30, 1998 (Japan)
8, 1998 (USA)
> Panzer Dragoon Saga, the latest masterpiece from Team
Andromeda brings the Panzer Dragoon series to the
next level. For those not in the know, Panzer
Dragoon and its sequel, Panzer
Dragoon Zwei are some of the finest 3D shooters available on
any home system. In these games you rode a dragon, shooting all types
of monsters and machines. The first Panzer Dragoon
was revolutionary when it was released early on in the Saturn's
life. The sequel expanded on the original, but without too much innovation
over it's predecessor. Both games are generally regarded as some
of the finest shooters to grace a home console. The quality of design,
graphics, and gameplay are exceptional. The only knock against the
original Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei
is that they are rail-shooters where you are confined to predetermined
courses. Team Andromeda recognized this weakness and
set out to make the ultimate shooting game. Panzer Dragoon Saga
(PD Saga) is the result.
> Not only does PD Saga eliminate rails, it has introduced
some of the best elements from RPG's. The result is simply amazing.
Andromeda serves up an immersive game that is dripping with gameplay.
Pretty impressive for a game on a "dead" system.
> The story behind PD Saga is top notch. The best part
of PD Saga is the way it consumes the player. You are
Edge, a young kid thrust into the middle of political intrigue and ultimately
shape the fate of a world. After a great intro in which you witness
a flurry of puzzling events that set the game in motion you take control.
Unlike most RPG's you don't know any more than your character is expected
to know. This is one of the most innovative approaches I have seen
in quite some time. With the great graphics and gameplay it is easy
to overlook the story, but it is arguably the real star of the game.
> PD Saga builds on the established PD story.
In addition to some old PD staples there are plenty of new
things to experience. The unity between the three games will become
clear as the game progresses. PD Saga answers several
questions from the previous PD games and does a nice job
of wrapping up the trilogy. The result is the most satisfying game
ending I can recall.
> If PD Saga suffers only from one shortcoming it is the
fact it is simply too easy. I had absolutely no troubles with this
game. A competent dragon rider should be able to breeze through this one
in no time. I was killed twice the whole game. In this case
the dragon is just too powerful. With the right berserk powers and
gun no enemy can stand a chance.
> In addition, the length may not be what one would expect from an epic
of this magnitude. I finished the game in under 20 hours. While this
is extremely short for an RPG, let me assure you this is certainly the
ideal length. PD Saga is a Panzer Dragoon
shooter with RPG features. In my opinion 20 hours is the ideal length
for this genre. At 20 hours the game moved along at a brisk pace.
Surely the game could have been longer, but at the risk of becoming monotonous....
> The graphics are what you should expect from a Panzer Dragoon
game. The graphics never needed improvement in the first place, so expect
more of the same fine graphics you are used to seeing in a PD
game. In other words smooth polygons, nice texture variety, accurate
shading and colorful light-sourcing. The enemies are varied and imaginative
and the bosses are huge and imposing. The graphical stars of the game are
your dragons berserk powers. When these spells are unleashed get ready
for a real treat. Not only are they deadly, but they are fun to watch.
The only time the game is subject to the bane of action games, slowdown,
is during berserk attacks. Thankfully you just sit back and watch
the carnage while your dragon deals massive damage to the enemy.
> The CG movies are of outstanding quality and actually enhance the game.
Seeing a render of the dragon in motion, with it's colorful wings and soft
edges a beautiful sight to behold.
> PD Saga is just loaded with little details. These
small details which vastly add to the atmosphere are often taken for granted.
but it is my opinion that these little details are what make Sega
> The control is just as good as the visuals. There are three separate
modes of gameplay: navigating the dragon in flight, exploring on foot,
and battle. Each of these have a third person view. While exploring
on foot and on the dragon you are free to roam wherever you please.
At these times the camera is a simple "chase-cam" view that can not be
adjusted. During battles the dragon moves on a 360-degree rail where
he circles around enemies. Flight and exploration are intuitive, and after
the tutorials you should have the battle system down pat.
> There is nothing special as far as sound is concerned, but it does what
I feel sound is supposed to do: enhance, not annoy.
> Sound effects are taken from the previous PD games, and
are still excellent. If you have played the previous PD
games you know what to expect. If not, then prepare to hear plenty
of pulsing lasers and monsters squealing as they take hits. Hearing my
dragon scream in agony actually makes me feel guilty for leaving him vulnerable
> There is voice acting throughout, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending
on your tastes) it is all in Japanese. If it is any consolation the
acting sounds good with distinct voices for each character and tone changes
to show emotion.
> The music does an excellent job of setting the mood without being intrusive.
The tempo and style changes depending on the situation and location ranging
from soft wind instruments to pounding percussion..
> To control a dragon and shape a world. Is there a more enjoyable
way to spend 20 hours of your life? Not only is it fun, it is genuinely
interesting and immersive. I beat the game and still can't stop thinking
> This is what Sega gaming is all about. Few games
are as enjoyable as this one. If you can find a copy you owe it to
yourself to give it a try. You will not be disappointed....
9.3 | Graphics: 9.0 | Control: 10 | Sound: 8.0 | Fun: 10