We’ve seen the revival of many classic games as of late, especially with old SEGA franchises – you’ve only got to look at the likes of Shenmue III and the upcoming Streets of Rage IV for proof of that, with both well-loved games that fans have been eagerly anticipating follow ups for. Well, there’s another SEGA series that has seen a revival this year, with Panzer Dragoon: Remake bringing a modernised take on the SEGA Saturn classic. It’s something that’ll have fans of the series foaming at the mouth with glee, but is it worth playing if you weren’t already invested in the game to begin with?
Panzer Dragoon: Remake is an on-rails shooter that’ll feel familiar to anyone who has played the likes of Star Fox or, of course, one of the original Panzer Dragoon games. What this means is that you’ll automatically be led through an assortment of levels, with dazzling locales passing-by and plenty of enemies coming along your path for you to shoot down. Panzer Dragoon: Remake does add its own twist to the formula by allowing players to turn 90-degrees to their left and right during gameplay though, with enemies approaching from multiple angle to make the on-rails dragon battling even more hectic.
Luckily, you’re well-equipped to take out these enemies, with your dragon able to unleash both a standard attack that’ll follow your target reticule and a homing attack that’ll automatically lock onto your foes and unleash a barrage of hurt upon them. Utilising a good mixture of both attacks will be essential to your progress through the game, with some foes only vulnerable to specific attacks – it’s easy enough to figure out when to use each one as you play though, so it never feels complicated.
In fact, there’s not much to Panzer Dragoon: Remake that ever feels more than simple in design, with the game proving easy to pick up and play and following an arcade-like setup that emphasises both action and fun. The levels are all satisfyingly designed too, with the colourful fantasy environments making for some enjoyable locales to have your shootouts across. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing about the visuals that will blow you away, but there was something satisfyingly old-school about them that fit the tone of the game perfectly.
It’s worth mentioning that Panzer Dragoon: Remake brings with it an additional control scheme to go along with the original that gamers would have been used to. The ‘Modern’ controls allow you to move the dragon’s movement with the left-stick and control the aiming reticule with the right-stick, which in many ways essentially makes the game feel like a twin-stick shooter. Then there are the original ‘Classic’ controls, which see both your movement and aiming controlled with the left-stick.
Your choice of controls will come down to personal preference and I’m sure many gamers who played the original will want to stick to the Classic option, though those who do go for Modern controls will get the benefit of being able to aim without moving. Naturally, this can make the game a little easier, especially since you can keep yourself out of harm’s way whilst picking off enemies from all angles.
No matter what control scheme you follow, Panzer Dragoon: Remake is guilty of feeling a little sluggish in places – especially when switching angles to shoot at enemies from the side, which can awkwardly leave you vulnerable to attacks during the transition. There’s just something a little janky with how both control schemes feel, and whilst you do get used to them the longer you play, the lack of sensitivity options and the imperfections are a bit of a shame.
That being said, you may not actually be playing all that long to get used to them anyway, with Panzer Dragoon: Remake a short game that can easily be beaten in just over an hour. A short adventure isn’t necessarily a flaw in a game and there was more than enough excitement throughout this one to make it feel worthwhile and fun, but the game is a little pricey at £22.49 – whether or not the short journey with Panzer Dragoon: Remake will justify that entry fee for every gamer who plays it is another thing altogether, especially if they weren’t already fans of the series to begin with.
Panzer Dragoon: Remake brings with it an adventure that fans of the original are sure to enjoy, though some clunky controls and a high price point may put some gamers off.
That’s not to say that newcomers won’t enjoy themselves though, with the solid level design and epic airborne battles offering plenty of fun throughout – I’m a sucker for the on-rail shooting genre too, so it ticked plenty of boxes for me. Panzer Dragoon: Remake could have just done with a little bit more polish in order to hit the heights that it’s capable of (and maybe an adventure that lasted a little bit longer than an hour).
Developer: MegaPixel Studio
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC