30 Days of Xbox: Panzer Dragoon Orta

Or, the game I Orta play if something else doesn’t work.
I hit my first dead Xbox game today.
Let us all hold a moment of silence, please.
Admittedly, it was only Wakeboarding Unleashed Featuring Shaun Murray, but it surprised me.
The disc seems fine with no obvious marks or scratches, no disc rot or gunge, and even the emergency step of a quick window cleaner wash (no, really, that does work) would revive it. A timely reminder for optical media that entropy gets to us all, I suppose.
Still, that left me with a challenge, because it meant that I had to come up with something else to play. So, employing the time-honoured (which is to say, this month’s) approach of random pointing, I settled on Panzer Dragoon Orta. Which, in anybody’s language has to be an upgrade of massive proportions.
Panzer Dragoon Orta is a beautiful, chaotic, crazy, wonderful game that also happens to kick my behind an awful lot. It’s tough going, but, like the best “hard” games, you’re not fighting the controls so much as you are spending time working out how to best utilise them to maximum effect.
It’s why it’s one of the very few shoot-em-ups I can think of with an extensive tutorial, because between lock on and regular shots, the differences in speed and three different dragon forms, all of which can be upgraded, there’s an awful lot going on!

Panzer Dragoon Orta also sits in a weird place in terms of visuals. The art design is gorgeous (but then again I’m a sucker for dragons), but you can see the seams of what the Xbox can handle with this many polygons flying around.
I’m fine with that, and I’d be fine with a remake. Playing it reminded me that there’s a remake of Shadow of The Colossus due out, and I’ve already heard some proclaim that this will make it “playable”, as though the original wasn’t because of a few jagged edges.
I couldn’t disagree more. It may make it prettier, and that’s no bad thing, but the core gameplay is what actually makes that game (and this one) a classic.
It’s been a while, Sega. Could we please have another?

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Taito Legends 2
  3. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  4. Panzer Dragoon Orta
  5. Outrun 2
  6. Ninja Gaiden
  7. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  8. Godzilla: Save The Earth
  9. The Punisher
  10. SSX Tricky
  11. NFL Street
  12. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  13. FIFA 2004
  14. NHL Rivals 2004
  15. Rocky
  16. Spy vs Spy
  17. Rugby League
  18. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  19. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

Another really tough call to make. Panzer Dragoon Orta is a fine game that (once you get past the lengthy tutorial) has plenty of return value and a lot of challenge behind it. Once again, these are very much personal rankings that reflect my own game proclivities, and you’re more than welcome to disagree below.
Next time: A game I’ve never reviewed before. Really.

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