Drakengard 2 improves upon the original game, but it retains some of the same problems found in the original.
- Lengthy single-player campaign with multiple endings
- Interesting story, with plenty of twists and turns
- Mostly excellent sound, with great voice acting and music
- Some unique and challenging boss battles.
- Terrible camera angle requires constant adjustment
- Combat quickly gets stale
- Dated graphics, extremely short draw distance, and occasionally choppy frame rate detract from the action
- Air-to-air battles are boring and tedious .
It sounds like a great idea: large-scale combat combined with fireball-spewing dragons. For the most part, it's as enjoyable as you might expect, especially if you're into dragons or hack-and-slash games. The first Drakengard had its share of problems, but the novelty of being able to summon a dragon and take to the skies during battle was enough to endear the game to those action fans who were willing to accept the awkward camera angles, repetitive gameplay, and truly bizarre story. While the second installment in this relatively new franchise does slightly improve upon its predecessor, it's still noticeably rough around the edges.
Drakengard 2 takes place 18 years after the events in the first game. The story follows the young Nowe as he goes about the task of single-handedly saving the world from utter annihilation. Nowe was raised by a dragon named Legna and was eventually discovered by a general of the Knights of the Seal, a powerful group of elite soldiers charged with the task of protecting the five magic seals that confine the red dragon and maintaining peace in the world. It isn't as simple as that, though, and Nowe soon discovers that the Knights of the Seal aren't as noble as they seem. So the idealistic (and rather whiny) hero forsakes the knights and sets out to discover the truth for himself. As you might expect, this dissention earns Nowe a lot of enemies, whom he'll reluctantly have to incinerate and hack to bits throughout a lengthy 30-hour campaign.
The game is divided into 12 chapters, each with several verses. These verses are basically missions, which vary slightly but usually involve moving from one point to another or eliminating all enemies within a given area. There are two distinct mission types: ground and air. The ground missions are your basic hack-and-slash-style missions where you run around and hit the square button over and over until there's nothing left to kill. For the air missions, you take control of the dragon and engage in dogfights with enemy balloons, floating blocks, and crude fighter planes.
The ground missions are by far the best part of the game. While on the ground, you control Nowe or one of three other playable characters as you slice your way through huge crowds of enemies. You can switch characters at any time by equipping a different weapon. Each character has a specific weapon type, and each weapon has different strengths and weaknesses. The axe, for example, is very slow but extremely powerful and great for dispatching large groups of armored enemies. Some characters are naturally better at dealing with certain foes. Nowe is weak against monsters, while the axe-wielding Urick can cut down giant ogres without breaking a sweat. These proficiencies will prompt you to change characters often, which is a nice way to break up combat, even though it all still comes down to mashing the square button repeatedly.
When on the ground, you have one main attack, which can be used to perform combos. There is an alternate attack that launches enemies up into the air, but the normal attack is faster and more effective, which negates the need for any alternates. Each weapon has a handful of unique combos, but it's just as easy and effective to simply use the standard attack combo over and over. Sometimes you'll need to avoid an attack by diving left or right or by blocking, which is much easier than in the original, since you now can move while keeping your guard up. Occasionally you'll find yourself outmatched, but this can usually be overcome with some generic magic attacks. The magic attacks clear the area around your character, and the strength of the magic is determined by how long you hold down the circle button to charge the attack. Again, the magic is unique to each weapon, so if you want to change your magic attack, you have to equip a different weapon.
If you're playing as Nowe and you get tired of swordplay, you can press the select button to summon Legna and take to the skies. As Legna, you can hold the L2 button to hover over the land and rain fireballs down on your enemies. This is a great way to take out large groups of enemies, but certain types of enemies are immune to Legna's attacks. Legna can only be summoned in outdoor areas, so you're on your own while you're in any of the game's many indoor areas.