A review of Panzer Dragoon II Zwei.
Team Andromeda looked over the first Panzer Dragoon, took the good ideas and discarded the bad. They then went over the good ideas, improved them, changed them around until they were tweaked, and added all new concepts. The result: a sequel that was improved in every way with enough innovative features to be fairly called a step forward for the series.
Panzer Dragoon Zwei was a sequel to Panzer Dragoon in the order that they were released, but story wise Zwei (meaning two in German), actually takes place before the original game. As with all the Panzer Dragoon games on Sega’s Saturn, Panzer Dragoon Zwei features an impressive opening full motion video sequence that explains how the story of the dragon began. The plot is more detailed than before and even has references to the game’s RPG sequel, Panzer Dragoon Saga, which wasn’t released until two years later. It shows how much thought and planning Team Andromeda must have put into the game compared to the last, not just in its own storyline, but also planning ahead for Panzer Dragoon Saga.
The graphics in Panzer Dragoon Zwei take a huge leap past the original’s first generation looks, but it is the artistic style of the game’s world that captures the imagination of the player. The desolate environments lure the player into the world of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, along with the diverse ship and enemy designs, as well as a variety of unique dragon forms. Panzer Dragoon Zwei was one of the first Saturn games that I played and although I hate to not rate a game by how it plays, I can safely say that the beautiful, unrivaled game world was enough to make me purchase a Saturn.
That’s not to say the game doesn’t play well. As mentioned earlier, Panzer Dragoon Zwei enhances every aspect of the original game design. The game now plays faster, and the controls have been fine tuned to make the dragon far more responsive. On the subject of movement, the player now has more control over the dragon in another respect; Panzer Dragoon Zwei introduces multiple routes into the game levels. At certain points of the stage the path will split into two. By nudging the dragon towards one of them, that path will be taken. The various paths join together again at the end of the level.
Another new feature is the dragon evolution system. Now there is a purpose to getting 100% shot down ratio on every stage (besides being able to say you did it). By blasting enough enemies out of the sky, the dragon sheds his skin and morphs into a more advanced form. While this doesn’t change the gameplay dramatically, it is the new touches like this that add significant replay value to the Panzer Dragoon sequel.
Of course the music is extremely well composed, as with all of the series. In my opinion, Zwei’s atmospheric tunes are the best I’ve heard out of all the Panzer Dragoon games on the Saturn, in some respects even more so than Panzer Dragoon Saga’s dramatic themes. It is hard to forget tracks like ‘The Expected Enemy’ and ‘Giant Creature’ because they bring the boss fights to life. The sound is equally brilliant, especially the use of the Panzer Dragoon language which makes an appearance once again.
Because of the increase of different paths and options, Panzer Dragoon Zwei has very good replay value. Like the first game, Zwei is a bit short, but the fact that it plays so much better makes you want to continue replaying the stages. After the game is completed, a new option appears called Pandra’s Box. The more the game is played, the more extra options appear in the box. New weapons, dragon types, and secret modes to name a few. It’ll take you hours to unlock them all.
So what would I say about this game overall? Well in my opinion it is one of the best, if not the best, 3D shoot ‘em up on the Saturn. If you’ve played the original and liked it then I can tell you now, Panzer Dragoon Zwei is at least twice as fun, impressive, and atmospheric. Even Panzer Dragoon Orta doesn’t capture quite the same magic as Zwei did, a testament of the game’s place as the definitive shooter in the Panzer Dragoon series.
- Visual Style
- Reply Value
- 9/10 (90%)