Panzer Dragoon Orta - Xbox

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Viewed: 3D Combination Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Smilebit Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: Infogrames (GB)
Released: 21 Mar 2003 (GB)
Unknown (JP)
Ratings: 15+
Accessories: Memory Unit


Panzer Dragoon was the main reason the Sega Saturn was much-loved, at least from a first party perspective. As the 3D era dawned, Panzer Dragoon ignored the rules, and went fully three dimensional, albeit with a 2D game engine.

The original games, perfectly complimented by PD Saga, an RPG which now commands terrific prices in the vintage market, are amongst the best-loved Sega has ever produced. Having failed to grace the Dreamcast, despite major rumouring to the contrary, platform agnostic, reborn Sega, sprung by its wealth of IP, was always going to resurrect its 32-Bit flagship, and it chose to do so on Xbox, as part of its ongoing deal with Microsoft.

It’s at this point that many questioned the release of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Some argued that franchise had been derelict too long to successfully resurrect, others that it should have gone to PS2.

Developed by Sega’s Smilebit studio, PDO is a triumph of oriental charm and videogame emotion. As with any truly great game, Orta makes you want to play, and want to win. Essentially a forward-moving third person 3D shooter, the game is more a tour de force of what Sega as company represents than a modern videogame.

From the very first cut-scene, you are embroiled in a fantasy world of love, hope, death and honour. One in which dragons rule the skies and warring beneath the wings of your steed blends into the immediate action at hand.

Sega will, of course, rehash all of its franchises, and each will be received on its own merits, admittedly with a few percent added for their retro chic and the fact that they’re made by Sega. And at first glance, Dragoon could seem a folly.

It’s game mode is almost a decade old. Hasn’t Sega realised that kids of today demand super-violent mission based driving romps? Well, no it hasn’t, and thank goodness for that.

Far from being on rails, PDO features many multiple paths, each informed with its own sub-plot and movie-standard cut-scene, which will bring about a new ending, making PDO, aside from Panzer Dragoon Sage, the most content rich in the series and as such, is well worth a look.