thankfully the game's fun and exciting combat redeems it.