Part 4: Side Episode: In Which We Talk Some Game MechanicsSide Episode: In Which We Talk Some Game Mechanics
Alright, now the game opens up a little bit. I guess I'll take the time now to explain a few mechanics. Feel free to skip ahead to the weapons stories a bit below, if you aren't into that kinda thing and just want the good stuff.
Right then. Returning from Drakengard 1 (and NIER) is the vast variety of weapons in the hero's armory. There are 67 weapons available through normal play in Drakengard 2 and they are split into five different categories: Short Swords, Long Swords, Spears, Staffs, and Axes. Unlike the series' brethren, our protagonist, Nowe, is not proficient in all manners of blades, pole arms, and head smashing devices. Nowe is only trained with long and short swords so thus that is all that is ever available to him.
You see in Drakengard 2, the party members gained during the story are actually fully fledged playable characters and thus the arms of their weapon of choice (like Eris and spears) is only available to them. Indeed, equipping and selecting said weapons off the Grand Wheel will summon their accompanying character.
In all honesty it is...kind of a shitty system. I mean, it's neat to have alternate playable characters and all. But, due to storyline reasons, characters (and thus their entire weapon set) can be unavailable in gameplay for large durations of the game. In addition, alternate characters and their weapons level-up independently of Nowe. So, you can either remember to swap out the alternates to give them some time up at bat...or just forget them and stick to the main character you'll be forced to use the vast majority of the time. It is a nice idea. It just doesn't work all that well in practice.
Anyway, each weapon has its own magic attack and special traits. Granted, some traits are just stuff like "the sword is pretty damn long" and some of the magic attacks are "the same thing as three other swords, but it's colored yellow this time!" But hey, there you have it.
Each weapon also has its own combos that are unlocked by leveling the thing. There are usually 3-4 combos for each selected arm. Leveling goes by fairly quickly, at least. It's handed the same way as it was back in Drakengard 1: skills for kills, agent.
Lastly, the Drakenier series tradition of Weapon Stories makes its triumphant return! Four paragraphs of death, misery, and curses accompany each fully leveled weapon. I will, of course, be sharing all these lovely tales of woe and debauchery with you fine folks. Drakengard 2's stories are somewhat unique in that they didn't just hire an intern taking night classes studying Japanese to translate them (or second hand translations off GameFAQs message boards...same difference, really.) So, they don't sound quite as tin eared Engrishy. That's not to say they're particularly good or anything, but at least it's a bit of a step up. In addition, some of the stories actually contain fairly important back-story on characters in the game. So, have a couple of tales...
Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:
NOWE'S LONG SWORD
A gift from the previous general. Nowe received this sword on the day he joined the knights as a trainee. Since taking him in from the wild, General Oror had been Nowe's human father, teaching him the ways of men.
Oror was a strong and generous man whose skills with the sword were without equal. He was Nowe's hero. Mocked by some as a wild beast, Nowe dreamed of one day becoming as strong and generous a human being as his adoptive father. Cherishing that dream, he trained every day with his sword and lived the life of a knight.
During Nowe's first battle, Oror saved his life. The cruel reality of war, all the noise and blood and death was too much for the young Nowe to take in. He stood transfixed frozen with fear. Seeing this, Oror rushed to his son's side and commanded Nowe to listen carefully to his words.
"The sword takes life, but is also saves the lives of your friends. What matters is the will of the one who holds the sword." So...would Nowe use this sword to take life or save it? Neither the sword nor Oror could answer that question.
Okay. So General Oror bought the farm three years earlier. Nowe had to be training to be a knight since...probably 13 or 14 years old? I want you all to remember this information during the course of the rest of the next update. Nowe has been in the Knights of the Seal for upward of five years now. And that's not even counting the years he just hung around their castle with his adopted dad, the leader of the whole damn organization. Just...keep that in mind during Nowe's line of questioning in the following Verse.
Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:
Once, there was a man called the Iron Dragon of the Two Swords, famed for his dignity and countless acts of heroism. The owner of this spear was a female knight who trained him. Whether because of its uncommon quality or because it was a gift from Iron Dragon, she always left for battle with this spear in her hands.
During a mission she faced a terrible choice. Ordered to retreat, she stood between countless enemy troops, and a defenseless village. Ignoring her orders, she stayed and fought to death. The enemy paraded her violated remains, then burned the village to ash, while her former allies sullied her name with the charge of insubordination.
When the Iron Dragon found out what had happened, he charged into enemy territory and retrieved his beloved mentor's remains and her spear. Cradling her broken body in his arms, he swore to win back her good name, to become as noble a knight as she had been, and to raise knights who would give their lives to protect the people.
Eris inherited the spear, a memento of these two noble heroes. One can only wonder about what she thinks and for whom she fights, but the fallen knights can rest in peace knowing that their magnanimity of spirit lives on in her.
Welp. Second weapon story in and we've got the original owner of the spear was raped and murdered as well as an entire village slaughtered. Never change, Cavia.
As I mentioned earlier, Nowe can carry several healing items into battle. These are basically the exact same sort of inventory items that were present in NIER. There are HP and MP healing items. They come in small (30% health/MP gain), medium (60%) and full (100%) doses, with increasing price/rarity with each. There's also a few buffs here and there that can be used (take less damage, boost attack power, etc.) Unlike in NIER, there are only seven available slots per battle and only one of each item can be slotted in each space. Which still means you can have seven healing potions in one mission, so it's still quite generous.
Lastly, Nowe can equip assorted accessories during the course of the game to boost assorted stats. Right now he has a pair of old earrings with a whole...1% boost to defense. For...you know, the rare time someone strikes directly on one of his ears. Though physical damage only. If some mage saunters over and punches him in the ear with magic, that's still gonna smart.
Welp, that's about it for menu crawling. Tune in next time for real jibba-jabba featuring aginger rasta midget, a gay musketeer elves, and a goth meth addict chick. Stay tuned...