Embarrassingly enough, once I finally got around to playing Panzer Dragoon Orta, it turns out that it’s a pretty short game. The in-game clock put my final time at just under four hours, which probably includes a few false starts from back when I first got the game.
On the other hand, that was back when I was absolute rubbish at pretty much anything action-based, so I doubt I’d have been able to get past the final three-stage boss fight, would likely have gotten frustrated, and probably would have long since sold the thing off.
So, maybe waiting over a decade was a good thing after all.
It is a little odd going back to a game from the early 2000s when the dual-analog control scheme wasn’t quite as standardized. PDO’s controls aren’t as weird as the other Smilebit game I’ve played (GunValkyrie), but it still felt more than a little weird to be completely ignoring that second analog.
The simple controls work, though, because PDO is, like the earlier games in the series, a game with pretty straightforward mechanics. It’s honestly not much more than a very pretty shooting gallery that you fly through. There are branching paths in most of the levels, and PDO in particular adds some strategic elements with the multiple dragon forms and a greater emphasis on flanking in the massive boss fights that have always been the hallmark of the series, but you don’t legitimately have a whole lot of say in where you’re going or how fast you’re going to get there.
The payoff, though, isn’t really about the gameplay. It’s about getting to immerse yourself in a starkly-beautiful post-apocalyptic world and seeing just enough of its mysteries to leave you wanting more.
That may have gotten a little florid there but I trust you take my point.
Anyway, it was an excellent reason to blow the dust off the Xbox. 🙂