A remaster that makes me hopeful for games from a forgotten era.
I have mixed feelings when it comes to the short lived SEGA Saturn era. For the three years I got out of the device, there are some games I still absolutely adore. Many classic arcade games like Daytona USA and Street Fighter Alpha 3 made for an entertaining time. There were many games on offer, which made for a glimpse into what the future of 3D games could entail. One of those games was, without a doubt, Panzer Dragoon. The game, released in 1995, felt special when it first arrived on the scene. Not only because of its weird fantasy setting, but also for the weird gameplay quirks on offer. Now, for the first time I might add, the game is making its way to Nintendo Switch. Forever Entertainment have decided to give Panzer Dragoon a graphical overhaul and introduce it to a whole new generation of gamers. Is it good? Well, sort of.
The demo consisted of the first chapter, allowing us to see the work that Forever Entertainment put into it. Right from the get go, the gameplay was quite similar to how I remember the game feeling. You move the stick to fly around and use the B-button to shoot at anything that comes your way. The player can use lock on attacks by holding down the button, ensuring that every enemy gets hit in a singular blast. Once you get in the zone, there isn't very much to really think about. You will have to use the ZL- and ZR-buttons to look in a different direction sometimes, but mostly it is dodge and shoot. This requires a lot of quick movement and knowing when you should strike. Panzer Dragoon felt nice enough, but nothing too complicated.
The game itself doesn't look too hot. The assets are a bit all over the place and don’t always do the best job of selling you on the remake. While the game is clearly still a work in progress, they did a good job capturing the spirit of Panzer Dragoon. The fantasy world still holds up incredibly well, and deserves to be seen. The same goes for the soundtrack, from which I know some songs completely inside out.
Panzer Dragoon shows that there is still love out there for the Saturn's vast library. While the remake doesn't always look the best, the controls are simple and easy to understand. The simple pleasure of shooting at stuff, homing on specific elements and clearing a path still works well in 2019. How the full game pans out remains to be seen, but it makes me hopeful for perhaps more game out this forgotten era.