|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game
Drakengard 2 (known as Drag-On Dragoon 2: Sealed Red, Corrupt Black (ドラッグ オン ドラグーン2 封印の紅、背徳の黒) in Japan) is an action RPG for the PlayStation 2 system and is a direct sequel to the original Drakengard. Like the original, Drakengard 2 combines on-foot hack and slash with aerial combat stages reminiscent of Sega's Panzer Dragoon. It was developed by Cavia, published in Japan by Square Enix on June 16, 2005 and released in North America and Europe by Ubisoft on February 14 and March 3, 2006 respectively.
As with the original Drakengard, the game is split into large chapters subdivided into ground-based and airborne missions. The story of the game dictates which missions come when during the initial playthrough and how they play out, though as the player progresses, new remixed versions of the various playable levesl called "free missions" are unlocked, which allow the player to go through the missions with the story elements removed. In between the various chapters and missions, the player builds up their characters using experience points earned in battle: the characters' weapons and abilities, and the abilities of the player's dragon, can be gradually improved. The player's view of the world is through a fixed camera, as with the original game, which tracks the player's progress across the player area. Collectables in the form of weapons and items such as armor and health points and items needed to progress within the level are also available for the player to seek out.
The player can jump between the game world's self-contained areas via a world map unlocked after the first chapter. Combat in the game is similar to its predecessor, with the main series of missions beginning after an opening tutorial. In ground combat, the player controls multiple characters, switching between them via the pause menu: you change characters as you change the type of weapon you wish to use. Combat is generally geared around hack-and-slash mechanics, with the player characters using their various short-range weapons to attack enemies. Also available is magical attacks, where the characters can launch fireballs into enemy formations. Aerial gameplay puts the main character atop his dragon, which is guided round by the player to attack enemy formations and large structures on the ground or enemies and airships in the sky. The dragon has the ability to launch two types of fireballs: a homing variety that deals damage to single enemies, and a widespread attack which does damage to groups. Alongside this, the dragon and its character can combine their magical powers to perform a special attack called "Dragon Overdrive", which kills many normal enemy units outright and deals high damage to bosses.
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Drakengard 2 takes place in an unnamed land 18 years after the events of Drakengard. In the original game, two powers, the Empire and the Union, waged war against each other over the Seals, magical bindings tied to a chosen Goddess of the Seal that kept dark deities known as the Watchers from appearing in the mortal world and destroying humanity. Caught up in the conflict were Caim and Angelus, a human and a dragon who had made a pact (a magical ritual that linked their souls), and fought to try and keep both the Seals and the Goddess safe. They failed, and the world was in danger of collapse, but Angelus allowed herself to become the new Goddess. 18 years later, the Seals are protected by the Knights of the Seal, who eventually grow to become a dominating force in the land.
The game's main character is Nowe (ノウェ Nōe ), a Knight of the Seal gifted with superhuman powers. Nowe's companion is Legna (レグナ Reguna ), a dragon who helped raise Nowe and was involved in the events of 18 years before. Accompanying Nowe on his journey is Eris (エリス Erisu ), a female Knight of the Seal and Nowe's childhood friend; Manah (マナ Mana ), a woman who was possessed by the Watchers in her young years and now seeks to free the people from the oppression of the Knights; and Urick (ユーリック Yūrikku ) a former Knight who made a pact with the Grim Reaper in exchange for his mortality. The main villain of the game is Gismor (ジスモア Jisumoa ), leader of the Knights of the Seal. Returning from the first game are Caim (カイム Kaimu ), the previous game's main protagonist ;Angelus (アンヘル Anheru ), the current Goddess of the Seal; and Seere (セエレ Sēre ), once a companion to Caim and now the Hierarch of the Union.
The game begins with Nowe, a boy raised by a dragon, joining the Knights of the Seal, whose purpose is to protect the keys holding the red dragon's seal in place, which prevents the end of the world. Nowe begins to wonder about the ethics of the Knights when he discovers that the keys are powered by the life force of some of the land's citizens. His faith is further shaken when the leader of the Knights, General Gismor, tries to poison him, then reveals that he poisoned his predecessor, General Oror, Nowe's adoptive father. Nowe's anger prompts him to attack Gismor, severing his arm, before fleeing from him and the other Knights. Eris, a friend of Nowe's within the Knights, sets off to convince Nowe to return. While on the run, he is accompanied by his dragon Legna. They soon meet Manah, a sorceress on a quest to free the people from the rule of the Knights. Nowe decides to join her. During their travels, they meet Urick, an ex-Knight who trained under General Oror. After some time, they arrive at the District of Shining Life, which Caim is already assaulting. Nowe then discovers that Urick is the guardian of the district. Because he has become close friends with Urick, Nowe attempts to save Urick's life by challenging Caim himself. Urick, however, is still mortally wounded during the battle; Urick manages to push Caim into a chasm before he dies. With Urick's death, the key in the district is destroyed.
Nowe repeats this for the other keys, killing their guardians to destroy their keys. The last key, Nowe discovers, is guarded by General Gismor, who Nowe discovers is actually a phantom of darkness. Eris is stabbed and thought to be killed at this time, as Gismor uses her as a human shield. Nowe defeats Gismor, but before he can strike him down, Gismor destroys his key so Nowe can’t have the pleasure of killing him. With the destruction of the keys, Angelus, the red dragon of the seal, is released. She begins a rampage across the land, having been driven mad by the tortures of being the seal. Nowe receives a note from Caim saying to slay Angelus because he just wants to see her one more time. Nowe and Legna then battle with Angelus and slay her. As she dies, she is reunited with Caim and the two fade together.
With Angelus dead and all the Seals destroyed, Legna carries Nowe to a repository of knowledge created by the holy dragons, where he learns of a prophecy that he will end the war between the dragons and the gods. At this time, Eris catches up to Nowe and joins him. Legna then carries Nowe to an artifact called the Bone Casket. Legna says that Nowe must enter the casket to fulfill the prophecy. The player is then given the option of having Nowe enter the casket or refuse to do so. If Nowe refuses, Legna attacks him, forcing Nowe to slay Legna. Eris reveals herself to be a goddess, and becomes the seal to restore order to the world, much to Nowe and Manah's sadness. If Nowe agrees to climb into the casket, the casket attacks Nowe, forcing him to battle it. During the battle, the casket merges with Manah, forcing Nowe to kill both the casket and Manah. At this point, Nowe, Legna and Eris resolve to join the dragons in their war with the gods. In a third ending, Manah manages to stop the casket merging with her, and faced with this defeat, Legna reveals that he only cared for Nowe so he could use him as a weapon, prompting the battle between Nowe and Legna. With Legna's death, both the gods and the dragons fade away, negating the need for a seal and allowing humanity to make their own future, whatever it may be.
Reception and legacy
The game was given an honorable mention among Kotaku's Tim Rogers as one of the best games on the PS2. Rogers gave praise to the game's parry mechanic and atmosphere.
- Jeremy Jastrzab (2006-02-27). "Updated Australian release list, 27/02/06". PALGN. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- "Cavia Inc. Line-Up". Cavia Inc. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.
- Anoop Gantayat (July 7, 2005). "Drakengard 2 Update". IGN. Retrieved 17-10-2013.
- Chris Roper (January 30, 2006). "Drakengard 2: North American Impressions". IGN. Retrieved 17-10-2013.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Nowe: Before I was born, a war broke out between the Empire and the Union. Many people bled, and the world marched towards destruction.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Narrator: Five seals hold in place the red dragon, the last bastion against world destruction. Charged with protecting them are the Knights of the Seal. In charge of each is a guardian, a lieutenant among the knights.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Angelus: Is it over, Caim? / Caim: It's over. We're together now.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Manah: Nowe, I cannot believe in a peace achieved by one woman's sacrifice. / Nowe: I know. But you also know that we have no other choice. / Manah: Yes. [...] I'll wait for the day when Eris can lead the life of an ordinary woman again.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Eris: That woman... She saved me. I hated her, and yet she... / Nowe: There's nothing you could have done.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Eris: The dragons never forgot their history. They lived to honor it. Now, they are about to surpass the Gods, with the New Breed as their weapon. / Nowe: If the world is truly to be free from the law of the Gods, I shall become a weapon. / Eris: Do you think that's what Manah would have wanted? I don't suppose we'll ever knew. All we have left is war, and the desolation it leaves in its wake.
- Cavia. Drakengard 2. (Square Enix). PlayStation 2. (2006-02-14) Seere: The other dragons are fading. / Eris: I...I no longer need to become a Goddess. / Manah: No more dragons or gods. This is the beginning of a new world. [...] / Seere: At last, the fate of humanity rests in human hands. It's up to us to create a paradise, or a hell.
- Drakengard 2 on metacritic
- Tim Rogers (1/09/13). "These Were My 8 Favorite PS2 Games". Kotaku. Retrieved 17-10-2013.
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