Part 2: Episode II: In Which We Have a Family Reunion
Episode II: In Which We Have a Family Reunion
Verse 1: Zero
New Music: Thundervalor - Battleground
Welcome to Drakengard 3 proper! She... ain't a looker, I'm afraid...
Despite the fact that two battalions of their comrades being eviscerated and flame-broiled respectively in about a minute flat by the Zero and Mike tag-team. The ground troops allied to Zero's sisters still have some fight in them. Diplomacy had clearly failed well before we arrived on the scene. So in keeping with standards of military doctrine, we now move onto the next stage of negotiations with hostile forces.
Wanton murder. Right now we don't have a lot of options in combating the enemy. Zero has a sword. Swords can be used for both stabbing and slashing. Repeated stabbing and slashing with sharp objects against a human body is known to have serious foul medical implications. There is not a whole lot to ground combat. Drakengard 3's is a bit more fast paced and flashier than its predecessors. But it's still basically the Dynasty Warriors-esque mashing attack until all bad guys are no longer standing.
Die, you damned traitorous Intoner!
I might take you more seriously if your voice wasn't quivering...
Zero must be stopped!
The demon is trying to kill her sisters! Kill the traitor!
One thing worth mentioning in Drakengard 3 is that the human enemies are very chatty. They're pretty much constantly either putting on false bravado. Or far more commonly just losing their shit freaking out in over the top anime fashion because Zero just massacred fifty of their guys like a psychotic mook meat grinder.
Michael is still flying around doing dragon stuff. Unlike Drakengard 1 or 2 where (unless there was some BS mission parameter or five hundred aimbot archers were in the area) we could call for assistance from our dragon sidekick at any point to aid in battle, that is no longer the case here. Indeed we have no control over Michael for the prologue. He just shows up a couple times for scripted events such as this.
Shall we tell them? They seem genuinely curious.
Why bother? They're about to die anyway.
The end of the world is nigh...
They... they told me Intoners were supposed to be peaceful!
What kind of crap are they teaching you people these days?
Get a medic! This crazy Intoner's gonna kill us all!
Sure, why not? I haven't killed any medics yet.
A bit further ahead we encounter the second human enemy type: Shield Guys. Shield men, as the moniker might suggest, wield comically over sized shields. While their shields are up they take barely any damage and after a few seconds of close proximity to Zero, they'll proceed to ram into her. It's very rude business. The solution to the problem of shielded enemies is... just to lock on and beat on them until their shield is knocked away.
Zero does have a quite speedy dash move which could be used to flank behind them... if they didn't go to the same movement auto-tracking axis pivoting school of defense as Dark Souls 2 enemies.
You may notice someone has certainly done a number on this strangely modern looking city. Mikey and Zero claim no responsibility for the Detroit-esque local urban decay. This place just kind of always looks like this for not entirely explained reasons. For you see we've been here before in the past. Or... well this is a prequel so I suppose we'll one day visit here again...? I dunno.
This is the "Cathedral City" according to Drakengard 3 for... reasons that will become apparent shortly. There's a big cathedral! But in the distant future...
This is the Imperial Capital of Not-Spain from the conclusion of the original Drakengard. Sure, it's a bit hard to recognize without half the city set ablaze or the hellish apocalyptic skies. Surely the lack of three story tall cannibal space babies is hurting tourism as well. But here we are!
A bit of a jog later and we encounter our first combat arena. Drakengard 3 is very linear even compared to the earlier games. Instead of a big Dynasty Warriors sort of open field of nothing with guys spread about waiting to be slaughtered, it's mostly long corridors and narrow paths filled with guys spread about waiting to be slaughtered. Though occasionally there will be dives into that classic Character Action game trope of locking all the doors until a handful of formidable enemies are defeated.
In this case, we have a dapper twenty foot tall swordsman fixing for a duel. That escalated quickly. We cannot escape from this arena until our attack on the titan is completed.
It's no human... And yet, not quite a beast. Likely some sort of automaton devised by the Intoners.
Crafty little bastards...
This mid-boss pretty much just serves as a crash course for evading. Most of its attacks are a series of low sweeps best avoided by dashing away until the Titan's canned combo completes. Followed up by rushing back in and giving it a good thrashing before repeating the process.
Also useful here are Stamina attacks. The HUD elements are rather self explanatory. The green meter is health. The pink meter is stamina. Stamina will automatically replenish over time. Stamina attacks are more or less just a quick power attack that will deplete a good chunk of the stamina bar. The nature of Stamina attacks depends on the weapon being used at the time and what position it is used from (i.e. a stationary/in the air/dashing/etc.)
Once the Titan's health is drained past a certain point it drops to its knees and a large glowing indicator will set its sights on the mini-boss' head. There are several foes across the game that will do something akin to this when nearing death. This is kind of like the enemy equivalent of the downed state in something akin to Gears of War. Unfortunately for Zero, she must quickly dispatch her foe by attacking the glowing weak point or else they'll automatically regain some health and return to the fight.
Only playable characters are doomed to the whims of AI reviving them from a downed state. This sweet prince of a Titan's battles are over now. It will never know the frustration of Dom getting stuck on a fucking piece of the geometry just out of reach and the bitter purgatory of a checkpoint being before a walk-and-talk sequence.
Following the battle, Michael decides to take a breather and perhaps admonish Zero on her lack of hygiene. You're never going to get those stains out of that outfit!
Or perhaps he's just going to hang out long enough to get ambushed by a ninjitsu practicing 30 foot tall automaton.
No! You don't have the strength for this!
<shakes off Titan> Ha-ha. These puppets are no match for a dragon!
The Titan block party swells in numbers as Michael urges Zero to continue on. There was that business of the barriers barring the path out of this arena. Thankfully the realm of cutscenes negates all arbitrary blocked paths. Or creates them on a whim. The Cutscene Zone is a fickle mistress.
Zero and Michael take a moment to cut a slow mo path-crossing reel for the promotional trailers before carrying on their mission. Seriously this shot is in like every single trailer for this game.
With Zero back on the quest for maximum fratricide, Michael the Dragon waltzes over and starts pimp slapping the taste out of the Titans' mouths. Had they mouths... I'm not sure if they do, it's just a nebulous void like a Final Fantasy black mage up in there. I'm pretty sure Vivi in Final Fantasy 9 could eat so who knows?
Fool? Sure that's fair. Zero qualifies for fool status. Caim was sort of... very poor at planning ahead. Nier was just dense. Nowe was a frikkin' Grade-A imbecile.
Women, children, the elderly... It doesn't matter. If you stand in my way, you're gonna die. If that's what you want... then get in line!
You may have noticed Zero has a bit of red on her. Unfortunately, we do not have a dog companion to lick away all the gore caking Zero and such a task is a bit below a dragon. Zero's bloody new look is actually a gameplay mechanic: Intoner Mode.
As Zero's body count belt notches skyrocket, she will get splattered with more and more blood. Since absolutely everything in this universe bleeds buckets of high pressure fluids from the slightest nick. As she does, the flower meter to the left of the Health/Stamina bars will fill. Any time there is juice in the blood flower, Zero can crack on Intoner mode.
Have you ever played a Character Action game? This is the Devil Trigger/Ripper Mode/Temporary Super Power-up that are a dime a dozen in the genre. When activated, Zero will go into a hype rage which increases her speed and defense dramatically and replaces her weapon with a frenzied series of clawing melee attacks with a huge range, radius, and damage level. A fully juiced up Intoner mode lasts about 20ish seconds. More than enough time to create at least a few dozen orphans if used in the correct setting.
One final note about Intoner Mode: It acts as a mean dry cleaning service and will leave Zero spotless and fresh following its conclusion. I'd like to think Zero is the type that would spill coffee on her dress and go into a temporary blood rage in order to get the stain out. Sure everyone within a city block was torn asunder in the process. But c'mon. Coffee on white is a bitch to clean off.
Get. Out of. My WAY!
Don't let her through!
This is no time for cowardice! Stand tall and fight!
Oh god! Nononono NO! She can't be an Intoner! There's no way!
She's a damned demon!
There's no way we can win... We're all gonna die!
This world cannot survive without Intoners. If we want the good Intoners to live, then the traitorous one must die!
Shut up with the bullshit already, would you? Move, move, move, MOVE!
It's Zero! Zero the betrayer!
Get the hell outta my way!
Hold your horses, Zero. Before we move on to continue the bloodletting, the third human enemy appears on this bridge leading up to the Cathedral: Archers. Archers are fairly annoying, but not nearly as much as they were in previous games thanks to the relative lack of dragon riding close to the ground. In addition, their Counter-Strike aimbot hacks being dialed back slightly from 360 No Scope Headshot to Aim Assist at Max. Zero's speedy evasion dashes also help negate their shots' effectiveness fairly handily.
That's about it for dealing with faceless, nameless henchmen during Zero's prologue campaign. You know for a world freed from war by the Intoners, there is an awfully large military presence still active.
Verse 2: The Sisters
A bit of a jog across town later and we arrive at the central landmark of Cathedral City... the cathedral. Well at least this one part of the city is well maintained. I wonder how many years in the future it takes the Notspain urban planners to begin construction on the Twin Towers around here...?
It is no time to muse on landmarks in the future capital of the Empire. It's time for a nice family reunion with the siblings.
Has it? I didn't notice.
You haven't changed a bit. You're still insane.
Stop it. You're embarrassing me.
That wasn't a compliment.
So time for introductions for Zero's Intoner sisters. Zero isn't just a Mega Man X fan. She and her sisters share a dumb naming scheme. Let's see if you can figure it out before they're all introduced? Not-Manah here is the leader of the bunch... And now the DK Rap is in my head. Goddammit!
Anyway this is the number one of the Intoner Sisters. Her name is One.
Next up we have Two. Two might be kind of an idiot. By the way have you figured out their naming scheme yet? Very deep symbolism behind it. Let me pull out this essay on the relationship between their numerical designations an--
After Two comes Three. Three just stares at Zero and giggles. She's the creepy one with really bad posture.
Three gives way to Four. Four is the most anime of the sisters. Which is saying something.
And last but... well yeah actually kind of least is Five. Uhh... what's the polite term...? Err... the promiscuous one... shall we say?
Wow, I sure am popular around here...
Enough talk, Zero. This is the end.
Well, this vendetta sure came to a head rather quickly. You'd think there would at least be a bit more build up before the main event. Oh well... Tune in next time for the final battle of anime magic girl supremacy!
Video: Episode 2 Cutscene Highlight Reel
Video: Intoner Mode Demo (Warning! Framerate not for the faint of heart!)
Infantry Concept Art - Nice Cult of the Watchers decal you're sporting there, champs...
Titan Concept Art - You don't want to know how long it took him to find a dapper hat in his size.