Draglade Review

A rhythm-based fighting game? Well, sorta. Draglade is being labeled as such (and the back of the box does nothing to clarify that claim), but it’s more of a 2D brawler with a bit of random rhythm-based features thrown in.

That doesn’t mean the game isn’t fun, though — it’s just not what a lot of people may expect. Draglade features four starting characters to choose from, using weapons such as fists, sword, hammer and spear. Each controls a little differently, but master one and you’ll have no problem fighting with the others.

Unlike some of the other recent DS fighters, Draglade is relatively simple. You have a strong attack, a quick attack, and a button which shoots bullets — player-selected projectiles and special moves you can change on the bottom screen, such as fireballs, healing drops, and flopping fish. With the normal attacks and bullet attacks, you have different combinations available, such as up+button, down+button, and just the button itself making for a fairly decent sized moves list easy enough to remember that even the most casual of gamers can memorize what each move does.

There’s some air juggling and longer combos you can pull off, but like the regular combat doing so doesn’t really require a lot of familiarity with fighting games, or memorizing any complex moves or strings of attacks.

Once you select your fighter and their color, you’re off to partake in one of four stories. There are a few differences, but all of the characters have the same “I want to be the best! I’ll train to become a Master Grapper! Yeah!” vibe to it, really making Draglade seem like an anime-inspired fighter.

Where Draglade tries to mix things up a bit is with the beat combo system. By stringing together attacks and pummeling your foe, you build up a meter on the bottom of the fighting screen. Fill it up, and you can hold down the L trigger, and a menu with dots appears on the bottom. Hit the attack button as the bar passes over each of the dots, and you create music and pull off a fairly devastating combo. You’re able to customize the beat in your Dragon Sequencer (DS, get it?) so there’s a bit of fun in trying to create a familiar tune to kick ass to.

Unfortunately, the rhythm aspect of Draglade really isn’t necessary. It adds to the presentation and is sort of explained in the story (people love watching fighters who entertain them, music is entertaining, ergo…), but it’s not a core part of gameplay and isn’t used to the extent it could have been. You can clear fights just fine without resorting to your beat combos, and most of the time you will because it’s just easier to do so. It’s a nice addition, but not nearly as integral or important to the game as you may originally believe or hope for.

Don’t let that detract from the game, though. Draglade is a fun 2D brawler with a bit of strategy involved even if it’s basically a three button fighter. (Try fighting a hard opponent, it’s an intricate dance to pull off the victory.) Throw in some multiplayer support which lets you use any of the characters you’ve been leveling up or customizing from the main game and some rankings, and you’ve got a game that any anime-loving fighter fans will enjoy, and a fighting game casual gamers can pick up and play.

It’s not a revolutionary mix of two genres like I hoped after first hearing about the game months ago, but it is fun and will provide some nice enjoyment for the two or three hours it takes to clear the stories, and for as long as you have people to play with worldwide. If you’re interested in this one at all, you’d probably do best to pick it up soon. Atlus games have a tendency of vanishing from stores a few months after release.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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