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Video Game / Drakengard 3

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This is the story of six sisters, in a world protected by the power of song.
But one of these sisters seeks to bring about the world's ruin.
And she won't rest until all the others are dead.

The third game in the Drakengard series, released in Japan on December 19, 2013. Along with the supplementary manga called Drag-On Dragoon: Shi ni Itaru Aka, it is a prequel to the first game.

Two years ago, the world was saved from the chaos of war by the appearance of the Intoners: five celestial sisters who used their incredible magical powers to unite the world and place it under their benign rule.

Peace would reign until Zero, an Intoner and elder sister to the five, suddenly embarks on a quest to murder her siblings so that she will be the only one left with their unique powers. Joined by a young and idealistic dragon named Mikhail, Zero aims to slay her sisters and claim their Disciples (male concubines) for herself. Like its predecessors, it features Multiple Endings, Hack and Slash action mixed with RPG Elements, and aerial missions.

And lots of blood.

Developed by Access Games, the game was directed by Yoko Taro and most of the team behind the original game. Consequently, the game's atmosphere is closer to the first game and NieR rather than Drakengard 2. While the game is still very bleak, it tries to lift the mood with comedic scenes and sexual innuendo.

The western version was released in May 2014.

Drakengard 3 provides examples of:

  • Alternate Universe: Each New Game Plus is actually Accord's attempt to exploit Zero's unique nature to find different timelines. Furthermore, even Ending A actually leads into an alternate universe of Drakengard, as opposed to the original Drakengard.
    • Since none of Drakengard 3's endings lead directly to Drakengard 1, a novelization of the game, supervised by Taro Yoko himself, was produced, called Drag-On Dragoon 3 Story Side. Its entire purpose is to create a fifth ending, directly leading to the events of the first game, and explain the origins of the Cult of Watchers, the Pacts and the Seal system which would be used in the future games. In practice, the new ending looks like a mix of endings B and D.
    • The game's A branch (and thus the Shi Ni Itaru Aka manga) results in a "Drakengard 1.3". Among the changes are: no pacts, Caim dying far sooner, Legna gathering a dragon army, etc. In short, Male One's actions derail many things.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Zero and the rest of the Intoners. If left unchecked, the Flower within them will bloom and mutate them into Grotesquerie Queens.
  • Asshole Victim: Utahime Five reveals the Lords were every bit as corrupt and decadent as the sisters say they are. Even with the eventual madness of the Intoners' song and decadence of Three, Four and Five, the countries were being led better than they had when the Lords ruled.
  • Author Avatar: The narrator, whose role mirrors that of the player: she is a Recorder from "The Old World" tasked with observing the events surrounding Zero and finding a timeline that does not end in disaster. The Accord gynoids in general are stand-ins for every human from The Old World (including other players and the staff who worked on the game), implying that it is their collective duty to safeguard the future of the Drakengard universe. An Accord representing the director gives a final thank you to the player at the end of Branch D.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: In contrast to the rest of the soundtrack, the boss music for the Intoners bust out the electric guitars.
  • Battle Harem: Zero forms a somewhat rare gender-inverted version of this trope over the course of the game: claiming the disciples of her fallen sisters as her own servants in order to have them fight for and sexually service her.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Octa constantly talks about his immense pride in the size of his member through various Ununsual Euphemisms. Late into the game, Zero actually calls him out on thinking like this, and all but states that his actual technique in bed leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Branch B ends with Zero and Mikhail both alive, but the Flower still exists. At the end of Branch D, history is shunted onto a path where the Crapsack World of Drakengard, Drakengard 2, and Nier never occurs, but Mikhail is left alone to live out the rest of his multi-millennium life witnessing the rise and inevitable fall of civilisation. Yet even though the world is destined to crumble, this is infinitely preferable to allowing the Grotesquerie Queens a foothold in reality.
  • Black Comedy: Even in dark moments, the sheer excessiveness of the gore tends to be played up for laughs. Outside of the violence, the characters are prone to making rather bleak jokes.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Blood and gore are all over the place here, with almost every single major character dying in a violent fashion multiple times due to the multiple route structure of the game.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Zero's pure white outfit naturally gets drenched in the blood of her enemies as she progresses through each stage.
  • Blood Is the New Black: Zero casually runs around covered in the blood and guts of fallen mooks (as well as her own blood), which is actually a game mechanic. As Zero accumulates more and more blood on her outfit, the Intoner Mode gauge fills. Once full, Zero can activate Intoner Mode for a brief increase in attack speed and power. Afterwards, her outfit is clean and free of blood.
  • Body Horror: The flower growing out of Zero's eye.
  • Bookends: Done with Zero's first and last missions with Mikhail.
Mikhail: So why don't you call me Mikhail, huh? Y'know, instead of "dummy" or "Hey, you" or... whatever?
Zero: You need to be a full-fledged dragon before I use your name.
And before the final boss...
Zero: You've grown strong... Mikhail.
Mikhail: [crying] Zero... Zero you big dummy.
  • Boss Banter: a la Kid Icarus: Uprising; Zero automatically engages in conversation with Mikhail and the enemies during battle, even her sisters.
  • Bowdlerise: Quite strange since the localized script didn’t shy away from many sexual themes, undertones, overtones, implications and etc; yet things did end up getting cut or made it all too subtle in certain parts:
    • In the Japanese script, Octa comments offhandedly that he had sex with a horse once, praising his member to be able to satisfy a mare just fine. In the English script, while Octa is also rife with comments about his grand member and how greatly it performs, there’s no mention of bestiality.
    • In Five’s DLC chapter, during an intermission where she checks on her Assets, when Five checks on her food provisions she tells Dito to eat well so that his semen tastes better that night. The English script has Five telling Dito to eat well so he is energetic for that night; while the sexual tone is still there, the Japanese script is much more kinky on the take.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the very end of The Stinger for Ending D, the final Accord clone thanks the player for playing and shuts off the screen.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Playing through all the DLC stages will net you around three million gold (still not enough to fully upgrade all weapons, but will do a big chunk of them) and several upgrade materials, and they can then be replayed with Gold Soldiers in them.
  • Call-Forward: One makes a subtle nod to Nier in path C.
    "Intoners offer only pestilence to this world. Someday, they will be the disease that brings ruin to all human life."
  • Censored for Comedy: The scene of Zero brutally impaling Five repeatedly is censored by an image that humorously reads "This content has been deemed inappropriate for pretty much everyone. Please stand by.", accompanied Mood Whiplash-inducing Waddling Head artwork of them (provided by Taro's wife Yoko Yukiko of Taiko no Tatsujin fame). Hilariously, the sounds of Zero's blade stabbing Five's body are still audible as Five's voice slowly peters out, and after the "censor" goes away the game shows Zero standing in front of Five's mutilated corpse.
  • Creepy Doll: Three's Almisael puppets that look like really disturbing babies and bear a resemblance to the Watchers. She uses her soldiers to make them.
  • Cult: The Cult of the Watchers origins is revealed through the story and novels. It was created by Brother One to honor his sister One, Gabriel, and Gabriella.
  • Darker and Edgier: When contrasted with the second game, which was Lighter and Softer due to pressure put on by Square-Enix and the absence of series guru Taro Yoko. He returned to direct this game, and it shows.
  • Denser and Wackier: Despite this, however, the game has noticeably more slapstick and comedic scenes and dialogue than the rest of the series, likely in order to balance out the darker moments of the game.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Chakrams have insane range and crowd-clearing potential, but all of their power is contained within their charge-combos, which require precise button presses to execute. If you attempt to button-mash (like the other three weapon types) then your chakram will just be a big, clunky, impotent ring.
    • Parrying. When done right, it not only blocks the attack used on you for free and without any knockback, but it also puts the enemy in a brief stunned state and negates any pushback you would've taken from the attack. In exchange for being so good, it's only active for a few frames before it turns into a regular block.
  • Downer Ending: Ending A, which leads to a worse Crapsack World than Drakengard (cf. Alternate Universe above). Ending C, which leads to Zero turning into the Grotesquerie Queen and killing all of humanity.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • In the form of Cameo costumes (Caim and Furiae from Drakengard, Manah and Eris from Drakengard 2, and Brother Nier and Kaine from Nier) and a bonus story scenario. There's also DLC set before the game in which you play as the other Intoners, including one dealing with Zero and Michael.
    • Additional DLC includes battlefield arrangements of songs from earlier titles such as Seere's Prayer and Tsukiru/Growing Wings from Drakengard, Song of the Ancients and Emil from Nier, and the trailer song "This Silence is Mine".
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Of a sort, as this is the first game in the series to translate the term Angel accurately, instead of as Watcher, obfuscating a significant link with the rest of the series.
  • Dwindling Party: In Branch D, where Dito betrays the party and Cent, Decadus, Octa, and eventually Zero herself each perform a Heroic Sacrifice to allow the remaining members of the group to progress.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: You have to go through four routes and beat a redux of Drakengard 1's That One Boss, but the upshot is that history is shunted onto a path where the Crapsack World of Drakengard, Drakengard 2, and Nier never occur. Only in this series is an ending where everyone is dead a happy ending.
  • Enemy Chatter: The enemies are always screaming in fear of Zero as she cuts her way through them. Unfortunately, enemy chatter can play while Zero is talking to her allies; This results in some chatter being missed.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The crates that contain items have the word "item" stamped on the side.
  • Equivalent Exchange:
    • Zero makes a cryptic comment in Route B that a price is needed for the flower in her eye to bloom. She later pays it to revive Mikhail, but the audio is muted so we don't get to hear it.
    • Summon Magic in general seems to work this way. One of the Weapon Tales theorises that transformation magic works not by transforming the caster, but by exchanging the body of the caster with the body of the Angel. Summon Magic therefore requires something to fill the gap, which is why the Disciples need the reality-warping powers of their Intoner's song.
  • Expy: Invoked with Zero's sisters according their designer Kimihiko Fujisaka, Taro Yoko requested her to "think Puella Magi Madoka Magica" when designing them.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Of all people, Zero's sisters, the Intoners. As suggested in game and depicted outright in the Utahime Five prequel manga, they all used to be good people, though still with some degree of their failings — e.g., Five was always overly sexual even at an age when the rest of the Intoners weren't, Three was lethargic and sleepy, etc. — by the time of the game proper, only Two and One are still remotely good people, Two is a broken shell because of it, and in later routes they all succumb to the Flower, exactly what Zero feared.
  • Faceless Mooks: The armored soldiers that make up the Intoners armies have no distinguishing personal features.
  • False Utopia: At first glance, the world is not perfect, but it is peaceful enough for an After the End setting. Unfortunately, the "peace" is stitched together through the power of the Intoners' songs, which incite blind love and loyalty to the singer. Without the songs, the inhabitants quickly begin to suffer withdrawal and descend into madness.
  • Fission Mailed: In Chapter 2, Zero and Dito are crushed by an avalanche and a "The End" screen appears, before Zero forces her way back onto the screen.
    Zero: I'll say when it ends.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Assuming you count Mikhail and Michael as two separate characters, then the named cast consists of seven women (Zero, One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Accord) and seven men (Mikhail, Michael, Cent, Octa, Decadus, Dito and One's male clone).
  • Genre Shift:
    • The first part of the Armaros boss fight plays like a Rail Shooter. Justified, since Four's magic is forcing Mikhail to follow a specific path.
    • The game itself compared to the first two games, since it abandons the musou elements and becomes a straightforward character action game. You also can only dragonride in certain parts instead of at will.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All: Zero's goal is to hunt down and kill the other Intoners.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: The Intoners (sans Zero) were originally nothing more than mindless clones created solely to defend the Flower from being destroyed. However, over time, they gained their own personalities and (as Zero bitterly notes) ironically decided to fight for world peace.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The entire game is essentially one giant Heroic Sacrifice on the part of Zero in order to prevent the Flower parasite from mutating her into a Grotesquerie Queen and dooming the world. On the individual routes, Mikhail exchanges his life to save Zero in Branch A; Zero returns the favour in Branch B; and in Branch D, Cent, Decadus, Octa, Accord, and Zero give their lives to ensure the survival of their friends.
  • Hero's Slave Harem: This trope gradually manifests in the form of Zero and her male Battle Harem, consisting of Dito, Decadus, Octa, and Cent. Prior to the main events of the game, the latter group existed to serve as bodyguards and concubines for the Intoners, a group of six goddesses with the power of Magic Music of which Zero is the eldest. As Zero kills her sisters in her plan to become the only living Intoner in existence, she recruits each sister's respective Disciple, all of whom who pledge their loyalty to her.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Every time someone gets stabbed. Which is often.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The game contains a lot more sexual commentary than anything else in the series, to the point it was deemed a Cero D in Japan.
    • The Intoners are very sexually active and keep Disciples around to serve their needs.
    • Octa always talks in innuendos and euphemisms.
    • Five is sexually aroused by pretty much anything.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to numerous characters throughout the different routes. Of note is route B, where a crazy Two impales One on a ginormous spike.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • A subversion. Zero and her team can't be bothered to remember "Mount Bernstein of the Vice Norden", so instead begin referring to it as "Mt. Whatever." Accord lampshades this during a narration and the next level is called "Mt. Whatever."
    • During the aforementioned level, Dito calls Zero out, telling her the mountain has a name. Zero asks him what it is, to which he replies "Mt. Bern-something." They begin referring to it as such.
    • In Zero's DLC chapter, Michael can't seem to recall the mountain's name with any accuracy either.
  • Kaizo Trap: There's one at the very end of the game. So you thought that you had beaten the True Final Boss just because the screen had faded to black and the music had stopped? Nope! There is one last note that you have to hit at the start of Mikhail's second sentence.
    • The timing of this note is technically on beat with the only instrument left playing at that point, but most people play it based on Zero's sentence and Mikhail's corresponding reply because it's extremely hard to even realize the song is in fact, still playing. Still, it's appropriate that the core of the flower making the notes would have a conversation that would give a reply not just from Mikhail, but from the player, too.
  • Karmic Death: A few crop up, but perhaps the most notable is Four's in the Ending A path. Zero chases her while she flees on an airship, Four begs her to stop and tries to make peace… Sounds really harsh, but it's also exactly what Four herself did to a bunch of elves in her DLC. For bonus points, Zero kills her by faking kindness, and Four's entire personality revolves around how she feigns sweetness but is really a huge ball of hatred.
  • Killer Rabbit: That pretty flower in Zero's eye? Actually an Eldritch Abomination parasite and the source of all misery in the game.
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere: It is stated that to kill an Intoner, it has to be done by a dragon or with a weapon made of dragon materials. Given all the characters who are shown killing Intoners in cutscenes in the various branches, just about everyone has a weapon that fits the bill.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Zero and Dito call out the repetitiveness of the game locking you in an area and tasking you with clearing out the enemies in it. Additionally, the whole game points out how annoying platforming can be, with Zero hating it so much that she actually wants to destroy whatever location has it.
  • Lighter and Softer: At least compared to the first game and NieR. As mentioned above, this game has noticeably more slapstick and comedic scenes and dialogue to balance out the dark moments and even manages to pull off happy ending of a sort in Route D.
  • Meta Twist: Meta-wise, generally playing games on a New Game Plus in the Drakengard setting (or at least the games headed by Taro Yoko) actually makes things worse. However, not only is the first ending a straight-up downer (a feat not matched by any other title in the series so far), playing all the way to the final ending will lead to a timeline that outright averts the tragedies of the other Drakengard titles and Nier.
  • Magic Music: The Intoners use singing as a focus for their magic.
  • Meaningful Rename: "Zero" is not the original name of the main character. It's "Rose", and she renamed herself after being resurrected by The Flower (as she no longer considered herself to be alive).
  • Monochrome Past: One entire level in Branch D plays this trope straight.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four endings, but you must go through the first three endings before unlocking the fourth one.
    • Branch A - Mikhail sacrifices himself to weaken Gabriel and One enough for Zero to kill. However, Zero is ambushed and killed by One's brother, as a failsafe should One fall. When he realizes that Zero always intended to die anyway, he is at a loss on what to do next, which leads to him creating the Cult of the Watchers and creates a much worse timeline leading to Drakengard 1.
    • Branch B - Mikhail dies from overexposure to Raphael's poison, causing a distraught Zero to use the Flower's power to form a pact with Mikhail and bring him back to life. Mikhail awakens with the Flower in his right eye, and is seemingly called by a younger Zero.
    • Branch C - Things were already in deep shit at this point, and Mikhail and Gabriel's Mutual Kill against each other causes both Zero and One to completely flip out. Zero kills One, but with Mikhail dead, there is no one left who can kill Zero to stop the Flower's full bloom. It is all but stated that Zero becomes the Grostesquerie Queen and destroys the whole world.
    • Branch D - Unlocked after going through Branches A, B, and C, as well as completing the Lost Verses. With some intervention from Accord, Zero is finally able to reclaim her Intoner powers with Mikhail still alive and well. Zero transforms into the Grotesquerie Queen, but Mikhail is able to destroy her and eliminate the Flower's influence in the world, preventing Drakengard and Nier from happening.
  • My Girl Is a Slut:
    • Intoners embody lust, so yeah. Zero offhandedly mentions that she has slept with all of the Disciples with her at some point, although she pointedly says that she has never slept and will not sleep with Mikhail, owing to the fact that he rolls around in his sleep (and since she raised him, it would be a bit like Parental Incest). No mention if she ever has with Michael, however.
    • Four most pointedly isn't, which confuses the hell out of everyone and makes Zero declare that she doesn't trust virgins. Zero's intuition is right on the money: Four is just as lustful as the others, but forces herself to act otherwise to appear "better" than her sisters.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: We have the Intoner sisters Zero to Five, and the disciples as well (Cent, Octa, Decadus and Ditto).
  • Overly Long Gag: Octa's request to join Zero's group is met with awkward silence from Zero's part. For roughly a minute.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Zero complains that her period has come early talking with Decadus at the start of Branch B.
  • Paradox Person: The Intoners, who alone have the power to wield tremendous magic through song due to the influence of the Flower.
  • Rage Against the Author: The game opens with Zero killing the narrator.
  • Reality Warper: The Intoners. This is due to the Flower, and the reason their mere existence is dangerous.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Decadus sacrificing himself to summon his Angel against the fight with Ezrael in Branch D. Doubles with Gameplay and Story Segregation, since the entire reason behind the sacrifice doesn't actually apply to the fight.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The six Intoners, when seen together, are a visual reference to Sailor Moon, with One resembling Sailor Moon, Two resembling Sailor Mercury, Three resembling Sailor Mars, Four resembling Sailor Jupiter, Five resembling Sailor Venus, and Zero resembling Queen Serenity.
    • At the end of Branch D, one of the many Accords says "it's a secret to everybody".
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Spears. They have very short combos, but the lengthy recovery animation can be dash canceled out of and are the only weapon that breaks through shields.
  • Slapstick: The intoners suffer just as much gory slapstick as the men due and, due to their importance, tend to be subjected to the most over-the-top injuries of the cast.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Certain words are "beeped" out for comedic effect.
  • Sociopathic Hero: the game introduces Zero as a bloodthirsty berserker who wishes to kill all her sisters, which is a nod on how unhinged the player character was in Drakengard 1. Except this time, Zero is actually attempting an elaborate Heroic Sacrifice to save the world from the threat of the Flower parasite dwelling within her and the five Intoners, and her justification for Murder Is the Best Solution is that once the head (Intoner) is sliced off, the rest of the body (every single worshipper) goes insane with suffering. Not that she isn't less of a psychopath normally.
  • Summon Magic: The Disciples can summon Angels on behalf of their Intoner. If they do so without the aid of their Intoner's song, then they must pay a price: losing their human form.
  • Take That!: In One's Prologue, she says that anyone who would have sex with their sibling would have to be "some kind of crazed maniac." An obvious shot towards Furiae, who infamously held incestuous feelings towards Caim.
  • Talk to the Fist: Rather than putting up with the fairies' taunts and insults, Zero just punches them and moves on.
  • There Can Be Only One: In the true spirit of Highlander, every time an Intoner dies, their power is redistributed amongst the surviving Intoners. This handily explains why the Intoners function on a standard Sorting Algorithm of Evil and how Zero intends to gather all their power for herself.
    • Zero initially tells Mikhail that she wants to be the only Intoner, hence her violent mission. This is a half-truth, as she wants Mikhail to kill her after she is the only one left — after all, it would be much easier to kill one Intoner than six.
  • This Was His True Form: The Disciples were originally doves.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Everything that happens after the first branch involves this to some degree. Disciples are working with Zero before their intoners are killed, and none of the changed scenes fit anywhere into the timeline of the first Branch, not to mention that in B and C, Cent has had his memories of Two wiped. In short, the timeline is completely out of whack. This is quickly revealed to be the work of the Accord Recorders, who are manipulating the timeline to get a decent ending.
  • Toilet Humor: Comes up a few times with Mikhail, such as when he wets himself like an infant.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Branch D reveals that the final form of the Flower parasite (after it has completely assimilated the host) is a Grotesquerie Queen, the Eldritch Abomination Big Bads of the Drakengard universe.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Remember the incredibly difficult rhythm game in the first game's final ending? It returns as Drakengard 3's True Final Boss. It manages to be much worse due to a combination of crazy camera hijinks and manic tempo changes: its only saving grace is that you only need to use a single button to block the waves instead of 2 from the original and unlike the first, the game is actually rhythm based. If you can handle a 4/4 time signature, it's simple enough to do, if long. That, of course, is ignoring the last note.
    • The flying segments are not as free-form as in the first two games, instead playing out like a 3D Shoot 'Em Up or an on-rails shooter like Panzer Dragoon.
  • Variable Mix: All the battlefield music in the game get an extra layer of percussion and vocals when Zero activates Intoner Mode.
  • The Virus: The Flower, a parasite that slowly mutates its host into a Grotesquerie Queen.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Route C, to show how abundantly clear it is that Zero has no time whatsoever left before she becomes a monster.
  • We Have Reserves: The Accord series of gynoids, one of which picks up the assets of the Accord you know after the latter is killed.
  • A Wizard Did It:
    • Discussed when the party wonders what's powering the platforms in Two's dungeon. To paraphrase:
      Dito: "Just what is powering these things anyway?
      Zero: "It's magic, isn't it? Weird shit like this always gets written off as magic."
    • She does it again in the next verse, in response to the magically enhanced sunlight that drains your health whenever you're in direct contact.
      Zero: "Here we go with magic again. It's so fucking convenient."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The fact that Zero carves through armies of human soldiers and deliberately aims to leave no survivors (even refusing surrender) is not lost on the various parties in-game. She has a warped point when you realise that anyone who has been enthralled by the song of an Intoner is guaranteed to fall into withdrawal and insanity once it is gone.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: In the third level of Three's Prologue DLC, Gabriella wonders what the hell all this Round 1 bullshit is.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Intoners risk losing their minds if they attempt to use their magic without sufficient willpower. Long story short, it's because their "magic" draws power from alternate universes.


Video Example(s):


Elven Genocide

Intoner Four succeeded in finishing off the fleeing "Evil" elf soldiers, after exterminating most of the "Evil" elven race, all with a gleeful smile...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (23 votes)

Example of:

Main / KnightTemplar

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