released on Sep 11, 2003

Drakengard follows the story of a kingdomless prince named Caim who fights for the Union against the Empire. Under the Union's protection are the Hierarchs and the Goddess, currently Caim's sister Furiae, who is a human manifestation of one of the four seals that protect the world from being broken. As the game begins, Cain is fatally wounded in a battle with the Empire. Encountering a captured Red Dragon who is also near death, Caim makes a fateful choice. In exchange for both their lives, the Red Dragon and Caim will enter a pact. This pact will forever chain their lives to one another and link their souls, at the cost of something irreplaceable. Recharged with the fires of a Dragon, Caim's vengeance burns over the enemy...

The player controls Caim on his quest. The game is separated into three distinct modes: Aerial combat, Ground combat and Event Combat. In Aerial Combat, Caim rides dragonback against a variety of airborne foes breathing fireballs (strong single shots and weaker multiple lock-on shots). The Dragon is agile and is able to evade incoming threats, turning around completely in a moment. In Ground combat, the game is shown in 3rd person though usually large, open areas. Controlling Caim, his primary ability is the use of a variety of weapons found on the battlefield. These are leveled up through continued usage, and specifically through the killing of individual enemies. Though magic (determined by weapon choice), timed attacks and evasion, Caim breaks through enemy armies. Characters recruited as allies by Caim can also be summoned during battles, steadily losing health until control is returned to Caim. In ground combat, Caim may also call forth his Dragon to ride and strafe enemies from the air. The Dragon's movements are generally the same as in aerial combat but more limited and less agile. Event combat is similar to Ground combat, but shown isometrically, restricted to a single weapon and without the aid of a dragon. It is used mainly to tell story sequences.

Levels that have been visited before might become "Expedition Missions" which are optional and contain new objectives, enemies and weapons. Additionally, any level previously played in the storyline may be revisited at any time. Depending on Caim's choices (and prerequisites for those choices), there are five different endings to Drakengard.

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Been youtube analysing it with some background vids as podcasts. Really excited to play it for the first time.

Yoko Taro chegou e disse "é proibido ser feliz" e assim nasceu Drakengard, um dos jogos mais sad vibes em todos os aspectos, com destaque pra trilha sonora que, talvez seja proposital, utiliza na sua maioria apenas duas notas, te deixando maluco, igual o Caim.
A parte mais broxante é a gameplay, já não sou fã de jogos desse gênero e ele ainda é super repetitivo e com algumas decisões que irritam, principalmente quando escondem o min mapa do jogo ou forçam vc a não usar o dragão.

Um take pessimista sobre a trope do herói, coisa que Yoko Taro traria de forma muito mais madura em NIER, aqui ela se apresenta ainda assim fortalecida pelo formato massante de gameplay, de soudtrack e de level design.
Muitos diriam que esse jogo é ruim, mas usar o dito "bad design" para provocar o interlocutor é algo que sempre irei apreciar em jogos, e Drakengard faz isso muito bem.
Esse jogo não me deixou triste, mas trouxe um pessimismo, uma aceitação que condiz com a dos personagens. É aceitar a situação e tomar uma posicionamento muitas vezes autodestrutivo.
Jogo muito bom

Absolutely fantastic game, except for the actual gameplay of it. It just plays terrible. But the story and the... "music" save it for me. Still the best story Yoko Taro wrote, but that might be my Berserk bias speaking.

Drakengard is one of those games that are hard to forget. It's not just the dark storyline or the gory violence that sticks with you, but the way the game forces you to engage with its world. On the surface, Drakengard looks like a simple hack-and-slash game, but it's so much more than that.

The game's central mechanic is its unique branching structure. At key points in the game, you are presented with a choice of two paths to take. These choices not only affect the game's story, but also the way you play. Some paths are more combat heavy, while others focus on exploration. There are even paths that are almost entirely separate from the main story.

This branching structure encourages multiple playthroughs, as you try to experience all the different paths the game has to offer. But it also encourages you to think about your choices and their implications. What may seem like a simple choice at first can have far-reaching consequences.

The game's characters are also complex and interesting. They're not just one-dimensional archetypes, but fully fleshed-out individuals with their own motivations and desires. Even the game's villains are sympathetic, and you can't help but root for them even as you fight them.

Drakengard is a game that will stay with you long after you've finished it. It's a game that makes you think, and feel. It's a game that challenges you, and rewards you for your effort. If you're looking for an emotionally and philosophically rich gaming experience, Drakengard is well worth your time.

It's grotesque, disgusting, grimey, greasy, uncomfortable. The combat feels like you're playing with dried out clay and the music sounds like an assault of a possessed orchestra tripping out of their minds. And yet, somehow it all works in harmony to create one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences in gaming.

Yoko Taro's first game, Drakengard, works almost as a prototype for what's to come later in his career. The weapon collecting and grind for the endings is a bit more grating than it is in the Nier series, but it's just as rewarding and works in a weird way from a lore perspective. In addition, Drakengard also follows the same basic structure as the NieR series, despite the progression of the narrative itself being quite different.

The game also works as a thematic parallel to NieR and NieR: Automata, and the latter almost serves as an antithesis to this game. All the characters in the main cast are disgustingly bad people, maybe aside from Seere. The character writing is a bit lacking compared to Taro's other titles, and I've heard the NA localization of the game censors quite a bit, but the cast and plot is still compelling enough to keep pushing through the game.

Despite its notorious reputation of having infamously terrible gameplay, the atmosphere, soundtrack, plot, and characters all work together hand in hand to create one of the most interesting narratives I've ever come across. I don't know if I'd necessarily put myself through it again, but it's an amazing part of Taro's catalog and definitely something I don't regret playing.

Fuck that final boss though