Panzer Dragoon Orta
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  • Sega
  • Smilebit
  • Action - Shooter - General, Other
  • 1/14/2003
  • 1
  • Hard Drive
  • 1
  • $9.00
  • Teen
7  |  Panzer Dragoon Orta Review - Rez is Back (XBox)
larsoncc , 3/19/2003 9:44:04 AM

Cruisin in a cave (pic) Well, Panzer Dragoon Orta has been out there for a few months now - it's time to have a look back to see if the hype was justified.  Dragoon was greeted with more celebration than the Pope, and had everyone in an uproar about how the XBox would dominate the known universe.  Forget the second coming!  This is Orta!  Orta is better than Galaga!  Honest to GOD, someone said this.  You can't imagine the shooting pain in my skull when my eyes beheld such blasphemy. 

Orta is damn fine, I'll give you that.  If Orta was a girl, she'd never talk to me.  F-I-N-E, fine.  Finger lickin' good, really.  Your puny little imagination can't come up with scenery that looks like this; that's why we have to pay people to come up with games like Orta.  In fact, graphics are the entire reason that the Panzer Dragoon series is legendary.  Understand, Panzer Dragoon Orta is all about inviting friends over to your house to show them how COOL the XBox is.  Jealousy is a powerful motivational tool, and your buddies need to get off their butts and get an XBox (they do!  XBox is great!).  And Panzer Dragoon Orta will impress the hell out of them.

Just don't let your buddies play the game.

If your buddies pick up the controller, they'll realize that Panzer Dragoon Orta has more fluff than your Aunt Bettie's Jello "salad".  While the controls are tight and dead on (like all Dragoon games), there's basically no reason to fire until about the 3rd level (bosses excluded).  No enemy attacks are effective in this game.  While you do have to spend some time destroying missiles headed your way, you'll spend no time dodging.  There just isn't any reason to.  There are no surprises in Orta.  Not only are YOU on rails (pre-programmed paths), but so are all of your enemies.  If you play through the game once, you're done.  Is that the nature of shooters?  Maybe - but I've never had that feeling when playing Galaga, ThunderForce, or Gradius. 

First Boss (pic) There is a lot of cinema in Orta.  Its my opinion that the cinema interrupts the game more than enhancing it.  The cinema doesn't really progress the story line.  If anything, the artsy way that the Dragoon people fail to speak English serves to add confusion to the whole mess.  Now,  there's not much story to be had in a shooter, and I'm not looking for a story.  What I really want is about an hour of uninterrupted MAYHEM when I play a shooter.  Panzer Dragoon Orta is far too laid back for that.  You complete a level, and it treats you to a movie and some popcorn.  Well, not REALLY popcorn, but you do get journal entries in a "special feature" section.  Who are they kidding?  No normal person will ever take the time to read that!  Especially not me - I'm as A.D.D. as they come, folks.

Panzer Dragoon is, nonetheless, destined for greatness.  The way that you lock-on to enemies is absolutely a CLASSIC game element.  The game play isn't unique, nor is this lock-on system - Rez got no credit, but Rez is Orta in street clothes.  For nearly all purposes of comparison, Orta is a game play COPY of Rez.  If Rez is bad, and Orta is good, that means you've been fooled by pretty graphics.  I don't think that's the case, though - I own Rez, I like Rez (but it was SHORT and odd).  So, I ended up liking Orta, too.

I appreciate beauty.  I appreciate a classic franchise.  But as a fan of deep, arcade-style shooters, mayhem, and blaring techno and/or rock beats, I didn't appreciate Panzer Dragoon Orta as much as I "should have."  I give Panzer Dragoon Orta a 7/10.

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