Panzer Dragoon: Remake

Panzer Dragoon: Remake

The original Panzer Dragoon is a classic, and this is basically a shot-for-shot recreation of it, so it’s unusual how decidedly inferior it was at launch. The controls were strangely unresponsive, previously existing bonus features were missing, and while the graphics were improved, it was only up to the level of a budget PS3 game. All but the last of these have been addressed since then, which is great, but the point remains that they should have been addressed before release. Even with the patches, this is still the lesser product of the two just due to context. The franchise’s setting has been greatly established and expanded since the first title, so it’s disappointing to see a remake return to the stilted narrative and cutscenes of the original.

Now, with all of that negativity out of the way, we turn to the question of whether the gameplay holds up. Let me put it this way: it’s science fantasy Star Fox with a dragon that breathes homing lasers instead of a spaceship. What part of that could possibly diminish with age? I totally understand the logic behind making such an exact replica of the 1995 title. The enemy patterns are sublimely scripted for gameplay efficiency and cinematic flair. The major mechanical breakthroughs – 360° aiming, balancing both the dragon’s homing shots and the rider’s manual fire – feel exciting without any need for embellishment. And the audio is inspiring regardless of the era it’s heard in. It’s surprisingly easy for a 90s rail shooter, but I’m OK with that, since the spectacle and atmosphere would be harder to appreciate through white-knuckle difficulty. Of course, it also retains the original’s brevity, but that’s to be expected with this series.

6.5/10
6.5/10

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