Part 4: Episode IV: In Which Times Have ChangedEpisode IV: In Which Times Have Changed
New Music: Nethernox
This is a story of six sisters in a world protected by the power of song:
Welcome back to the upside down zany world of Drakengard. We are once more back in the flipped bizarro-Europe of the first game's setting. Let us not speak of Drakengard 2's Eastern Europe. Drakengard 3 actually gave a name to the setting: Midgard. Yeah... not the most creative. But there you go! Occasionally, mostly between chapters, we'll be taking an intermission back at the map screen for some narration by
The Land of Seas located in the KU and Inverted-Ireland. We never really visited this region in Drakengard 1 beyond a brief field trip the Water Seal temple out on the nearby sea. Also Arioch the crazy elf lady ate a few drowned elven children around here as I recall. Ah, memories...
The Land of Mountains takes claim to the better part of
The Goddess' Castle from the opening chapter of Caim's murder adventures is vaguely between the border of here and...
The Land of Forests covers most of the southern part of bizarro-Eastern Europe into Another-Austria and Topsy-Turvey Italy. A place populated rife with all manner of elves, asshole fairies, and pedophiles. A dreadful land indeed. Ugh... and this is a prequel so the elves probably hadn't suffered a mass genocide yet. Let's hold off on that one.
What? Verdelet was a dickhead, but I'm with him on the elf racism. Fuck elves. I've seen enough of those downtrodden orcs get butchered for funsies all the time. Where's the Shadow of Mordor-esque game where you're an orc assassin making elves' heads explode and punting them down ravines?
The Land of Sands was a bit larger in the past spreading across the 180'd northern central Europe from roughly around Backwards Poland to Flipped-France. Back in Drakengard OG we made the mistake of rescuing a hairless racist priest and a cannibalistic elf from Imperial prison camps in this region.
Last but not least is the Cathedral City of Not-Spain. A region which will go on to be the epicenter of no less than four separate apocalypse scenarios down the road. A number of Fantasy Nukes may also be detonated outside its borders. I suppose there may be a valid reason The Cathedral City is in eternal disrepair.
But one of these sisters seeks to bring about the world's ruin and she won't rest until all the others are dead. The traitorous Intoner is called Zero...
And she has fled to the Land of Seas, where she heals... and waits.
I hear Helter-Skelter Scotland is lovely this time of year.
Meanwhile, in a 1,311 year less of a time skip than NIER's prologue to Chapter 1...
No, d-don't... Please... Don't leave me! Michael!
Tell me about, lady. Man... I had this one dream the other day I was bored and went "what if I went and did another LP now that I have some free time" and looked at my video game collection and remembered I owned Drakengard 3. And for some crazy, fevered reason only my deep subconscious could explain I went ahead d--wait... wait... that was a dream... r-right?! RIGHT! Oh god... OH GOD! AAAAAHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!
New Music: Iniquitus
We once more regain control of Zero. This is a bit of an intermission stage, not unlike the Event Stage missions of the original Drakengard. We need to just walk around and interact with everything in the area marked with a cursor before moving on. So let's get crackin'
<Examine: Sword> It's been an entire year, and I'm still dreaming of him. Michael...
<Examine: Mirror> Nugh. My eye hurts like a bitch.
<Examine: Shelves> I can't believe how long it took my wounds to heal. But now, it's finally time.
<Examine: Table> My new arm seems good to go. Not the most elegant of solutions, but hey, I've never been picky.
Following our exploration of Zero's seaside cabin vacation home, a faint rumbling and the sound of water splashing outside catches Zero's attention.
Zero departs the cabin...
<rolls> Hahahaha! Waaaah! Haha!
<rolls backwards> Woooaahhaaha!
<bounces> Yeahhahaha! Waaaahaha! HAHAHA! Haaaa!
<rolls forward> Woooah! Hahaha! Yaaaha!
Hey, Zero. Umm... I think you might have... There's a little something... Your eye there it's umm... Look I've got some Clear Ey--
...Nevermind. I see you're busy...
How to Train Your Dragon 3 took a harsh right turn at some point in developm--
Yeah... So... Umm... Bet you weren't planning on coming in here and seeing a dragon pissing today, huh! Umm... Yeah...
Verse 1: To the Seas
New Music: Wilderblades - Battleground
A thirstful whore
with lips agasm
Her web unspundled,
left to blight
A fortrace drowning
in the blasm
Her walls vansieged
by falseful mite
An anvil tyed
by lock and lash
Her works abounding
like the hare
An icy love
by fire knashed
Her tears for him
a dulcy aere
A farewell kiss
from lealfast drake
Her end a cork
pulled from the wine
Which falls in
gemel angels' wake
And reddens this,
our dearthly stein
Or will the flower
splay her flaps
Contract and birth
a world defaced?
Or will her thornish
sword be snapt
The flower broken
for the vase?
Or will the songstyr
dance and scend
A eulogy beneath
The world will meet
a tangled end
Betwixt its voul,
It won't... It won't happen again..
Hey, so you're really okay? You're not hurt anymore?
Well, it took a year, but yeah. I'm good.
Don't you think you should rest some more?
And watch you roll around in shit all day? No thanks.
Your big fight last year was pretty hard, huh?
...Did Michael say he was scared or anything?
Heh. Are you kidding? Hmm... I guess you didn't retain any of his memories, huh?
Nope. Still, I can't believe he wasn't scared! That's great. Just great! I'm gonna try to be just like him!
So if you cannot piece together what happened, Michael the Dragon got waxed protecting Zero during the end of the prologue. In ye olden Drakengard 3 times, dragons could evidentally regenerate all Dr. Who style upon near death at the cost of basically being reset to factory stock settings. The game will dive into exactly how that works much later on.
All told, what you need to know: Michael the Dragon is now Mikhail the Dragon. And he's the best character in the game.
A few more mechanics are introduced at this point. Such as vendor trash! Smashing crates and other assorted containers, as well as killing enemies occasionally, will result in assorted pieces of crap like rusted coins, torn books, old cloth, Steam early access open world zombie games, copies of Sonic Boom, and other rubbish popping onto the ground. There is no crafting component to Drakengard 3. It's literally all just vendor trash that is automatically sold at the end of mission for gold. Why they... didn't just make the drops gold is a mystery to all.
Also featured in most missions are three golden boxes semi-hidden (very semi-hidden, like perhaps jumping up a couple ledges obscuring it from view) around the map. These treasure chests contain one three goodies: new weapons for Zero to use, a lump sum of a few grand in gold, or base materials used in upgrading weapons.
Drakengard 3 continues the series tradition of the final ending path being locked behind obtaining EVERY single weapon in the entire game. And it just so happens this first container holds a brand spanking new weapon! Unfortunately, we cannot equip new arms until the current mission is completed. But eh... through the magic of editing we can cheat a little bit to see our new goody. For you see, something else from series past has returned: WEAPON STORY TIME!
For those new to the series, every weapon in the Drakengard comes with an accompanying short fairy tale of sorts. Every weapon in the game can be leveled up three additional times. Each level up will increase the damage of the weapon as well as extend combos and the reach of the newly augmented blade. And most importantly, each newly unlocked level will reveal another verse of the tool of war's story up until all is revealed at max level.
Our first weapon obtained is technically Zero's Blade. Zero's default sword is somewhat unique in that it only levels up with relevance to the plot. So, I'll refrain from revealing the entirety of that one. At the moment though we have access to the following:
Zero's Blade posted:
Zero's sword. Effective vs. Intoners. It levels up as your dragon grows.
Weapon Type: Sword
Weapon Size: Small
From the moment I was born, there was nothing.
That's how I wound up with the name Zero.
Not much to go on there yet. Just now we picked up a shiny new sword: Eternal Voice.
Eternal Voice posted:
A sword modeled after a millennium-old tree. It makes a mournful sound.
Weapon Type: Sword
Weapon Size: Medium
A visitor? Ah, yes. Come hear the song, then. The innkeeper
and her daughter will greet you warmly. Their food and drink
is without compare, and the girl is a feast for the eyes.
The girl's song is the best thing about the place. A single
listen will drive all your troubles away. Did you know
she has a sister? Ah, if only they sang a duet...
Welcome back, traveler! It's been a while. Come to see the
girls again? You certainly do like them! It's been decades
since I first told you of them, and yet here you are again.
What's that, traveler? You wonder why the girls never age?
Ha ha ha! Those are the children of the girls you once knew!
Surely you didn't think they were immortal! ...Did you?
And our first full weapon story is a big fat NIER reference. How fitting. There's a handful of weapon stories that are fairly blatant callbacks to NIER. Don't worry, the next weapon we get has a story about child murder. They haven't gone too soft here.
So why don't you call me "Mikhail," huh? You know? Instead of "dummy" or "Hey, you" or... whatever?
You need to be a full-fledged dragon before I use your name.
Zero continues traveling along the coast until coming to a seaside cliff...
See that battleship?
Huh? Why? Can't we just talk to 'em instead?
Are you kidding? That'd be way too much effort.
You take out the ship from the air.
<flies off> Okay.
<draws sword> I'll deal with the trash on the ground.
Music: Thundervalor - Battleground
So let's get this Anime Kill Bill revenge story underway. It seems the Intoner's forces never bothered to take a jog about a half mile down the way from their outpost to discover Zero's pad and were content to just keep their distance milling around for the past year. This may prove to be a tactical blunder on their part.
Be careful, Zero!
Just worry about yourself, dummy! And stay focused!
She's a disgrace to the Intoner name!
So this is the power of an Intoner...
Anybody in my way's gonna lose a head! Quite pissing yourself and let me kill you!
ARGHAAAGH! <loses a head>
Watch yourself, dummy! We're on Five's turf now!
You got it!
Oh, and if you slow me down, you're dead.
Gah! Scary! You're waaay too scary, Zero!
More or less.
Man, I'm jealous. I don't have any brothers or sisters.
Hey, it beats having a whole bunch you need to kill.
Uh, yeah. I guess... You know, I don't think you should kill your sisters.
Oh yeah? <disembowels two men>
Yeah! If there's a problem, you should just talk it out!
You don't say. <stabs another soldier in the throat>
I mean, that's the whole reason people have voices, right?
Soooo... you get what I'm sayin'?
Not at all.
Keep going. Don't stop until you kill 'em all.
Is there no way you and your sisters can get along? No way at all?
What if they say they're sorry? ...Or bring you a cake?
Awww...! I still don't get why you're doing this, Zero.
Look. I want to be the only Intoner in the world. And that means I have to kill the others. Clear enough for you?
No, not really. I don't get it, Zero. I just don't get it.
The final leg of this mission is an arena of twenty soldiers scattered about the field. There's about four archers being nuisances on the outskirts of the area while the rest of the enemy forces are just composed of normal swordsmen. All enemies must be routed to end the mission.
We have a slight tactical advantage here in the form of a Summon Circle. Hopping into the center of one of these glyphs will allow Zero to call upon Mikhail for a carpet bombing run on the area. There is also a hidden dice roll as to whether the game's framerate will also be a causality in the dragon mortar fire.
Goddamn right you will. And when you do, you better not chicken out on me. That means no running away like a crybaby. And no rolling around in your own filth.
Oh, all right...
All right. Five should be in the Shrine of Seas up there. Heh. Probably the first time that tramp's ever seen a shrine.
Is Five anything like you, Zero?
I'm gonna talk to her. Maybe then you won't have to fight.
'Cause if she's nothing like you, maaaaybe she'll actually listen to me!
That can-do attitude's gonna get you killed.
Zero, are you okay? You can always call on me, you know. You can call on me anytime!
Quit repeating things! It's annoying!
We need a new plan. And fast!
I told you! We don't stand a chance against an Intoner!
Die! Die! Die! Die! Die! Die!
Don't do that, Zero! It makes my tummy feel all funny!
...Oh reeeally? DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIIIIE!
Hey! That's mean, Zero!
Hey whatever, Mikhail. It might be mean but it gets results, dammit! With all 20 soldiers getting intimate with the pointy side of Zero's blade, we're now free to take a brief survey of the area.
Weapons... Heh. Mail order, huh? Well, whatever works.
Look, it's not the Merchant's fault you've ventured so far from Not-Spain to see what are ya buyin'. From now on between missions we can purchase weapons and items from Accord's mail order shop. New items are added to the shop as the game progresses. The mysterious proprietor will also serve a few more automated functions in the future. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Instead, let's just get the hell out of Dodge and bring Chapter 1: Verse 1 to an end.
Post mission our total experience earned by slaying enemies, a bonus on amount of damage taken (or lack there of) and whether or not we had to continue is awarded. There are occasionally additional bonuses. Mostly relating to acceptable amounts of murder within a given time frame.
As with the rest of the series, experience is pretty much meaningless. Numbers go up. Zero gets stronger with leveling up. There's no stats to allocate or anything to it beyond watching that meter fill at the end of missions.
Finally, all our vendor trash is converted into gold and placed in the war chest. Who knew a beat up copy of 50 Shades of Gray is worth as much as two World War 2 era pennies and an old wash cloth? All three item chests are accounted for and marked on the map upon completion as well. This is useful in the sense that the chests are always in order and if say Chest 2 and 3 have been collected, you'll know to be more diligent in searching early on.
And that concludes our first real mission of Drakengard 3. Only... Another umm... I'm not going to think about how many more missions to go...
Video: Chapter 1 - Verse 1 Cutscenes (You should watch this)
Video: Chapter 1 - Verse 1 Highlight Reel
Zero Official Art - Well, if nothing a psychotic, one-armed, flower-for-an-eyed female protagonist is unique...
Mikhail Official Art - I wonder how long it takes his little nub tail end to turn back into a big honking axe?