Random Ramblings Vol.13 : So…when’s Drakengard Warriors?

Just like the title says…when’s Drakengard Warriors, or Drag-On Dragoon Musou? 😀 We know you have more plans for Koei-Tecmo after the Dragon Quest Heroes : Anryuu to Sekaiju no Shiro, don’t try to deny it. 😀 But, as Final Fantasy Warriors gallops towards existence(it was pretty high on polls by japanese fans on what series KT should make a Musou out of, Hokuto no Ken coming first and DBZ coming second…that reminds me…when’s Dragon Ball Musou? 🙂 ) could it be you should try to give another series of yours a chance and this time not force it on Taro Yoko or something…or just have him tie the story and game he wants to make on a license you didn’t want to hire the right people for, so long ago? 😀

*Warning, there will be a rant following, if you want, skip it. :)*

Rant start!

Before we go further, understand this : Taro Yoko that doesn’t want to make the same game twice and whenever he makes a game, he does it by starting from the story and characters first instead of an idea about gameplay. He starts like a writter instead of designer or movie maker. It’s for that reason his games can be so diverse and have such themes, because he wrote the story and then put a gameplay that fits them. This is a problem with Drakengard though.

When Taro Yoko finished Drakengard he finished what he had to do with those characters and universe BUT! Square Enix and Cavia still are bussinesses and they want to satisfy their customers and at times, create more of what they enjoy. Such is the case with Drakengard 2, the team sans Taro wanted to create more and better and perhaps turn it into a stable series, nothing wrong with that. The problems start with Drakengard 3 as it is. While the story, characters and soundtrack are the Drakengard-ish style of Taro’s dark fantasies, the gameplay and story connections start to clash with the idea of Drakengard itself. For whatever reason, Taro may not have wanted this game to be part of the series or if he wanted, he had no one to stop him from saying “Dude, UR doing it wrong, DG is supposed to be Musou with Panzer Dragoon Segments not a shitty DmC clone”, perhaps because after Cavia split as a company, only Taro, a director and Sano, the music composer could be free to be gathered by SE to make this game. SE, could have never released the game. Or they could have called someone else to make that game, its their license after all but they chose to assist those former Cavia members realise a team-up for a sequel one last time. (This is probably never happening again. Apparently, school of Ragnarok disagrees with me.) Now, why did I say that? Because that way I’m saying “if necessary, no more Taro for this series”. Understand that Taro, didn’t make this a series, he made the game and said “I’m done, I did the story I wanted and I’m pleased with it”. It was Cavia and Square Enix that made it a series because they liked the idea that Taro basically “created” Berserk Musou as far as gameplay goes and they wanted to ride that train.

Drakengard suffers from the same problems that Kamen Rider Gaim suffers : both craft a very brilliant story, despite the budgetary restrains and some factors that got added over time as the project went on but ultimately their creative visions came through and we all enjoyed it. That doesn’t make them any sort of good in the context they are put in. As good as Gaim might be and no matter how Urobuchi-ish it may be, it’s ultimately a very flawed, shitty and at times despicable Kamen Rider series. Hibiki, who up until then held that title being a Henshin Ninja Arashi styled show, had far more in common with the series that Gaim ever had. Same with Drakengard 3, as good and Taro Yoko-ish the setting and characters might be, the overall story and its ties in that universe along with the gameplay of the title make it a very shitted and despicable game for the series.

Context

And before someone points out that by extension of my statements here, NieR is a shitty Drakengard game as well, its not due to virtue of being a spin-off of that universe. And in spin-offs, you can do almost whatever you want, granted it doesn’t create inconviniences for the main series. And NieR never does that…or when NieR does it, it’s in the form of Drakengard 3, for those who played it and understand what I’m talking about.

*My opening statement about Square forcing Taro applies for early talks of him making Drakengard 2 before everyone else heard about it and jumped with glee this was happening.*

Rant Over!

 

Let’s talk proper Musou / Warriors!

 

So, given that Drakengard almost has its carpet ready and laid out for the gameplay considering its a Warriors clone, it still has some very unique elements that must be kept. And I have faith in KT keeping those elements, seeing how diverse they have been in their forumlas with their recent Warriors games, they can pull off many different things now. And this one will be no exception, fine gameplay and great action were the things Cavia always regretted not learning to pull off as they said in many interviews but finally another series of games they’ve been involved in can get that treatment. First off, the characters :

If this is to be an all-inclusive game like most Warriors then having the main characters from the series is imperative, so Caim, Nowe and Zero are absolutely needed…and their dragons as mounts and later for Panzer Dragoon battles. But, one can go further and explain this crossover-y goodness by having one or two more heroes made specifically for the game, like what KT and SE are currently doing for their Dragon Quest Heroes game.

And those 5, at maximum capacity should be the main characters. Compared to the usual “One weapon / moveset per character” mantra, the Drakengard games have established that each character can have up to more than 8 weapons that have either slightly different(due to budget and inexperience) or different movesets with different stats to affect the way the character plays. Granted, not all characters can do that in the game but those who can also have the ability to change from 2 to 8 different weapons in battle, depending on the character.

Even with that said, the characters themselves will play very different despite already having access to many movesets and will be listed in “types” depending on the main character of their games. The one or two original characters can be whatever KT wants them to be…or SE wants them. Since some weapons are the same across the games, those will be ommited by some characters in favours of fitting into other characters.

 

Caim and Caim-types

 

Caim

Caim is the character that will be the most difficult to use but ultimately the most rewarding. Out of the three mains, he is the only truly human character so, if we were to speak in terms of stats and stuff, his would be pretty low compared to everyone else’s but his technique with weapons and his versatility on the field is unsurpased, coupled with the fact that his weapons can use magic making him a powerhouse if used correctly. Caim can equip any sort of weapon without any sort of problems and each and everyone has a completely different moveset down to the button prompts. He can carry up to 8 weapons at once in battle but cannot acces them mid-combo. He has to open the weapon menu to choose from his selected weapons, in the form of a wheel, the Grand Wheel as its called in the first two games. Caim is the one with the most staggering growth in his stats since he starts extremely low compared to the other two protagonists, to emphasize him being the normal human being without any augmentations. To overcome this weakness his weapons are the most powerful and versatile in the game allowing him to go toe-on-toe with the inhuman foes.

Caim is the only one of the three to not have a Musou attack of some kind, instead using his Musou bars as a way to use magic, with the more Musou charged up, the stronger the magic spell will be. Additionally, he uses charge attacks of all sorts, like the main Warriors games. His weapons are the only ones that level up based on how many people were killed with them, up to 4 times in total, changing their appearance, adding history and completing the moveset as well as gaining one Musou bar per level to get stronger versions of the spell. Caim using a spell cancels any sort of action the player is doing and gives super-armour to Caim but damage is still very relevant. Caim can also charge while doing anything and it won’t affect his actions.

Finally, Caim will be affected by his weapons and will change not only stances but the ways he moves around depending on the weapon. Some weapons may not even allow Caim to jump the small height he can jump but let him sidestep instead. Caim can’t dash either instead prompting him to move with his guard up and if the player jumps / sidesteps during any time within any combo, Caim will do a Reaction attack. Reaction attacks work like the Rider Cancels in Battride War 2, depending on the weapon and moveset, Caim’s cancel can either be something technical, offensive, defensive or even evasive but regardless of that Caim can always continue from any of those actions, infinitely chaining combos together or even canceling end frames to begin new actions.

Caim’s movesets require a lot of tinkering and reworking due to them being the same 8 hit combo and crowd clearing triangle attacks in the original. While each of Caim’s weapons will feature 8 hit combos for his main attack, each will be dramatically different and no clones should be allowed. His charges and charge attack will also differ to fit the weapons.

The Caim-types are also Leonard, Seere, Arioch and Inuart. All of them are characterized by extremely low stats with extreme growth and the most powerful weapons in the games. Their weapons level up with kills, they have Reaction attacks, charge attacks and they use magic instead of Musou attacks. Inuart will be getting some of Caim’s weapons to make him into the anti-Caim.

 

Nowe and Nowe-types

 

Nowe

Nowe, while being better in most stats that Caim, his growth isn’t as staggering and due to his gimmick he gets to be very weak without it by the end. He can carry up to 3 weapons at once in battle but he can effortlessly cycle through them without the need for a menu, like Dante in DMC4. The weapons level from experience gained in battle. If the player is willing to sacrifice part of Nowe health in battle, he can increase the weapon loadout to a maximum of 8 and allow the other characters to join the battle as well, like in Drakengard 2. Each character is allowed to have up to 3 weapons.

Nowe can form a tag team with his companions, them being Eris the spear wielder, Urich the axe-wielder and Mannah the staff-wielder. The downside is that his health is dependent on how many members exist on the team in every battle and that is regulated by the weapon loadout a person chooses. When an ally is added on the team, via his or her weapons, their health bar is shared with Nowe’s, halving it when an ally is present, shared in three portions with two allies and when three allies are present Nowe gives a fourth to each ally. While the allies have the levels and stats they have when selected alone, their health is dependent on Nowe’s since they are his tag team. Additionally, if Nowe dies the battle is lost, even if the others are still alive in the team. Only Nowe can summon Legna and if a team mate is killed while the player is controlling him or her, they are unusable for the rest of the battle but the health cuts still remain as if there are the same number of people in the squad. The team-mates always recover their health when not used but the leader never has that luxury.

Unlike Caim, Nowe can earn Magic spells as Musou attacks and equip whichever he desires to him or the other squad members. The Musou attacks are based on the game’s Magic attacks, slightly tweaked. A Musou attack unique to Nowe is his ability to transform into his New Breed form but a lot of limitations are present in order for that to be accomplished : Nowe must be alone in battle, he cannot summon Legna and it’s dependent on how big his Musou gauge is, as it grows when he levels up. This form however makes Nowe’s stats skyrocket to absurd levels, he can move at twice the speed, double jump, jump higher, fly(instead of summoning Legna) and even heal him at a fast and steady rate, kinda like a Devil Trigger.

The basic movesets of the weapons require very slight tweaking for the game since they are quite good and fit the spirit of the Warriors series very much. The weapons for Nowe and his gang have the unique ability to Skill-chain and a player can customize them freely for each weapon. Each weapon has a set number of skill like in the second game, with more accessed as the weapons level up. A Skill-chain is basically a follow-up attack after a Skill is executed. An example would be with Nowe’s Long Sword, the Hypersonic Blast being followed up by perhaps another Hypersonic Blast if the player has set it like that. Each level-up adds another Skill-chain but only after every skill. The weapons need to have more of them for this game, at least three each.

The Nowe-types are Eris, Manah and Urich and they all have the same abilities minus the Dragon riding…or any sort of summoning since they don’t have pact-companions nor the New Breed transformations. While they all start with better stats the Caim-types, they don’t have staggering growths nor are their weapons as powerful as theirs.

 

Zero and Zero-types

 

Zero

Zero is the easy mode character, at first at least. Her stats are the best in the game and apart from her Stamina gauge, Health and Intoner gauge, her stats never grow but are at their peak from the first level, effectively making her the most powerful character until the endgame. On the other hand she can only wield four weapons and they abide to the rules of her game, each of them are mapped at a different section of her menu and each weapon is only allowed to be one of the 4 set types. She can switch in the middle of the combo, where time will slow down but her stamina will drain. Additionally her weapons are the worst in the game and can only level up with money gained from battles.

Zero is the only of the three to have a Stamina gauge and its used for combos and other evasive manoeuvres, like in her game. Just like in her game, Zero can jump extremely high, dash, air dash and even launch the enemy in the air. Dashing and launching here do take some stamina here. Additionally, she is the only one who can parry and she cannot take any sort of damage when guarding. Here, parrying also initiates a critical attack that can damage the enemy to a crippling point at times as it requires extremely precise timing that is dependent not only of the attacker’s attacks and speed but also Zero’s weapons guarding speed.

Her Musou attack is accessed via the Intoner gauge and is the Intoner mode. In this mode she is invincible and her stats double, her movesets changes and no stamina is used for any sort of move. The amount of gauge gained from hits / combos etc and the amount of time Zero can remain in this form is dependent on her level.

Her weapons require very little reworking from the original games, just done to erase the clones. The weapons have the same 8 hit square combo but it is dependent on the four weapon types(and size for Heavy swords).

Finally, she can bring two bodyguards with her at the field in the form of NPCS, with their own health and weapon loadout. The NPCS are characters from her game and their levels and weapons are dependent on the how much the player has developed them throughout the game.

The Zero-types are the Intoners One, Two, Three, Four and Five and their sex toys faithful lovers : Cent, Octa, Decad and Dito. Only the Intoners can ride a Dragon, Zero has Mikhail / Micheal and the rest have Gabriella except for one who can power her up to Gabriel. Also the men have Musou attacks instead of Intoner mode. All of them will receive new, uncloned movesets but none of them will be able to switch weapons like Zero nor get new weapons.

Something that KT and Omega Force have to keep in mind when making this game is to let go of their tendency of putting, literally hundreds of enemies on the screen at once and thousands of them spread around in the battlefield since it wears down on the A.I. and apart from Zero, the other two main dudes aren’t exactly Wu Xia-suave martial artists like the Dynasty / Samurai Warriors from most of their games so far. A better approach in regards to enemy numbers on screen during battles would be something more akin to the likes of Hokuto Musou or Capcom’s Sengoku BASARA 4 or even 8ing’s Kamen Rider Battride War II with the enemies being not only a threat but having toughness that extends beyond a 1-hit-ko in conjunction with the strength and aggressiveness required to prove it. The trade-off is that almost each stage will require one to murder over a thousand enemies, since each of the three characters can summon a dragon to help them with it but also push the envelope of “Mass murders in a fucked up medieval world”. Surprisingly, Ninety Nine Nights II(another excellent example) pulls this off wonderfully with enemies scattered and ambushing the character in stages and even having multiple mini-boss battles in the forms of generals or chief monsters with a giant enemy at the end as a boss, which would be a perfect place for Dragon Battles.

Apart from the Panzer Dragoon like stages, the Dragon Combat should resemble a mix of Drakengard 2’s and 3’s ground Dragon Combat, with the dragon also being able to have a grounded moveset and control his / her height as well as special attacks as well. The stages should be built in a way that allow all players to traverse them even if they have no summons and be split in “Outdoors”, stages with multiple paths, “Indoors” stages that are quite linear and don’t allow summons. And that’s pretty much it, I doubt much more needs to be said apart from including NieR as a secret character, if people want him to be in it that much.

Have a good one everybody. See you next time. 🙂

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