I still haven’t finished the game, no thanks to Microsoft making it impossible to save your progress in offline mode. If you don’t have an Internet connection available, even after downloading the game you will not be able to save your progress if you’re not connected to Xbox Live. So much for not requiring “always online”. I will have to set aside some time to finish the game in one go (or leave the Xbox One on over several days, although I think it may auto turn off after a while).
That rather major issue aside, the game itself is a mixed bag.
Controls: It feels like a Kinect game, but with controller support added afterwards. It’s evident that the developers tried to improve the controls, and to some extent they have, but controlling the dragon doesn’t feel as smooth as in the Panzer games. One issue is not being able to change the camera enough to see where enemies are coming from, so avoiding them often feels like luck.
Difficulty: Due to the control issues it feels difficult in an unfair way. Yet apart from the timed boss battles, it is always possible to buy your way out of trouble with a Revival Gem. Everything is built around the virtual economy of “credits”, which you have to spend even to start a mission. This means that if you’re low on credits, you have grind earlier missions to earn enough credits to play later ones. I really dislike this system.
Now for some good parts:
Environments: Absolutely stunning, especially areas such as Coral Lake. It’s a different, brighter world than Panzer, but beautiful in its own way. I hope we get to see more of it in an RPG sequel. So far I have seen five different environments, with three or four missions in each.
Free Flight Bosses: I have only encountered one of these so far, but the fight was rather epic. It required me to fly around a huge dragon, looking for weak spots (Saga and Orta fans should be right at home), accelerating and decelerating in order to avoid attacks. The sense of scale is a whole other level.
I’m not going to comment on the story until I have finished the game.