posted 2/5/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: DS
Draglade is split up into a couple of different sections, including one where you're walking around various towns talking to the townsfolk and one where you are running through 2D action level that requires you to fight hypnotized animals. Beyond that you will have to battle other grappers in one-on-one arena battles (some of which have levels that fight back). The whole game is just one battle after another, generally with you earning money and experience along the way.

I'll be completely honest with you; I didn't care much for this game when I first started playing it. I found it hard to connect with the characters, the initial story was a complete bore and the conversations were painfully dull. What's more, every aspect of this game felt like it was ripped away from another anime-inspired action game. But I gave Draglade a chance and found that this is not just a fun action game, but it's also a lot deeper than I had given it credit for. Draglade isn't the best game on the Nintendo DS by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a lot better than most of these kinds of games.

The reason that this game works so well is because of the fighting engine. Sure, it's not as complex as what we've seen in traditional fighters (Street Fighter II, Virtua Fighter, etc.), but it also feels fresh and exciting. These battles only become more fun when you have a lot of magic attacks to choose from, which will happen relatively early in the game. You'll still have to plod through the game leveling up your character, but even that isn't all that annoying thanks to the fun fighting engine.

The fun extends past the single-player mode, as well. Draglade offers a compelling multiplayer mode that is even more addictive than the single-player story mode. Best of all, you can connect to people both online and off. Make no mistake about it; this is an exciting fighting game that is even more fun against real people. Part of the reason this game works so well is because it perfectly matches the Nintendo DS hardware. This isn't one of those games that tries to do more than what the hardware will allow, it understands the limitations of the DS and crafts a game that perfectly matches the system. Hardcore fighting games may have a hard time going from Virtua Fighter or Tekken to this weird 2D anime-influenced action/fighter hybrid, but those who give it a try will be impressed with what Dimps Corporation have been able to pull off.

Make no mistake about it; Draglade is not a perfect game. I personally could have done without the longwinded conversations and boring back story. But once the action starts it's hard to put this game down. Even though the heavy emphasis on Japanese anime can get a little grating at times, Draglade is a solid action game that is worth picking up. If you're a Nintendo DS owner who has been waiting for a solid fighting game, then you should already be running out to your local game store to pick up this wacky little action game.

It may look like it is based on a Japanese TV show, but I assure you that this game is not based on a licensed property. And maybe that's a good thing, because Draglade proves to be an interesting take on the fighting genre that perfectly fits the Nintendo DS' limited hardware.

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