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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Incredibly underwhelming tbh.
The gameplay isn't unbearably frustrating like some other games, but it's just so boring and repetitive. I was able to get through the game but I think I'd just reached the point where I never wanna play it again. The story and characters really aren't anything special either. There's striking imagery and the game is certainly dark, but none of the characters really get any significant development. Inuart is probably the most interesting character, but his arc is still straightforward and predictable. The most disappointing aspect of the game is Caim. I can see where they were going with Caim’s depiction, but I think making him mute was a big mistake. Because of it, every other character just keeps telling you how terrible of a person Caim is while he just makes the same uncaring expression. I feel that this game would’ve been incredibly impactful if I played it during its initial release. By today’s standards however, it comes across as loud and edgy for the sake of just upsetting the player. As someone who likes getting the perspective of a series, I’m not mad I played it, but I also wouldn’t really recommend it. Having played NieR Automata prior, I know how great Taro can be as a director. Unfortunately, his first outing didn't really work for me.

Seems shallow at first but it's as deep as an ocean.
The story was extremely engaging to me and the endings all say something different about the main character, leaves you with a lot to think about.

least fun game i've played in a while!
alternatively, the metric for a really good game is a cracked out backloggd rating distribution

this lil shit destroyed my life i can’t stop playing i can’t!

Games are often limited by their need to be “fun.” Despite video games being the only medium with interactivity—an aspect that should be ripe for all kinds of exploration—we are mostly limited to things that are entertaining on some level to our brains. Games are not designed for sadness, hatred, anger, or a litany of any other emotions as their primary motivators, as these are antithetical to the “fun” designers desperately need to find and the conventionality that audiences crave, despite their protests otherwise. Further, games are often heavily concerned with coherency and reaching standards of “good”-ness. That is: a story should be mostly understandable on some level; production values should be high and apparent; and said production values should contribute to the player’s enjoyment in some way. Games desperately want to be liked, and so they cling to these ideas in the hopes of audience validation.
Drakengard cares not for any of this. You roam through gray hazes of environments, cutting down endless hordes of mindless enemies, in the hopes of increasing in power until the very act of playing the game becomes meaningless. Broken music accompanies your rampage while characters shout vague probings of human nature and desperate attempts to contextualize the battles you fight. Your brief respites are inscrutable cutscenes that are meant to tell some semblance of an utterly hopeless and miserable story as you are flung wildly from beat to beat with little in the way of build-up or logic. You descend further and further into this hellish nightmare of absurd imagery until, miraculously, it ends. You awaken from your fugue state and attempt to comprehend what you’ve experienced.
Well, here’s how I see it: Drakengard has the unique ability to radicalize the player so that they completely reconsider what video games are and what they value from them. Whether this is intentional or not on its part is entirely irrelevant—although its brilliant soundtrack lends some credence to the vision I’m crediting—because it is such a fundamentally bare and broken experience that the only option is, ultimately, to project onto it. Drakengard martyrs itself in order to question the very construction and presentation of video games. It hands you the scalpel and then slowly brutalizes itself to death in front of you, with the hope that whatever conclusion you come to in the autopsy is a valid one. There’s a disturbing smile on its face that invites you to revel in its self-destruction.

If you like your sanity then look up ending E instead of getting every weapon