Panzer Dragoon Saga

Panzer Dragoon Saga
Game Name: Panzer Dragoon Saga
Media: 4 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): Team Andromeda
Genre(s): RPG
Release Date: May 1998
Serial Number: MK81307-50
Region: PAL

Panzer Dragoon Saga Menu ScreenshotWhen the Sega Saturn was first unveiled to the public, the technology was described as being able to provide the player with vast worlds and emotional immersive gameplay that would be like nothing that had gone before. Despite Sega’s claims, very few games actually came close to delivering this, if none at all.

How fitting then that in Saturn’s final days Sega manage to produce a game that finally delivers on all those promises.
As the title suggests, Panzer Dragoon Saga is not a sequel to ‘Zwei’ (Two, in German), but an entirely new game. Taking place thousands of years after the original series, the game follows the epic adventure of 15 year old Edge, who is employed in guarding artefacts recently excavated by the Empire.

Panzer Dragoon Saga Gameplay Screenshot

During this, Edge becomes caught up in an assault by rebel faction leader, Lord Craymen, resulting in the destruction of the Empire’s capital city and the near death of Edge. The desire to uncover the truth about one of these stolen artefacts, a girl named ‘Azel’, becomes one of Edge’s main purposes in the game while hunting down Craymen.
Of course, as with the previous games, a dragon accompanies Edge throughout this epic adventure. The opening story, and subsequent story telling, is presented in movies which have a unique artistic style and are completely breath-taking.

What really separates Panzer Dragoon Saga apart from the franchise is the ability to explore freely.
Gameplay takes part in three methods, walking, flight, and battle. Edge can explore towns, converse with people and trade items.
Panzer Dragoon Saga Boss ScreenshotControlling Edge is fairly simple, although no combat takes place on foot a cursor can be bought up to select specific objects of interest that are nearby. This is particularly useful when ‘eavesdropping’ on conversations, the use of Japanese as the vocal language will be seen as a barrier by some, and as a way of enhancing the mystique of the in-game world by others.
As with most dialogue rich games, sub-titles are provided at the bottom of the screen.

As with its predecessors, most of the game is played on the back of the dragon. It’s your responsibility to raise and nurture your dragon who will transport you to some absolutely beautiful locations ranging from canyons to vast oceans and, unlike previous games, flight is not fixed to a pre-determined path.

Panzer Dragoon Saga Cutscene Screenshot

Controlling the dragon is quite simple and movement is incredibly smooth. Another change is combat, rather than aiming and shooting fights follow a turn-based system with a three part gauge that fills up over time allowing Edge to fire his gun or the dragon’s lasers depending on the enemy encountered. Having more than one gauge filled allows the dragon to unleash spectacular berserker attacks. While some traditionalists may find it difficult to adjust to this style of play, it really does add tactics and variety to the way in which you play.

Presentation is beautiful, particularly later on in the game, and helps to give the sense of sheer enormity of the world in which Edge can explore whilst a stellar soundtrack, particularly during battle really is impressive.

Panzer Dragoon Saga in Game Screenshot

Sound also does a really good job of immersing the player. Edge can morph his dragon into seemingly infinite forms which, along with an absolutely huge world to explore mean that there’s so much to keep the player coming back as no two games are ever the same.

So, Saturn’s swansong delivers what doubters thought would be impossible to produce on the Saturn. Panzer Dragoon Saga is the very epitome of what Sega are about, delivering experiences that are unlike anything that have gone before, not being afraid to do something controversial or new, and, most importantly, providing experiences that will be remembered for years.

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