Pros:Great voice-over. Decent graphics. Good storyline.
Cons:Clunky controls. Horrible gameplay.
The Bottom Line: If you like Tomb Raider and Anne Mccafferys series of Dragonriders you might enjoy this. Otherwise, run away.
Dragon Riders of Pern is based on the fantasy novels written by Anne Mccaffery. I haven't read this series of books, but I have read her before and she is wonderful. Excited enough about mixing good fantasy with my DC, I was expecting an epic adventure that would give me something to boast about to my PS2 friends... (grrrr!)
With a great opening, and visuals at first that are reminiscent to Myst I was expecting great things. Graphically, DRoP is nice. Graphics are smooth and actually leave a 3dfx taste in your mouth. Character modeling, and backdrops are all quite good. I would even conclude that the graphics are better than average. Graphically alone, I would have given it an "8 out of 10". What dropped this to a pitiful "5" was the mind-numbing loading times and choppy framerate. I kept saying to myself, "Self, how can there be framerate loss and nothing is happening?". Very sad.
One thing that I think Dreamcast has over any present system is their use of voice-overs. DRoP is no different. The voice-overs are near perfect. From the inquisitive lead character to the bellowing dragons. BGM is good, not great. Simple orchestrated pipes and acoustic guitars. It actually reminded me of Diablo, on a much lower scale. The BGM always fit the mood, and blended nicely with the scenes. Sound effects were fair. Nothing spectacular here. There was also little to no environmental sounds.
It's all about gameplay. Gameplay in this disk is absolutely disgusting. Depending on your gaming style is whether you agree with me or not. I have never been a fan of the Tomb Raider series. I despised the controls. A "glassy" feel, with reaction times that resembled a sloth. If you can imagine Tomb Raiders controls backwards with even more hesitation, you have DRoP . I do believe if you are a fan of Tomb Raider and actually prefer these types of controls, you will enjoy this style of gaming.
The games main purpose is similar to many other "adventure" games. It is simply a scavenger hunt. Go talk to people and go find the item. Many titles have done this well... Dragon Riders however, does not. The tasks are mundane and boring. Fighting is tedious and quirky. When you are within "range" you can engage an enemy. Once in battle you can perform a variety of attacks. Nothing special here, although you can "earn" more attack types throughout the game. Once you finish these mini-quests given to you by townspeople and the like, you are given the opportunity to "fly" your dragon. Sounds like fun, right? Wrong. Expecting to glide through the picturesque scenery? Soar through the white clouds? Not a chance. Click on the map on where you want to go, and BOOM you're there. Yawn.
As with other adventure/RPG games, you have different attributes that you can build, and inventory that grows and items that you can use... Blah blah blah. These types of games are either hit or miss. DRoP is a definite miss.
Replay Value 9/10
Ok, why you ask if that I am giving this a "9" for replay value? Well, just because I don't like this game, doesn't mean you wont. There is a ton of things to do in the game. Between all of the puzzles, mini-quests and building your character, this could easily lead to 30+ hours of gameplay. I put in a measly six hours in the game. I tried my hardest to get used to the controls, and overlook the glitches, but just couldn't do it.
Sadly, this game just won't work for me. I really wanted it to though. I am disgusted with Ubi-Soft for this pitiful excuse for a late-release title. We are on the home stretch for DC releases, and expecting a quality release from such a reliable developer.
If you are an Anne Mccaffery fan, why not pick it up. For sentimental reasons alone, this might be worth it for you. Playing a game, in which you read the book just adds to the overall value of a good read. I have always been a huge fan of Terry Brooks and the Shannara series, and years ago bought the game based on the books. Although it was a sorry excuse for a game, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
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