Review by NMetatron
"It has everything an RPG gamer could ask for, except for challenge and gameplay."
Panzer Dragoon Saga is the final episode in the series. Unlike its prequels, this episode takes the form of an RPG.
The in-game graphics are incredible. Everything is gouraud shaded and light-sourced. Towns are well-constructed and manifest an amazing attention to detail. The atmosphere is absolutely incredible. You'll feel as if you're in another world because of the ingenius monster and technological designs. All the real-time cutscenes are motion captured and look incredibly cinematic; almost equal to Metal Gear Solid. The catch is that everything is in a not so high resolution and the polygon counts for the humans aren't as high as you could hope for(what the hell is wrong with their hands?). During the game, you'll watch about an hour's worth of FMV. Unfortunately, it looks as if the movements for the characters weren't motion captured this time around and the intro FMV has horrible character modelings(just look at Edge!).
The sound effects fit right into the atmosphere. You'll recognize most of the sounds from the other Panzer games. All the voices were done in japanese except for the intro and ending sequences which were done in the Panzer language from the first two games. From what I can tell, the voice acting is great, except for when they speak that "other" language. Sometimes it felt like they were making up the words as they were going along. Music was definitely a disappointment. It's probably the worst of the series. There are a few good tunes here and there, but not enough to warrant the purchase of the soundtrack.
PDS's most prized feature is it's combat system. You get to move around 4 sectors. Wow. Interesting. That's not actually why it's so cool, it's actually the bosses. The bosses are pretty darn innovative. I wish I could tell you about them, but that would just spoil the whole game.
The story WILL grab you. It's very moving and is told wonderfully through the game's cutscenes and above-average translation, but as an RPG, this game does not live up to it's expectations. You won't have much to equip. Just gun parts. Most of the items, you will never use because you can just use your berzerks. In fact, almost half your items really are just crap that you're supposed to sell. The dungeon designs are tedious, they offer nothing more than the traditional 16-bit "press the button and go to the exit" gameplay. Of course the biggest let down of this game was it's length. It took me only 10 hours to beat my first time through, and the game's 4 CDs long.
Despite this review's negative tone, I did enjoy the game's story. It's just that I didn't really feel like I was playing more than I was watching. This is one game that I'll probably never play through twice again, just like all the other RPGs.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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