As 2002 slowly begins to grow on us the gaming industry is in it’s biggest dry spell of the year. After Christmas games trickle out like drunken monkeys at closing time. So for a game of this quality to make an appearance in the first quarter is absolutely unheard of, well not exactly but you get my point. Drakan The Ancients’ Gates is one of SCEA’s biggest titles for the first quarter of 2002 and for good reason, it doesn’t suck!
Well let’s get started, you play a hot, firm, sexy, err ok ya get the idea, female named Rynn whose best friend, and soul mate (according to the story) just happens to be a dragon named Arokh. They paired up after the 600 year silence between man and dragon to stop the evil dudes from taking over the world. They succeeded in their quest, but in the process Rynn’s home was destroyed and her brother disappeared into the shadows. This is where you begin your adventure with Rynn and her scaly sidekick.
The first thing you will notice about Drakan is that it is very story based. Cut scenes protrude the game at almost every turn in the beginning and slowly build up what becomes a very intriguing storyline. As you continue to journey throughout your quest key places are marked on your map for easy reference and trust me you will need them as this game is massive in size. The worlds are free roaming and absolutely gorgeous with little to no pop-up what so ever! The character models could have used some updating as they retain the same polygonal look that the PC version had but we can forgive them as the frame rate is excellent.
The game play hosts two unique styles, one is when Rynn is on foot. She has the basic movements of your average Tomb Raider-esque game and moves much more fluid than the British bombshell. The battle system is very a-la Zelda with a lock-on button to boot. Rynn also collects several other weapons along the way as well as being able to buy them from certain shops and merchants. You get a good chance to learn all these wonderful things within the first hour of game play. Easy to learn and difficult to master this game is deep baby!
The sounds in the game are very nice, including the voice acting. For the first time the characters have…well character. The lead role Rynn sounds a little too much like Lara Croft though hehehe, and her sidekick, the mighty scaled one is hard to understand until you listen to the way he speaks. The music is very suiting to be honest so I have no complaints there.
Graphically this game runs very smooth and the levels are absolutely huge. Loading does occur occasionally but it does not defer the game play one bit. The character models coulda used some more minutes in the oven but overall not too shabby. In the end I recommend giving this game a whirl, I expected it to be complete garbage but after only an hour of playing I could not stop. The game just sucks you in and won’t let go! This could be adventure game of the year so enjoy it while the dry spell is at it’s peak. ZT out!