|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Dimps Corporation||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 4, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Greater accuracy with your timing will improve the damage you deal. A superior level of accuracy will let you power up the "phat beat combo," which deals a ballistic assault worthy of its name. New musical beat combos can also be purchased as you visit different cities on your quest. A built-in editor also lets you visually arrange the brief musical phrases to concoct your own original beat combos, and there's an added option to change the musical sound that accompanies the notes. Overall, beat combos are a neat addition to the fighting formula, but it's unfortunate the rhythm component does not factor more heavily into the gameplay.
The bullet collection aspect is an appealing one since you can easily spend a substantial amount of time attempting to locate all of the many common and rare bullets. Throughout the game, new bullets can be obtained by defeating enemies or purchasing them with credits earned in battle. There are over 100 different bullets available between 10 different elemental types including fire, earth, water, lightning, wind, ice, poison, flower, sound, and void. They can also be traded with friends using the DS' wireless function. Certain opponents are more susceptible to damage dealt from a particular element, and the option to customize your special attacks for an optimum fighting style against a particular set of foes lets you strategically pinpoint and target their weak spots.
Visually, Draglade's relatively lackluster anime artistic style and presentation looks like it could have been pulled directly out of (insert any number of generic Japanese-inspired action game franchises here). The fully-animated 2D characters, scenery, and arenas appear decent enough, but they're generally uninspiring. The music is interesting and varied for the most part, and the Japanese emo track at the opening screen is worth a chuckle. Playing through the solo mode with each of the four main characters unlocks their rivals for play, but facing off against human opponents is a big part of what gives fighting games additional staying power. Fortunately, the multi-player options here are substantial. Aside from the being able to trade beat combos and bullets, players can battle their friends or play co-op quests via a local wireless connection. The game also supports single-card download play to let you thrown down with a pal even if you've only got a single copy of the game. If you don't have any friends handy, it's easy to jump onto the online WiFi network and duke it out against random combatants.
It's easy to get a little hung-up on the presentation, but Draglade is a good fighting game when you look deeper beneath the exterior trappings. The controls are tight, and the action blows by at a steady pace. Adding a touch of rhythm into the mix is a fresh and exciting idea. The musical elements could have been implemented a bit more thoroughly throughout the game, but all-in-all it brings something new to the brawler formula.
CCC Freelance Writer