Review by Keiichi522

"This game is intelligent, beauiful, epic. Pure genius."

I had heard from a friend that Panzer Dragoon Saga was a very, very cool game. I had seen screen shots and such, and many of the reviews I read were very much in favor of the game. Unfortuneately, the game was nearly impossible to find, and on eBay guys would bid up to $70, $80, even $100 if is was unopened. So, one day, I went to a new video game store in town, and what did I see? Panzer Dragoon Saga standing on one of the shelves. I nearly went into shock. The next day I purchased the game, popped it into my Saturn, and began one of the most satisfying gameplay experiences of my life.

Graphics
Team Andromeda pushed the Saturn's 3D engine to the edge with this game. Lush, lavishly textured areas inhabited the entire game. Transparencies were done marvelously, and the colors are vivid and sharp. There are multiple, fully-polygonal townsfolk wandering about in the various villages for you to talk to, all done with fine detail. The dragon-morphing system also shows that the Saturn's 3D engine is not to be laughed at. The many FMVs in the game are very well done, and enjoyable to watch The only gripe I had with the graphics were that the in-game characters had some blocky-ness to them, and polygon tears were common when your dragon flies up against a wall. These are very small, insignificant problems, though, and will not detract from the game at all.

Sound
The music in this game is stunning. Ranging from sparse, ambient tribal drumming, to intense, techno like beats, the soundtrack of Panzer Dragoon Saga makes the game come alive. Much of the music flows, and just let's you sort of melt into the game. Sound effects, although nothing to write home about, are just fine. The game is also filled with voice acting, which comes across clear and defined. Panzer Dragoon Saga is a pure aural treat.

Story
Panzer Dragoon Saga is an epic story that finally connects the whole timeline of the Panzer Dragoon games. Panzer Dragoon Saga centers around the character you control, Edge, and his dragon. Edge travels to find the meaning behind the escalating conflict with Craymen's army and the Empire's army. It is difficult for me to explain the story without spoiling things, so I shall not go any further. Panzer Dragoon Saga's story is something that one must experience for him/herself.

Gameplay
Panzer Dragoon Saga fuses traditional shoot em' up game play, as in the previous Panzer Dragoon games, with RPG elements to make a completely original and enjoyable battle system. As you battle, you ride on your dragon, and can move into 4 sectors of battle around the enemy. These areas can keep you safe from enemy attacks and reveal weak points. These sections, shown on a radar-type thing at the bottom of the screen,an either be red (where you can recive heavy damage), clear (nomal damage), or green (safe-zone). This adds a small strategy element to the game. As far as offense goes, you can either use Edge's gun, use the lasers the dragon shoots, or berserk moves, which are pretty much a different name for magic. All in all, Panzer Dragoon Saga's battle system is only second to that of Chrono Trigger and Grandia. Movement while flying on you dragon and when you are on foot is very, very simple. Also when flying on your dragon or on foot, you can lock on to objects with a sort of cross-hair to find items, open passages, talk to people, and unlock secrets.

Replay
As with most RPGs, Panzer Dragoon Saga may not have all that much replay value. Once you've experienced it, you're done, really. Some people may want to try the game again, using different types of dragon forms. That is unlikely though.

Buy or Rent?
You will most likely NEVER find this game to rent in your town, as the Saturn has died out, pretty much. But if you do find it in a local game store, buy it. Even though the game will take the average player 15 to 20 hours to beat, it is a great game to play. Panzer Dragoon Saga is truly exciting to play, it does not feel like a responsibility to finish, unlike some other RPGs. It is worth every cent I bought, and it would be the same for you.

Final Comments
Panzer Dragoon Saga was one of the most involving, amazingly told, and amazingly exicuted games I've ever played. I am very glad that I found it at that game store that day. Do yourself a favor, and if you have a Saturn, find Panzer Dragoon Saga. You'll be glad you did.

-Keiichi522


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/24/00, Updated 04/24/00


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