Drakengard 3 is an action role-playing game for the PlayStation 3. Developed by Access Games, the original team from the now-defunct cavia has been reunited, with Taro Yoko reprising his role as director, along with producer Takamasa Shiba, character designer Kimihiko Fujisaka, and composer Keiichi Okabe who previously worked on the soundtrack for NieR.
Like the other games in the franchise, combat is a mix of aerial and ground missions with a focus on "high-speed" action. Other gameplay elements involve latent Intoner (Utautai in the Japanese version) abilities being triggered when Zero becomes bathed in blood. Drakengard 3 was released on October 31, 2013 in Japan; in North America on May 20, 2014; and Europe (digital only) on May 21, 2014.
Drakengard 3 has two types of gameplay: action combat in the style of games like Devil May Cry or God of War and third-person dragon aerial combat sections. For the ground-based sections, players are given four different types of weapons--swords, spears, combat bracers, and chakrams--to switch between freely in any stage. A basic combo system is in place, even allowing players to swap between weapons during a combo for powerful swap attacks. Zero also has an Intoner meter that fills in combat; activating it increases her movement, attack speed and strength, and resistance to damage. Zero can also take up to two of her Disciples into combat, AI-controlled companions who fight on their own.
For certain missions or sections of missions, Zero mounts her dragon Mikhail for aerial combat. These come in two styles: forced-progression sections that resemble games like Panzer Dragoon and free-movement sections. The primary attack in these sections is a fire breath, which can be used to target multiple targets at once via lock-on targeting (also like Panzer Dragoon). Mikhail also has a dash attack that changes to a swipe when he is grounded. Many of the Mikhail sections are boss fights, allowing Zero to take on huge enemies from the back of her dragon. Mikhail also has an Intoner mode that functions identically to Zero’s
The game uses a mission-based structure for progression through the game. Beating the previous level will unlock the next in a set order. After finishing the main progression, new chapters open that further the story. The final of these chapters requires players to collect all weapons before it unlocks. In between missions, Zero can also used money earned through combat to upgrade her various weapons or purchase items for use in her missions. There are also side missions that are repeatable for more experience or money.
Directly prior to the events of Drakengard 3, vicious warlords ruled the various nations of the world, torturing the inhabitants with constant war and conflict. Seemingly out of nowhere, a group of five mysterious young women calling themselves “Intoners” used their song-based magical powers to overthrow the warlords and free the world from its instability. Each sister took a nation for her own, ruling it in a more beneficent manner than the warlords before them. At their head is One, a wise woman with intents of bringing the world’s nations together more closely than ever before.
Zero is the sixth Intoner, with the goal of killing her five sisters at any cost. Aiding her is the dragon Michael, the only being powerful enough to truly end the power of an Intoner. The pair make their way to Cathedral City, tracking down the entire group of Intoners and engaging them in combat. All together, their power is too much for Zero to handle and Michael must give his life to protect Zero. She doesn’t manage to escape unscathed either, losing her arm and right eye Her eye is replaced by a white flower (resembling a Lunar Tear), and she creates a prosthetic arm. Thanks to the power of dragons, Michael is reborn as Mikhail and helps nurse Zero back to full strength. She heads back out on her quest of sororicide, tracking down and murdering each sister one at a time and stealing their Disciples for her own use.
Zero - The protagonist of Drakengard 3. Zero is a powerful fighter with exceptional sword skills. She has a violent, irascible, and promiscuous personality. In her early fight with her sisters, she loses her arm and right eye, replacing the latter with a flower resembling a Lunar Tear. Her desire to complete her mission is absolute, even when it places herself and those she cares about in danger. Most of all, she does whatever she wants with whomever she wants, no matter the context.
One - One’s actions are ruled by her powerful sense of justice and order. She leads the Intoners in their quest to rebuild the world with the intent of making a better, more peaceful world. For those she commands, she demands--and receives--absolute trust and faith. One is the most stable, cleverest, and strongest of Zero’s sisters, making her the ultimate foe of Zero’s mission. Unlike her other sisters, One also understands why Zero is coming to kill them, also questioning the nature of the Intoners. Still, she sees Zero as the ultimate traitor and will fight her to the death if necessary.
Two - Two is originally a bright, pleasant girl who brings happiness and light to all those around her. She has a very benevolent nature and wishes to help whomever she can with her great powers. This ranges from everything to cooking for those she cares about to providing a place for those orphaned from the conflict with the warlords. She is also deeply in love with her Disciple, Cent, and has a hard time focusing when he is around. A horrible event (retold in her DLC chapter) causes her to lose her sanity. From that point on, she remains in a near-coma like state, relying on Cent to take care of her.
Three - On the outside, Three appears lethargic and bored with the world around her. She has a laziness about her, droning through conversations in a haze and even eating food uncooked rather than bother cooking it. She has an unhealthy obsession with dolls and the control she has over them. It’s revealed in her DLC chapter that she experiments heavily on the people of her nation, changing them into grotesque creatures with the intent of learning everything she can. When speaking about these experiments, she becomes excited and loquacious, almost speaking too quickly to be understood. This revelation also displays Three’s horrific cruel streak, often toying with her test subjects before experimenting on them.
Four - Four is the most prim and proper of the Intoners. She doesn’t like speaking about unseemly things--particularly sexual things--and hates dealing with death. She is also the only of her sisters to be a virgin, unwilling to “demean” herself with such filthy behavior. This also manifests itself as an intense inferiority complex. Four constantly seeks approval from her other sisters, even hoping to stop Zero’s quest by talking her down and making her remember their childhood. She tries to be a perfect person in hopes of living up to the intense standards set by One and the other Intoners.
Five - Five is a woman of many desires, a gluttonous series of impulses that she indulges at any opportunity. This manifests itself in many ways, from material things such as food and art to sexual activities with anyone and everyone she encounters. Her figure reflects these desires, voluptuous and beautiful in a way unlike her other sisters. Five’s favorite “toy” is her Disciple Dito, a young man who does whatever she asks, albeit begrudgingly. She also mentions various fetish-based acts with Dito and even drags him along on a quest to eat rare foods in her DLC chapter.
Michael/Mikhail - Michael is Zero’s original dragon: proud, arrogant, strong, and dedicated to Zero’s mission. After his death at the hands of the other Intoners, he is reborn as the childish Mikhail. Much of the knowledge from his previous life has been lost, giving him a newly immature outlook on the world and its wonders. This innocent, kind-hearted nature makes him a constant verbal punching-bag for Zero and her no-nonsense nature. She never calls him by his name, instead referring to him as “you” or “dummy” instead. Even though she rarely appreciates him, Mikhail is still entirely committed to helping Zero--even when he starts to question why Zero must kill her sisters.
Dito - Dito is originally Five’s Disciple, being used by him as an unwilling sex toy whenever she wishes. After she is killed by Zero, he gleefully beats her dead body and exclaims how happy he is to be free. He joins Zero’s quest out of a desire to get as far away from his time with Five as possible. His personality seems mostly normal at first, but he is quickly revealed to have a very sadistic streak. The pain and suffering of other people excites and even arouses him. He tags along with Zero, constantly poking fun at her quirks and enjoying the opportunity to murder thousands of people.
Decadus - Decadus is originally Four’s Disciple, unable to do his duty and copulate with her due to her distaste for such behavior. When Four is murdered, he joins along with Zero simply because he has nowhere else to go. He is the most well-mannered of Zero’s companions, speaking politely and rarely using any swear words or vulgar language. His one quirk is his masochistic desires, becoming quite aroused when he is ordered around or put into danger as a result of Zero’s demands. Due to Zero’s constant berating, he often finds himself in a compromised situation, repeatedly apologizing for letting his vulgarity slip out.
Octa - Octa is originally Three’s Disciple, remaining faithful even after witnessing the heights of Three’s insanity. He pleasantly switches sides after her death, promising great sexual activity for Zero. Octa appears old, but he promises he is quite young, being aged greatly by his frequent amounts of intercourse. He often talks about both the size of his member and the skills with which he can use it, frequently trying to talk Zero into various sexual encounters. At the same time, Octa is also the most perceptive of Zero’s companions, asking the questions no one else does and noticing the inconsistencies in her demands.
Cent - Cent is originally Two’s Disciple, taking care of her after her catatonic break due to complete love and devotion to her. He does his best to kill Zero when she comes to kill Two, but he fails just as the others do. He aids Zero in the rest of her journey, although it seems like he has other motives. Cent has a suave personality, able to seamlessly lie in a believable fashion to suit his own needs and desires. Most of all, he lies to make himself appear smarter than he actually is, even at great consequence. Out of all of Zero’s companions, his character is the most flat and transparent. She keeps him wisely at a distance, fearing some sort of retaliation for Two’s death.
Accord - Accord is a mysterious character in Zero’s story, running both the shops and side missions. She always seems to know more than she lets on, subtly nudging Zero down the “correct” path. No matter Zero’s anger or prodding, Accord never reveals any more or less than she intends. She also acts as the game’s narrator.
Drakengard 3 is said to take place roughly one hundred years before the events of Drakengard. As such, many elements of its story can be seen as referential to the greater universe of Cavia’s releases. Most notably, Zero’s eyebound flower greatly resembles a Lunar Tear, a mythical flower that plays a role in Nier’s story. Zero also closely resembles Nier’s Kaine in both appearance and attitude. One (the character) similarly bears a resemblance to Manah from the other two Drakengard games. The greater story of Drakengard 3 also shares many elements found in both Drakengard and Nier.
Drakengard 3’s downloadable content consists of costumes, sound packs, and new episodes revolving around the various characters of the game. Each of the costume packs includes one costume, modeled around the characters from other games from Cavia, for the price of $2.99. There are also minor costume changes available for Zero’s dragon for $0.99 each. The sound packs include remixed tracks from games in the series which play during Intoner Mode in gameplay. These packs cost $1.99 each. There is also a Japanese voice pack--originally a preorder incentive--which can be purchased for $4.99. Six additional story chapters can be purchased, each retailing for $5.99 or as a bundle for $29.99. The chapters go into greater detail for each sister, including Zero, giving more story and background information for fans.