The wait is over! Panzer Dragoon: Remake got a surprise launch on Nintendo Switch, so be sure to check out our Panzer Dragoon: Remake review to learn more about this cult classic!
I’ve been looking forward to playing Panzer Dragoon: Remake from Forever Entertainment, TA Publishing, and MegaPixel Studios on Nintendo Switch since back when it was revealed, and after getting a surprise release right after the latest Nintendo Mini Direct, I’m here to report that the remake is definitely one that you should check out… but you should be aware that depending on your expectations for what Panzer Dragoon: Remake should be, your mileage may vary. This is one of those “love it or hate it” scenarios, so read on to find out why this is the case!
Panzer Dragoon was originally released on the Sega Saturn back in 1995. The story places players in the shoes of Keil Fluge, who is part of a group of hunters who are out on the desert trying to make ends meet. He is witness to a fight between a blue dragon and a dark dragon. The rider of the blue dragon is mortally wounded, so he entrusts his mission and Solo Wing – his dragon – to Keil, who must do whatever it takes to stop the black dragon from activating the ancient ruin that will bring chaos to the world.
Your adventure will be a short one, and it will take you across seven levels – called episodes – each with a very distinct look, with revamped graphics that change how the game looks and feels on Nintendo Switch when compared to the original on the Sega Saturn. For comparison’s sake, here’s a video of the original version of Panzer Dragoon running on the Sega Saturn so that you can see how much things have changed by looking at the trailer and the screens in this Panzer Dragoon: Remake review.
The quickest way to sum up Panzer Dragoon for Nintendo fans who might have never heard about the game is Star Fox, but with enemies attacking from all around you. Because of this, you’ll need to not only keep your eyes focused on what is going on in front of you but also to your left, right, and behind your dragon. To make this work, Panzer Dragoon: Remake features a radar you need to use at all times to see from where enemies are approaching you so that you can use this info to change your view as needed.
For Panzer Dragoon: Remake, you can select between the Classic controller setup and the Modern one. For Classic, you’ll be moving with the left analog stick, which will also be used for aiming by pushing in on the stick – or you can use the left and right directions on the D-Pad for aiming. You can rotate the camera left and right with the L and R buttons, respectively, firing your weapon with the B button. You’ll also be able to zoom in and out with the right analog stick. As for the Modern setup, you’ll be moving with the left analog stick, aiming with the right one, and shooting with the ZL or ZR buttons. The L and R buttons will still be used for rotating the camera, and zooming in and out is moved to the up and down directions on the D-Pad. When you hold down the attack button, you can move the aiming reticle over enemies to mark them for a homing attack that will hit its target without issues.
If you never got a chance to play Panzer Dragoon during its original release on the Sega Saturn, then you might want to take on Panzer Dragoon: Remake on the Easy difficulty setting, so that you can get the hang of things before you take on new runs at a higher difficulty. The game’s controls and gameplay mechanics will click for you once you’ve taken on a level or two since the game won’t throw at you enemies from multiple directions at all times. Having to control your dragon and the aiming reticle as you keep an eye on the radar and the action in front of you is something that could overwhelm some players.
For every level that you complete in Panzer Dragoon: Remake, you will be rewarded with one extra credit, which will allow you to continue from the last level you reached when you’re defeated so that you don’t lose a lot of progress. You might end up dying at least once around levels 3 or 4, but as long as you pay attention to what was going on during each stage and learn from your mistakes, you shouldn’t have any issues making it to the final stage with at least an extra credit or two left in your count.
As TA Publishing mentioned in our interview, a pair of patches were being worked on to continue to improve and expand on what Panzer Dragoon: Remake has to offer on the Nintendo Switch. The first of these patches is now live, and it introduced an additional OST by Saori Kobayashi, some reworking on the main SFX for the game, updated cutscenes, some fixes for stats and save data, new indicators for when an enemy is immune to attacks, and HP adjustments for balancing the gameplay. The second patch is still in the works and will be making some other improvements to the game based on the feedback of players.
The game has a separate Stats section where you can review how many times you’ve started the game in each of the three difficulty settings – Easy, Normal, and Hard -, how many times you’ve finished the game in total – also separated into Easy, Normal, and Hard runs -, the total time spent in the game, how many normal shots you’ve fired, how many special shots you’ve fired, your overall accuracy percentage, the number of enemies destroyed, the number of bosses you’ve destroyed, and how many times you’ve been defeated.
Panzer Dragoon: Remake set out to give us a revamped and improved take on the classic, and on that front, it certainly delivers. This can be easily seen right from the initial story cutscene and can be experienced in every single stage in the game. You can use the game’s Photo Mode to take pictures of what you’re experiencing in the game, changing the perspective, and applying filters to change the overall image. The one complaint I have for the game is that the loading times before starting each of the levels are a bit long, so I hope that the team is looking into improving them with the next patch. I had fun with Panzer Dragoon: Remake on Nintendo Switch, and I look forward to seeing how the team tackles the remake of its sequel. Panzer Dragoon: Remake is out first as a Nintendo Switch console timed exclusive, and is available for $24.99.
This Panzer Dragoon: Remake review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Forever Entertainment.