Gamasutra is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
The History of Panzer Dragoon
View All     RSS
October 16, 2019
arrowPress Releases
October 16, 2019
Games Press
View All     RSS







If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 

The History of Panzer Dragoon


April 16, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 8 Next
 


While there's a ton of depth to the battle system, the constant random battles do tend to become tiresome. There are usually only a few enemy formations in each area, and once you've figured them out, each fight is really just going through the motions. There's no way to run from them either. It doesn't help that most of the "dungeons" themselves are pretty boring. You're either flying -- very slowly -- across a huge, empty landscape, looking for switches to shoot at, or you're exploring very dismal tunnels. At least the map and navigation system is very friendly, so you can't really get lost.

The graphics also show the 3D limitations of the Saturn. Anytime you're on a dragon, the graphics are roughly the quality of Panzer Dragoon Zwei. The dragon itself looks awesome, especially the color of its wings. However, any time you're exploring a town, the quality takes a huge nosedive.

From a design standpoint, the game is still lovely -- the village of Zoah is gorgeously constructed and looks quite nice, especially with all of the lighting effects during the nighttime. But everything is painted with incredibly low res textures, the character models are very boxy, and slowdown is usually pretty common. Controlling Edge on foot is a bit clumsy, and taking any action -- from opening a door to talking to someone -- requires standing still and highlighting the target with the cursor.

The Saturn wasn't exactly a marvel when to came to video, so despite the abundance of cutscenes, most of them don't look too great. They're in a small window, they're heavily compressed, and both the characters and environments reek of mid 90s-quality CG. Despite the fact that they're well-directed, they don't look half as good as anything from Square, and it's a good example of why the Saturn was seen as lacking compared to the PlayStation. Despite the game filling four discs, the quest is quite short, pretty linear, and also a bit on the easy side.

All of the cutscenes are voiced, which puts the action beyond any of the Final Fantasy games of the time. Although the introduction is in Panzerese, the voices switch over to Japanese once gameplay starts. To cut down on localization costs, the Japanese voices were kept for the English version. The music is pretty similar to Panzer Dragoon Zwei, with a large number of battle themes depending on the area and enemies. Most of the rest of the music is more muted and leans towards the atmospheric side, but it's very distinctive and does its job nicely.

Overall, Panzer Dragoon Saga lacks quite a bit of polish, both from a technical and a gameplay standpoint. But that shouldn't discount anyone from trying to play it -- the world is still thoroughly entrancing, despite how pixelly it gets, and the battle and development systems are completely worth it for anyone sick of the usual JRPG conventions.

Unfortunately, since this was one of the last games released for the Saturn in America and Europe, it was only printed in limited quantities. The end result is that the English version is now incredibly expensive, usually hovering in the $150 range. Like many Saturn games, the Japanese version is far, far cheaper, but unfortunately will not work with the standard import conversion cartridges, requiring that you either own a Japanese Saturn or get your Saturn modded -- and it's untranslated, of course.


Article Start Previous Page 6 of 8 Next

Related Jobs

Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions — Bellevue, Washington, United States
[10.15.19]

QA Manager
Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions — Bellevue, Washington, United States
[10.15.19]

Senior Lighting Artist
Deep Silver Volition
Deep Silver Volition — Champaign, Illinois, United States
[10.15.19]

Gameplay Programmer
Sanzaru Games Inc.
Sanzaru Games Inc. — Dublin, California, United States
[10.15.19]

Environment Artists





Loading Comments

loader image