|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Quebec||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 28, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
If you enjoy being abused by games, Ubisoft has a real treasure in mind for you. Riffing on last year's Battle of Giants: Dinosaurs, dragons are now tossed into the mix to create an onslaught of beastly battles. Though these mythological creatures dabble in magic, this game's anything but legendary.
The tale is told through still art and text, which players will become greatly familiar with, since the opening cutscene (clocking in at roughly three minutes in length) is repeated each time you start up the game; no, you can't skip it, either. After your noble dragon breed flees the hunting of humans, a new enemy is revealed. You must defeat rogue dragons intent on squandering the power of the ancients. The tale gives precious little to go on, and the gameplay does even less to hold players' attention.
Battle of Giants: Dragons is broken up into four different worlds of play, each world consisting of a handful of areas you must conquer. Levels are relatively small, and you'll control your dragon with only the stylus. You can traverse areas by land, or you can tap on your dragon to begin flying. Drawing near to other dragons on the map causes you to enter a separate battle screen where combat begins.
Battles work thusly: both you and your opponent are set upon small, stone tablets with various panels. The different panels represent the dragon body parts you'll be using to attack with. In order to execute an attack, you need to make a slashing motion with your stylus from your dragon to your opponent. Depending on which panel your dragon is standing on when you gesture, you'll attack using that particular body part. Each body part is equipped with a selection of gems, which represent the power of attacks. Once you issue an attack command, you'll then be prompted to connect dots on the touch screen.
Your dragon has both a health and orb (known in the game as Dirga) meter, and you'll eat into your well of orbs any time you attack. When you initiate an attack, you can opt to either follow through with it or draw additional orbs in order to build up your meter for a super attack. Orbs can also be taken from your opponent if you successfully dodge an attack. There's never really a shortage of energy, however, and the best course of action is usually to spam attacks before your opponent has a chance to counter.
According to the "tips" that occasionally pop up in the game, you can also block attacks. Unfortunately, the developers don't seem to deem players worthy of knowing how to actually control your dragon, and absolutely none of the basics are covered, leaving it entirely up to the player to find their feet, so to speak. One of the very first objectives you're given in the game is to burn a crystal, but first you'll have to figure out how to execute your dragon breath. Considering the younger audience Battle of Giants seems to be aimed at, it's a completely uninviting experience.
Aside from the opening cutscene, you're barely made privy to the reason for pushing through the story. There are orbs scattered throughout levels, as well as a few destructible elements. Once again, though, it's up to the player to figure out what their purpose is, if any.
Once you've muddled through the fundamentals, you'll uncover an adventure comprised of repetitive gameplay and utterly contrived objectives. "Find two gems" and "burn the [numbered] crystal" are usually the order of the day. The game likes to throw up walls after you've completed an objective, forcing you to take the long way back to where you came from in order to complete the next, nonsensical objective.