YMMV / Drakengard

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Games with their own subpages:

     For the entire series 
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Between the incredibly bleak world and characters who have few, if any redeeming characteristics, it's practically impossible to find hope or optimism in it. Similarly, the sequel, NieR, which has the strangest ending of Drakengard cause an apocalypse, and all four endings of which involve the extinction of humanity. Good thing there's Drakengard 3 to partially undo the downers. However, the sheer bleakness and darkness of the games is what made them cult classics.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: Most of the praise for the series has gone to its story, pitch black tone, and memorable cast. The games themselves tend to have extremely poor gameplay, with repetitive and monotonous combat on the ground, and even worse controls during the air missions.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The series has always had extremely poor gameplay (even Cavia itself admitted they were trying to rip off Dynasty Warriors and botched that due to inexperience and miniscule budget), crude graphics, little in the way of variety, and lots of grinding if you wish to see the different endings. The first game itself was a troll by the makers in terms of what they think a "beat 'em up" action hero would be like in real-life. Yet Drakengard has become a cult series that garnered enough interest to become a trilogy, largely on the novelty of having such evil bastards as main characters without being ironic or tongue-in-cheek.
    • It helps that the series has excellent music as well, and that while YMMV on the games themselves, the story in all of the games is excellently done and so off the norm that it's hard to ignore it.
  • Values Dissonance: Not really values so much as game styles, but the Drakengard series places a emphasis on story, setting, and characters more so than anything else, which makes it less popular in the West due to the west being focused more on gameplay and graphics.
  • Vindicated by History: Sure, the first game did not have the best budget and gameplay, but for a game of its time, it was unique and rare. Because it was so different and did not have the high-end graphics or amazing gameplay of other RPGs at the time, it was largely pushed aside. That is, until a few years later.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?

    For the first game 
  • Awesome Moments:
  • Awesome Music: Both Attract Mode songs for the first game. Sadly only ''Growing Wings made it into Drakengard's soundtrack, even in Japan.
  • Breather Level:
    • "Event" sequences in the first game are short gameplay sequences with limited numbers of low-level enemies that are easily dispatched.
    • Then there's Chapter 10, Verse 3, which has no enemies in the level whatsoever.
  • Cult Classic: It attained this status largely thanks to Caim.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Yeah, despite her status as a Barrier Maiden, Furiae's quite useless. She's also very reserved, leading most players to think her a bland character.
    • Side materials reveal that while she was intended to be a deconstruction of Damsel In Distress, not even the developers like her.
  • Demonic Spiders: The first game has three: archers, then undead, then the Grotesqueries. The second game has the air-stage-only enemy reapers.
  • Epileptic Trees: Inevitable given the Mind Screw plot and the heavily toned-down translation.
  • Game-Breaker: Hymir's Finger is a slow sword to swing due to its size, but jump attacking with it is just as fast as with any other sword. This makes it good choice for one-on-one fights, like in the alternate path which ends with Caim fighting Angelus.
  • Memetic Badass: Caim will kill everything that moves and then some. As Kratos is to Olympian deities, Caim is to goddamn everything that gets in his way. Also kids; Caim is an equal-opportunity killer.
  • Memetic Mutation: Caim's status: Lovin' this shit!
  • Narm: The voice-acting from the first game is laughably bad. Chief among them is Manah, whose VA when she is possessed sounds completely bored out of his mind, making what could have been an unsettling character into a hilarious joke.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Like saying grass is green.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Verdelet is greatly disliked by many players due to the fact that he is worse than useless and will not shut up. It's not even in an Annoying Video Game Helper sense; he's just constantly whining about the seals being broken. (Although granted, what they were holding back may be worth whining about.) These fans were delighted to find out that Verdelet had died sometime in between the two games, and if they leveled up a certain weapon all the way and read its history, were even more delighted to find out that Caim killed him.
    • Leonard's pact-partner, the faerie, is the only pact partner besides main character Angelus on the Characters page, but for all the wrong reasons, as you can go see.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: For all that the plot is incredible, the controls for any and all aerial levels will make you want to break down crying — for some people. Those with superhuman reflexes or simply an uncanny ability to hit things in the right place may find it the most enjoyable part of the game. Flying on the dragon during field levels, on the other hand, requires a dizzying amount of backtracking and circling.
  • That One Boss:
  • That One Level:
    • The mini-chapter "Leonard's Regret".
    • The castle part of the District of Heavenly Time. It's long, confusing, filled with lots of Heavily Armored Knights, and there's a ton of dead ends that lead to nowhere.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Grotesqueries. Those teeth. Those freaking teeth.
    • Manah's "possessed" voice is a bizarre combination of monotone and bored.

    For the second game 
  • Contested Sequel: Drakengard 2 was not directed by Yoko Taro, and it shows. While it isn't necessarily a constant parade of positivity, it is noticeably less dark than the first game and has a more conventional storyline and characters more similar to most JRPG's. This has made the game controversial in the fanbase, because while the Lighter and Softer nature of the game and improved gameplay has won over some people who felt the first game had a heavy case of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, many fans of the first game and the rest of the series feel that this direction made the game far less memorable and runs counter to what draws fans to the series in the first place, which is the fact that it ISN'T like mainstream games.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • The Boss Fight between Nowe and Caim was fairly impressive as well.
    • Even more impressive was what Caim did after the fight, killing Death.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The one thing that the fanbase is in perfect agreement of when it comes to this game, it is that the music is mind-blowing.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Caim and Angelus's reunion and subsequent death is this and a Tear Jerker.
    • Made better by this:
    Angelus: Is it over yet?
    Caim: It's over. We're together now.
  • Die for Our Ship: Nowe/Manah fans vs. Nowe/Eris fans. It's actually quite surprising how sharp the divide is here. Possibly the reason why the first game's only love stories were either about obsession or incest.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Urick. We don't know why we love him; maybe it's his charming accent, way with words, his beee-utiful hair... or perhaps it's just how awesome he is on a battlefield with that axe.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: For many fans, this game simply does not exist, thanks in no small part to the details mentioned in Contested Sequel above. Making this easier is NieR, which actually was directed by Yoko Taro like the first one, and follows a different ending to the original, leaving fans to view that one as the true sequel to the original.
  • Goddamned Bats: The second game's air-stage-only enemy Griffins. It takes a long time to kill them and they're hard to ignore, as they're one of the few melee enemies encountered in the air.
  • Ho Yay: The game features what is probably the world's gayest boss fight outside of the Boys Love. Literally. The boss makes a pass at both male party members at least once.
  • Idiot Plot: Various plot points seem to only happen because the characters do things that make little sense.
    • What An Idiot: Manah, full stop. What the hell did she expect would happen by removing the seals? Justified, however since she was manipulated by the watchers all along.
  • Moral Event Horizon: You'll be calling for Gismor's blood when you see him use Eris as a human shield and force Nowe to run her through.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Nowe for Caim. Even most of Nowe's fans feel replacing Caim with him was a bad idea. Like most things in Drakengard, Caim turned most of the standard video game protagonist tropes on their head. His Axe-Crazy, almost heartless nature deconstructs and satirizes most players' tendencies to just grind levels in RPGs by mindlessly killing enemies and how players often overlook some morally ambiguous things they do. Nowe, on the other hand, is just a standard JRPG protagonist and is really out of place in the crapsack nature of the world, Lighter and Softer sequel notwithstanding.
  • That One Boss: Yaha and his gnomes. When they aren't a whole lot of noisy gnomes attacking Nowe en masse, the floor randomly lights up with circles that produce highly damaging stalagmites. And once that's over, there's the giant gnome/rock monster thing itself... with a tendency for overly powerful attacks, including one that is nearly impossible to dodge. Rinse and repeat until you kill it. Ugh.
    • Gismor also qualifies. Instead of staying within weapon-range like a nice evil entity, he either jumps around the four platforms that you cannot reach because they are about three feet away from the edges of the cross-shaped walkway that you can stay on, even though your party members can jump about twice their height, or stands at one of the four arms of the walkway and shoots lasers at you that you have to move in a specific pattern to avoid being killed by. While on the platforms, he fires magical energy balls at you that, if you manage to break them, give you a magical boost, but are about as easy to hit as Fire Keese. And you need magic, because you have to hit him with magic to get him to move to the walkway
    • The Bone Casket, a gimmick boss fight overflowing with Fake Difficulty.