Part 13: Episode IX: In Which We Ask if Love Can Bloom on the BattlefieldEpisode IX: In Which We Ask if Love Can Bloom on the Battlefield
Alright! We're making some progress. One sister down. One chapter down. Only four more to go! This game will be over in no time. Let's us go forth in our hunt for Four.
The Land of Mountains... Home to an impenetrable alpine citadel governed by the chaste Intoner known as Four.
Your dragon's protection must be a welcome thing indeed. You should thank him.
I'm... dreaming again... Not every dragon is like you, Michael. ...Unfortunately.
New Music: Descendeus
Before we get underway with Zero's next warpath in the Land of Mountains, it is time for another camp side intermission with the rest of the team. Let's see how Team Zero's newest recruit is fairing so far.
Beats all that sticky saltwater air clinging to your skin. ...Or the sticky, sweaty touch of Lady Five. God, I think I'm gonna gag.
Hey, you shouldn't talk like that. You're her disciple! A disciple's supposed to be nice to his Intoner!
Heh. Like I give a good goddamn. Ol' Blubber Bags went and kicked the bucket, remember? She doesn't mean squat to me anymore. You saw it yourself, didn't you? The way my blade split those ridiculous funbags clean in two? It was like fine art!
Eh. He seems to be coping alright with the change in management. Let's see how Mikhail is fairing before kicking off this party proper like.
Not this again.
It's just... I felt really bad for Five, you know? She was crying. She was crying a lot, and you killed her anyway.
You know that was just an act, right?
Yeah, trust me--if there was one thing Five was good at, it was faking.
Well, I don't like it! I still think you should stop killing your sisters!
There's nothing worse than sisters fighting each other.
All right, let's pretend for a second. Imagine there's a big pile of raw meat here, okay?
Now, if you divided that meat among all the dragons in the world, you'd only get a little bit.
That's right! Just one teeeeny tiny bite.
But you'd rather have it all to yourself, right?
Well, yeah! I'd want the whole big pile!
Well, I want to kill my sisters so I can have the world to myself. ...Make sense?
Um... No, I don't get it.
...Nevermind. Come on, let's go. I've got a sister to murder.
Verse 1 - Cliffside Path
New Music: Prevolt - Battleground
Welcome to the scenic Land of Mountains home to... a mob of angry armored guys out for Zero's blood. I tell ya, I've lived in the mountains and I've lived at the beach and one fundamental truth of both is there is simply no escaping angry armored men. Or mosquitoes. Can never get away from those mosquitoes. Buggers.
You may notice Dito is joining Zero during the mission now. What does that mean gameplay wise? I'll illuminate you:
ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NOTHING! Disciple companions are utterly braindead AI companions that like to get stuck on geometry, run into walls, and occasionally swipe a sword or two at an enemy. At best the enemy AI will occasionally go after them instead of Zero. Maybe if you're lucky they'll take off half an energy block off a stock standard human soldier. But essentially, disciples are just an excuse for someone besides Mikhail for Zero to have silly banter alongside during battles.
Thanks to Dito lending his support to the war effort, Zero now has access to the Spear weapon class. Spears kick ten tons of ass in Drakengard 3. They have huge range, a wide hitbox girth, and more often than not their attacks are multi-hit affairs.
For instance Zero's standing spear Stamina attack. This just makes her exclaim "stupid piece of shit!" and charge at the enemy not-unlike enemy spearmen. However, unlike standard spearmen's version, Zero's variation will keep charging forward as long as she still has stamina remaining. Most standard goons will go flying on contact and be treated to a fun time of air juggling along the way. Heartier foes will instead be treated to the full course of a spear being drilled into their fleshy bits non-stop until the attack ends.
Even just standard jabs with spears are massively effective crowd control instruments. It's a great stabby tool and a welcome new addition to Zero's wheelhouse. Sadly, Drakengard 3 sort of runs out of gas early with new weaponry. The two follow ups are a quite neat weapon that is slightly less versatile. Followed up by the final weapon type being this gimmicky piece of hot flaming garbage. Did anyone like using the lousy chakrams? Man, fuck those things! No wonder One is the main villain.
You got me.
How the hell should I know where Four's holed up? She could be anywhere.
So you don't even know if this is the right path?
What the hell, lady!?
Ugh. All of a sudden, my legs feel ten pounds heavier...
Want me to chop 'em off for ya?
Now that Zero has access to multiple weapon types, she can freely switch between any available mid-battle. Gone is the clunky spinning weapon wheel of Drakengard 1 and 2 and instead a quick change menu-mid battle has been employed. Only one weapon can be slotted into each category this time around.
But honestly, was anyone using more than a single weapon of any type in the older games? I mean I kept around that one sword with the shit range but was slightly better against skeletons just in-case the same map they reused three times for Free Expedition missions had skeletons. You never knew! YOU NEVER KNEW! ...Except it backfired because I got completely hammered when doing all those missions and half paying attention. Oh well.
Hey! You can't just fly off while we're stuck hoofin' it!
Why not? I'd just get in your way down there! And besides, this way I can scout out what's ahead!
Huh. Well, have fun being our decoy.
Spoiler: Mikhail will neither act as a decoy nor actively scout out a single thing.
The Land of Mountains, being the obligatory high altitude area, brings to the table a healthy bit of platforming. There are no invisible walls between gaps in the trail (there are only invisible walls across 95% of the rest of the terrain.) Falling off a platform results in instant death which can be a real bummer. It turns out all the Intoner song magic in the world cannot counteract gravity.
...Nah. Just kidding. Drakengard 3 runs on Legend of Zelda rules for plummeting to your demise. As in a slap on the wrist sliver of health depleted and bumped immediately back to the last ledge. They also give Zero a rather generous auto-mantle onto the edge of ledges since they knew the janky camera and questionable jumping abilities weren't going to fly very far here.
I'm gonna try double hard and show these guys just what I'm made of!
God, he's a handful. Don't you ever get tired of babysitting him?
Of course. And now I've got two brats to babysit.
You wanna die?
A bit of platforming later...
You're hardly worth hiding in some secret wild paradise...
All this hiking is gonna turn me into a muscle-bound freak. I'm not into the buff, macho look. Kinda creeps me out. Don't wanna see it on me, don't wanna see it on my partner...
Less bitching, more climbing.
Ugh, how much further is it? This trail sucks...
Eheh. I'm sure it beats spending another night with Five.
...You have no idea. That nympho freak was always making me try some new kink she'd heard about.
What's a kink?
You don't need to know.
Further up the cliffside path Zero and company come upon the newest in the Proto-Empire's defense squadrons: Cannon Creeps. Scale down the targeting marker and firing time from the battleship bombardment back in Chapter 1. Stick a source of the artillery strikes that can be slain. Boom! New enemy.
Cannon Creeps themselves are not much of a bother once the distance to them is closed. The soldiers manning the cannons aren't armed with anything else, so a single swipe will render them harmless. The soldier or the cannon must be annihilated or else the crewman will resume fire if left along long enough still drawing breath. These guys only get particularly annoying later on when they're scattered around a wide area. But even then it is usually a matter of dashing around like a maniac between each unit and drilling them in the forehead with a spear before dashing off to follow suit with his comrades.
Assume nothing but wanton death and destruction for a while between parts...
You need help, Dito?
Heh. No offense, but if I'm gonna get help, I'm gonna get it from Zero.
Aww, ask me! Ask for me, too!
Everything okay, Zero?
These guys were a cinch once I softened them up, right?
You can thank me after the battle's over, okay?
Hehe. Assuming you're even alive.
Break 'em down! It's crazy how much effort Four spent securing this place.
That's an Intoner for you. Excessive to the point of obsession. Urgh... ...Well, present company excepted and all that.
I could obsess over killing you, you know.
Me? Uh, that was the enemy speaking! Go get 'em, tiger!
Kinda freaky how wimpy these guys are.
That's because Zero's with us! She makes EVERYTHING freaky!
Watch out. There's more of 'em.
Don't know when to quit, huh? Reminds me of a certain someone...
A hop, skip, and a jump through a few more paths and corridors around The Land of Mountains' great wall and we come upon this mission's obligatory mid-boss/new enemy introduction.
Meet the Cerberus. One of the few marks I will put against Drakengard 3 over the original two games (and NIER for that matter) is the monster enemy design is rather... lacking in creativity. It seems as though Access Games just reached into a hat filled with a couple dozen common mythological creatures, pull about eight or nine out and then called it a day.
Here's a cerberus! It's a giant angry dog with three heads. Color it blue! I dunno. Ship it.
A cerberus, huh? What's the plan, boss?
The plan? I was thinking we'd kill it.
Zero, this looks like a tough one! A real tough one! Maybe I could breath some fire from up here?
As long as you don't hit me with it!
Yeesh. That's a face only a mother could love. I mean, seriously, with a mug like that, it's no wonder he became a monster. I almost feel bad for the guy. ...Meh, oh well!
Be careful, Zero! I'll try double hard, too, okay? I don't like killing, but I hate the idea of you dying even more!
The cerberus only has a few attacks during this encounter. If the overgrown puppy rears up and begins bellowing smoke, it is fixing to breath fire. This is by far its easiest to avoid attack as the tell for it also locks it in place for the trajectory of the flames. See smoke? Book it to the side of mouths to avoid fire!
This cranky mutt's second technique is slightly more troublesome. This barrage begins with the beast stopping to growl before beginning a series of forward lunging bites in Zero's direction. Unlike the fire breath, the chomping attack tracks Zero's position so she needs to get some distance between doggy's mouth(s) and herself as soon as the assault begins.
That's about it for this stage and variation of the cerberus. As the doge accumulate more and more damage it will begin popping off heads accompanying the appropriate amount of high pressure anime blood spray. This doesn't actually have any effect on the creature itself. If anything, it gets more aggressive as it becomes the only mouth to feed. It's just action figure battle cosmetic battle damage.
After taking our first cerberus down to roughly one-third health, the canine creeper decides to retreat for the time being to lick its wounds. Good thing Zero was nice enough to only lop off the two side heads. That could have gotten awkward for the poor thing if it just had the leftmost head or something.
I was nervous the whole time!
Why? It's not like I was going to lose. ...And don't call it a pup.
So... once things calm down, maybe you and me could have some fun... I mean, you are a lot more attractive than ol' Blubber Bags, after all.
Hmmf. If I feel like it.
So what's Four like, anyway?
She's a virgin.
Uhhh, is that it, or...
She's a virgin Intoner. Think about it.
Hmm. Yeah , well, girl must have a real stick up her ass. And what kind of idiot disciple would serve a virgin Intoner?
Got me. Probably some depraved pervert.
Heh. I can imagine.
Hey, dragon. You and Zero ever sleep together?
Nah. She says I stink. Plus, I might roll over and smoosh her.
Ha ha ha! Man, that's rich. Well, tell you what--you just stay away from us tonight, all right? I'll take care of Z.
Okay! Try not to crush her.
Ah ha ha! If anyone's gonna get crushed, I hope it's me!
That about does it for the rest of the stage. Sure, about thirty men's lives ending violently and meaninglessly in some desolate stretch of road for a futile cause are being glazed over here. But meh... details...
This fucker won't give up! The hell is up with this mutt!?
Some dogs just don't know when to give up.
Get him, Zero! Get that sourbreath!
It's cerberus, idiot!
Yeah, idiot. Pay attention.
Get that saber...rda... Er, get that slobber...urgh. Hold on!
Ugh, look at that nasty thing, fighting to stay alive... Nothing worse than some stupid chump who doesn't know how ugly he is! Ha ha! I'll put you back where you belong!
This rematch with the fearsome sourbreath gives it access to one additional desperation attack. It can now perform a spinning tail swipe. This is both its most damaging attack and the most difficult to avoid as its hitbox is just kind of weird and far larger/longer lasting than it appears. The trail effects behind it still count as the tail, including the seemingly cosmetic trail outside the range of the actual tail.
Beyond spinning around in place chasing its tail, the cerberus has nothing else to offer of note. Thus resulting in...
Flawless victory. FATALITY!
I saw a trailer for the goofy new Mortal Kombat X's story mode and it's now lousy with QTEs during cutscenes. Ugh... C'mon developers. Please just stop with the QTEs. Nobody likes it. Nobody.
Well... that happened. I guess Zero is now going to be the female Jax of the Drakengard universe. Look for her cross-over appearance in Mortal Kombat X. You heard it here first!
Ahh... Ugh... Nnnhrgh... Arhhg...
W-Well... that... hap--
Video: Verse 1 Cutscenes (You should probably watch this.)
Video: Verse 1 Highlight Reel
Land of Mountains Concept Art - The Great Wall of Reverse Eastern Europe