It's a new year, and I thought it was about time I registered.
Hey everyone, looks like this seems to be the correct place to do introductions. I've been lurking around this site for a good while now, and I thought it'd be a decent place to engage in some discussion.
Earlier this year, I purchased two Sega Saturns (model 1 and 2) for about 15 bucks apiece in a total impulsive buy. I heard a lot of (undeserved) flak for the system, but having been a big fan of the Sega Dreamcast and absolutely loving Dynamite Cop on the system, I thought I'd give the Saturn a go and try the previous entry in the series, Die Hard Arcade. With a price that low for the system, buying it seemed justifiable even if it had only a single good game. However, this was absolutely not the case and there was a decent wealth of outstanding titles. When looking for suggestions about what games were worth getting for the system, Panzer Dragoon came up quite often. Seeing that it was just a railshooter, I didn't have especially high expectations. I enjoyed short action-packed arcade games though, and thought I'd might as well try it. However, popping it in and hearing that title music set the mood for the rest of my experience. It still gives me chills and has this grand sweeping feeling of a gigantic world and an epic journey through it. Eventually, with a lot of initial difficulty, I unrelentingly pushed through the entire game to the ending and loved every second of it. Since then, I've been fervently obsessed with the series.
I played the rest of the series in order. Zwei was amazing for being better than 1 in every way. It was far more fluid, looked great, and had the glory of a save feature. I don't have a lot to say on it, but it was a stellar game.
Saga was a game I've heard nothing but prestige for, as well as lamentation over the fact that so little have played it. When I went into it, I was definitely not disappointed in finally exploring a fully fleshed out Panzer Dragoon world. While the game was remarkably short for a jrpg, it was surprising that it never felt that way. It has little padding, and the length feels perfectly satisfying. The subtlety and understatement of this large, alien world was something I appreciated. It definitely felt like a Panzer game by still allowing a lot of the story regarding the world be inferred rather than explicitly stated. There's this feeling that there's a rich ancient history behind everything that is completely lost to time and would be impossible to learn enough about. Strangely enough, I get this feeling when thinking about the series of games and not just the world they're based in.
The ending for Saga felt quite tragic to me, I wanted the story to go on and didn't want to accept that I've seen all there is in the Panzer world, so when I realized that a fourth entry existed on the xbox, I was quite happy to be able to experience more. I bought a couple original Xbox consoles earlier in the year for like 10 bucks apiece for a Halo lan party and was glad that I'd have another use for it (I'd come to realize it's another undervalued system with some great gems on it later on). Orta felt like the perfect fourth game to me. The gameplay felt like the best in the series, the bosses felt much more complex and sinister, and the length was far longer than the other rail shooters in the series. Pandora's box had a huge amount of content and kept me engrossed for hours. The story felt understandably scaled down after Saga, but it had an ending full of hope and successfully avenged the end of Saga for me. I see some people look down on the title for not being developed by Team Andromeda, but I personally felt that it was the best possible next entry that Panzer Dragoon could have gotten as a rail shooter. I might be in the minority, but it was probably my favorite entry in the series.
Over the past 5 months or so since I first played, I've been thoroughly captivated by the Panzer Dragoon series. I'm glad to see there's others who are around and that there's still a community centered around it.
As a side note though, am I the only one who thinks the Panzerese language in Orta seems significantly different from the older trilogy?