Panzer Dragoon is often one of those games that only certain people talk about, retro collectors, Sega Enthusiasts and fans of obscure japanese RPG games with high price tags. Panzer Dragoon Remake aims to reignite its flame with at least 2 of those demographics while finding a new legion of fans.
Panzer Dragoon was one of the key titles for the ill fated Sega Saturn, at the time of release it was graphically unparalleled and gave a glimpse to the world with what Sega could do. Panzer Dragoon Remake is that very same title, with a new coat of paint & some slight changes, for better or worse this is 1995 all over again.
Panzer Dragoon Remake takes the original 1995 rail shooter and effectively slaps a new coat of paint onto it. The fact it is a rail shooter may confuse some younger players as the genre doesn’t really have much exposure anymore, think of it like a 3D Bullet Hell with more spectacle.
The main gameplay loop of Panzer Dragoon is your Dragon goes through a stage, you can move it around the screen but not off the path, you target enemies and you kill enemies, end of the stage you’re greeted with a boss, you either live or die. It’s the same style as Starfox, Sin & Punishment or the Gummy stages in Kingdom Hearts.
Panzer Dragoon Remake starts you off with a hefty introduction clocking in at over five minutes, there is quite a decent story in here for those who like that, especially for a rail shooter. The story involves an evil empire, dragons, ancient civilizations, an evil tower and a few twists and turns along the way. Skipping the cut scenes really doesn’t affect enjoyment and only adds to the product for those of you who just want to shoot stuff.
Graphically Panzer Dragoon Remake is a little stunner at times, other times it has an almost “too clean” look about it, especially for a title deeply rooted in fantasy. Being this is a remake it had some lofty boots to fill, despite being a title from 1995 it’s still very easy to appreciate how stunning the original title was. This title while has the wow factor in some places, does at points go a little too far and tidied some stuff up a little too much where it affects the art direction and doesn’t have the same impact.
Stage 2 is an absolute dream compared to the original, the cave looks and feels more like a cave and less whatever it looked like in the original, stage 1 is on the other end of the spectrum.
Stage 1 has gone from open ruins in the ocean with some amazing shadow effects and a distinctive style to ruins in a much more populated area, cliffs and alot more clutter on screen and sadly the water is murky and no shadows to be seen.
Other tweaks include a new “modern” control system which separates the sight to the right stick and dragon movement to the left stick, this also forces the shoot button to the triggers which isn’t ideal considering you’ll need to rapid fire ALOT.
A new remastered soundtrack is due in an upcoming patch but the original OST is friggin timeless, the game also contains a photo mode so you can spend all day finding the Blue Dragons best side.
You’re able to invert the aiming and change the sensitivity which is a God send, while not quite a spot on as the original, with some tweaks you can get a near spot on feel for it. One little niggle I’ve had with the game is the sight, it was 3d which helped with aiming and depth, in Remake its 2D and has a horrid habit of covering the Dragon.
One of the major things that separated Panzer Dragoon from its peers was the fact it is full 360, with the touch of a shoulder button the camera swings do another direction which means keeping an eye on your radar is essential. Fortunately it has remained here and despite an overly flappy Dragon Wing it still works just as well.
So Panzer Dragoon Remake clocks in at around an hour with its 7 Stages, it’s here for a good time, not a long time!. There are 3 difficulties to play on, Easy is ideal for beginners while Hard will gladly make you its bitch. While quite steeply priced for people without the nostalgia, Panzer Dragoon Remake for the most part is a massive win for the series.
Despite a few issues as mentioned I have struggled to put Panzer Dragoon Remake down, it may upset a few die hard fans but considering the developers are collecting feedback for patches and will be taking what they have learnt into Panzer Dragoon Zwei Remake, the future is starting to look very bright for our armoured Dragon series.
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