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Panzer Dragoon: Remake Review

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Fast Facts

Title: Panzer Dragoon: Remake
Developer: MegaPixel Studio
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Genre: Arcade, Shooter
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 26/03/2020
Price: £22.49 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

When it comes to bringing a classic video game into the modern day there are a couple of ways it can be achieved.  Firstly you have the remaster; where things are brushed up a little, textures are cleaner and audio is crisper.  In this way the original gameplay is kept the same as before (for the most part).  Then you have the remake.  This is where the game is made again as new (as best as possible), bringing along changes and tweaks to gameplay that allow it to feel more at home on modern consoles.  One question remains, has the wait to see Panzer Dragoon get the remake treatment been worth it?

To be blunt, no.  However, we won’t end the review there.  This game is held in high regards with Sega enthusiasts, as it was released 25 years ago on the Sega Saturn and has a vast library of sequels to its name.  For those who have never heard of the game before, Panzer Dragoon is an on-rails shooter where you control a dragon and its rider.  Those familiar with games such as Star Fox 64 (Lylat Wars here in the UK), will get the idea of how this works.  You are constantly moving forward and have the ability to dodge and aim your weapons.  Unlike Star Fox 64, there is little else you can do.  There are no dodge mechanics, no fancy manoeuvres, no upgrades to your weapon, you start as you mean to go on.  This isn’t all bad, as it adds a level of complexity and as you progress through the game (all six levels) you start to feel a sense of achievement as you really feel you are becoming a better player. 

However, this game does have an element to it that sets it apart to other on-rails shooters; you get attacked from all angles.  Throughout each level you will find yourself fighting off foes coming at you from all sides, which you quickly switch between with the touch of a button.  It’s something that made this game quite a bit harder than it already was and is definitely something that more games of this kind should have worked with.  This is a short game, it’s hard yes, but short.  At only six levels (seven if you count the final boss), you’re not gonna find yourself sat engrossed for hours on end.

You really feel the weight of your dragon with each movement you make, thats to say the controls are sluggish and awkward.  Constantly feeling as though you’re battling with the game to make your character do what you want them to.  There are no additional gyro controls or anything like that, which is disappointing.  You have two types of attacks, a lock-on shot and a normal single fire shot.  The lock-on is great for clearing a screen of enemies quickly with the downside being that it takes a few moments to get going (it’s a fair trade-off).  Pay attention to the term “single fire shot” that has been used to describe the normal attack.  Pressing the B button once will fire a single shot, this means you will be mashing at the controller like a madman in order to takedown some bosses.  This is something that it would have been nice to have adapted and altered to giving you a steady stream of shots, given this is a remake, even if it was just an option you could enable.  

Graphically this game is hit and miss, some levels shine and some levels are plain and boring.  Clearly the graphics have been updated, with more details and extra bits of scenery now featured throughout the levels.  However, it doesn’t feel like modern game.  It’s more reminiscent of the graphical fidelity you would find in the Xbox 360 and PS3 age of gaming.  There is a nostalgic charm to some of it, the menu system for example feels like you’re sat back in front of your Saturn.  Cutscenes are janky, awkward and just don’t feel like they’ve had the time and care given to them that they deserved.  The audio in this game is amazing however, the backing music really shines in each level.  Sound effects can get a bit repetitive, but in a game of this genre it’s to be expected.

Overall, Panzer Dragoon: Remake is not what it says on the tin.  It feels more akin to a HD re-release as opposed to an actual remake.  When dealing with a classic such as this you really need to be careful to do it justice, and in all honesty it doesn’t feel like Panzer Dragoon has been given the treatment it deserves.  If you’re a fan of the series then dive right in, but if you’re wanting to see what all the fuss is about either give this a miss or wait for it to be discounted.

Rapid Reviews Rating

Panzer Dragoon: Remake can be purchased for the Nintendo Switch at the following link:

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