Drakengard 3 (PS3) Review

Jae Lee

And I thought my sisters didn’t get along.

Drakengard is a series that’s been running since the PS2 days, and even though it’s enjoyed a bit of a cult following, I never found the series to be that interesting as it simply did not fit my tastes.

However, a few years back I had the pleasure of checking out a little known title by the name of “Nier”, and instantly became a fan of the developers at Cavia. Unfortunately, the studio disbanded shortly after and I was left wanting more.

So when I heard that Drakengard 3 would be created by many of the same folks who were involved with the creation of Nier, I felt obligated to check out the series in earnest for the very first time, and came away with mixed feelings.

These are your lovely sisters. You’ll be killing them all.

MSRP: $49.99
Platforms: PS3
Multiplayer: DLC only, single player.
Demo Availability: N/A
Voice Acting Selection: ENG only standard. JPN voice over available as DLC.
Length: 12-16 hours

If there is one definitive similarity between Nier and Drakengard 3 it’s that the best parts of the game are its cast of insane characters and intriguing storyline.

The heroine of this tragedy is Zero, a crude woman dressed in white who is willing to cut down any and all who stand in her way of killing her five sisters.

She’s not a particularly happy individual, and is constantly cursing at the various trials that are presented in front of her.

At some point she causes an avalanche by speaking too loudly in the snowy alps after being warned, and says something along the lines of “pussy snow, I wasn’t even yelling that loud!”.

She also shared in my distaste for obligatory platforming sections by yelling, “I FUCKING HATE THIS SHIT!”.

Then, there is Mikhail- her “trusty” dragon with the mind of a little child who constantly pisses himself and talks about how everyone should just get along in the midst of a blood bath.

GET IN MAH BELLY!

Zero’s sisters and their disciples are quite the characters themselves with their own little quirks, and the constant banter between the party through various situations was quite entertaining to say the least.

The overarching storyline is also rather mysterious, and goes far beyond the initial impressions throughout its five distinct endings that must all be experienced to fully understand the story.

Unlike Nier, getting the new endings all involved brand new content with new bosses to topple and tons of new dialog, so I was always looking forward to the next stage.

While the combat is repetitive and lacking depth, the variety of weapons and multiple styles of engagements ranging from rail shooter, on foot and on dragon back helped to break up the monotony.

The biggest issue of Drakengard 3 stems from its terrible optimization, as the game would often slow to a crawl (as in single digit FPS) during heated moments in combat, which is simply unacceptable.

It’s not like the game looks particularly great to start with, and even if there are 10-20 enemies on the field at once, there’s really no excuse for such frequent and extreme frame rate issues.

As the combat can be compared most closely to that present in Dynasty Warriors, waves and waves of nameless soldiers are cut down, and it can become absolute murder on the wrist after an hour or so of playtime.

I had hoped that more mechanics would be introduced as the game progressed, but what I got within the first hour was more or less the extent of its ambition outside of small mini game sections.

With how bad the frame rate gets sometimes, this screenshot could be mistaken for in-game video.

While the repetitive combat and atrocious performance issues make Drakengard 3 very difficult to recommend, its characters and story, along with a fantastic OST, makes me feel that there may very well be an audience for this wonderful mess of a game, myself included.

Fun Tidbit: The true final boss of this game will likely go in the pantheon of rage inducing bosses and is well worth seeing in action at least once.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Excellent voice acting
  • Beautiful soundtrack
  • Crude and dark humor with a sense for the bizarre

Bad

  • Massive performance issues
  • Repetitive hack and slash action that tests one’s patience
7.5

Good

Jae Lee
Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.
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