20
Jun
unnamed

If you have $15 to spare and a love of serious RPG's, Square Enix has your number. Drakerider has just arrived in Google Play, and this isn't a port of a console game. It's a new experience designed specifically for touchscreens.

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In Drakerider you ride around on a dragon completing tasks and doing battle. The fighting system is a little different than most RPGs. You keep control of your dragon mount with the reins when you need more control, but ease up to allow it to attack enemies. However, going too far will cause the dragon to turn against you. Being an RPG, there is also a leveling system to improve your dragon's abilities.

Drakerider doesn't come cheap, but Square Enix games are a rather niche experience. Not everyone will want to play such an in-depth RPG on a mobile device. It sure does look neat, though.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • skitchbeatz

    I love me some square enix games... but $18? C'mon son.

    • jonathan3579

      It says $14.73 for me.

  • BoB1673

    18.03 you flipping crazy

  • Alvin Lim

    Played this on the ipad. Not really that great of a game.

    • Matthew Fry

      Good to know. Chaos Rings was fun for about 2 hours until I realized I was *supposed* to play the game over and over again to get all the story. No thanks. I'll stick with Final Fantasy Dimensions (which is great btw).

      • Kashmieer

        Same as Demons Score.

      • DaveTexan

        Agree that's the biggest drawback of the CR1 design. It gets quite tedious but I still played through 4 times as the story is interesting enough for me to tolerate it. Chaos Rings Omega found a fix for this issue.

        • Matthew Fry

          And that was? I thought Omega did the exact same thing.

          • DaveTexan

            No. The story has been streamlined to 1 single story(but slightly longer) for the mainline instead of 4 individual ones. Some parts are quite funny, too. I feel Omega is very similar to CR1 in gameplay only that it's like CR1 enhanced edition with a different story.

  • Bertel King, Jr.

    Give it a bit. It'll go on sale.

  • Sean Lumly

    I think that these higher prices are a good thing, a very good thing, if we are to see big-budget games find their way to mobile.

    Two days ago the Snapdragon S800 benchmarks were revealed and showed the Adreno 330 performance to be almost exactly the same as the Nvidia GeForce 8500GT. This means that the GPU should be capable of playing Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, Assassins Creed 3, Skyrim, Starcraft 2, and more at low settings. Let that sink in for a moment: the latest mobile processor should actually be capable of playing not-too-old PC/console games.

    And next year, the performance should actually surpass that of last-gen consoles, the PS3 and the XB360. That means that most contemporary titles will be able to be ported in one form or another for mobile. This includes Bungie's upcoming and much anticipated Destiny, which is destined for last-gen consoles as well as the latest-gen.

    What's making porting even more likely is that popular development environments: Unity and Unreal Engine export to mobiles as well as desktops. I have seen the impressive Unreal Engine 'elemental' demo running on mobile.

    The problem is not in the capabilities of mobile GPUs, they are strong enough for compelling graphical experiences. The problem is the investment in development is still primarily centred around casual pick-up-and-throw-away games for $5 and under. With a market forming around prices from $15 to $25, I speculate that we will see bigger budget titles make their way onto mobile, or larger ports of relatively young releases. But I doubt that we would see this type of significant investment if people expect to pay a maximum of $5.

    • DaveTexan

      I like mobile games but the hardware may not be able to support demanding games like The Witcher 2 or Skyrim. 8500GT is very weak. Even if the games could run the experience may not be very enjoyable. That is said Square Enix is really great in creating mobile games that look great but do not require high-end GPUs. The drawback of high-end GPUs is low battery life. There's no way around it.

      • Sean Lumly

        Indeed, but there are 3 counter points. The first is that mobile GPU performance is still improving, and will be significantly better next year. The second is that, it's not necessarily about being able to play PC ports, rather it's about being able to play much more sophisticated games. The third is that you're assuming that a mobile GPU must be battery powered. This is certainly not the case with wired Android consoles like OUYA or MOJO. These systems will likely retail for $99 this year, and could do so next year. $99 for the performance of XB360/PS3 is a compelling offer...

        • Mave

          You are obviously not a programmer. Hardware can get 100 times faster at the same time software gets 10000 times more difficult to port, rewrite, or even write from scratch. OpenGLES is full of design flaws that make it not reverse-compatible with OpenGL. Many of the needless changes for OpenGLES were done only to sell new hardware...

          • Sean Lumly

            Hahaha.... It's funny that you mention it, because that's precisely what I am! Ironically I am (just) beginning research in real-time graphics.

            Anyway, you should take a look at OpenGL ES 3.0 which brings much appreciated features to the API and should significantly ease desktop porting. As a side note, the Adreno 3x0 are GLES30 ready.

    • GraveUypo

      you won't be seeing direct ports of current games EVER on mobile. if there are ports, they will always be for games one or two generations behind.

      and it's a stretch to say it's the same as a 8500GT. it's not. it's still only barely faster than the HD2400M on my old laptop (which can be overclocked by 40% and be faster than the adreno 330 again). i'll give you it's able to run some "xbox 360-level" games on low settings, that laptop actually ran the original GRID @ 50fps on low setting in a qHD (960x540) resolution, but uh, apart from the android console part, other mobiles would have to run it at a much higher resolution (since for some stupid reason devs almost always decide not to include graphics settings on their games), and that would no longer be playable.

      • Sean Lumly

        Then you and I have a fundamentally different prediction for the future of mobile GPUs and gaming. As it stands, there are zero technically-insurmountable obstacles to creating a game today that would run in 'ultra-low' for a mobile, and certainly no games that I have seen whose gameplay would be fundamentally impossible with the simpler graphics on mobile.

        I would be careful about using the word 'ever' quite so loosely. Technology continues to tend smaller, faster, and higher capacity, and this is a trend that shows little evidence of stopping. Just this year Razor released a very thin tablet (Razor Edge Pro) with a notebook GPU (plus an integrated GPU). A tablet form-factor capable of playing the latest PC games would have been considered 'impossible' just a few years ago.

        • GraveUypo

          not using anything loosely.
          something that dissipates 1w will never be able to compare to something with the same level of technology that can go as high as 125w (or more). it's that simple. mobile performance will never "catch up" to desktop pcs. it will just follow from a distance, forever. want to close the gap a bit? give up some portability, battery life and be prepared to add some weight. there's no other way.

          • Sean Lumly

            Red herring? The argument was never that a mobile GPU would match a PC in terms of power -- this is a red herring rebuttal. The argument was that there is nothing fundamentally preventing games sharing a code-base to run on both PC and mobile albeit at different settings. Hey, we've seen it with PCs and consoles, and mobiles are quickly approaching console-level performance. Why would this be impossible?

            And please name me a PC game that would be impossible to implement on mobile at lower graphical settings... Your second argument also assumes that a mobile 'port' must also run the same AI as its PC counterpart. Why would this have to be the case?

          • GraveUypo

            any mainstream (non-indie) game that came after 2006 wouldn't run on remotely acceptable speeds on an arm tablet / phone. it's that simple.

            it's one thing to render a static scene from a game, like that bf3 scene running on tegra 5, it's a whole other ball game to actually run gameplay with all the physics, particle effects, ai calculations, net predictions, animation and whatelse in full effect.

            mobile games WERE catching up to the 2006 gen consoles. well guess what, this year a new generation starts and it'll take another good 6~8 years for mobile SOCs to get the gap as close as it is now again (read: two or so years behind the consoles). and by then a new generation of consoles will come out again.

            mobile socs will always be 8 to 10 years behind a high end desktop computer. for them to be able to run those games in a "low setting" (like current consoles do), they would need to be at most 6 years behind.

            in the end, making a proper system-specific game will be a better bet for mobile, like it is now. if you take into account the shortcomings of mobile socs, you can make a very good looking game that one could actually mistake for a console game in terms of graphical fidelity, while a port in "low settings" will always look, run and play shitty.

          • Sean Lumly

            "any mainstream (non-indie) game that came after 2006 wouldn't run on remotely acceptable speeds on an arm tablet / phone. it's that simple."

            Not even Bungie's Destiny? The game destined for PS3 and XB360 in 2014, as well as PS4, XB1, and likely PC thereafter? This is especially significant noting that mobile graphics (aka the GPU in your phone) will actually computationally exceed PS3/XB1 in late 2014. Surely, some fashion of the game would be at the very least POSSIBLE on technically stronger hardware.

            It should be noted that mobile graphics are at a memory bandwidth disadvantage, which will limit resolution, geometry, and textures for more complex games. However, it does not imply that they cannot run at all, or even run well at lower 'settings'.

            But this is getting old. Your keep arguing that PCs will always be more powerful than mobile. I'm not contesting that at all. What I am saying (and have been saying since the beginning) is that high-performance games can have low-performance counterparts that more-or-less play the same, and are produced using a common development environment. This isn't prophecy, it's done all the time.

            But I respect your opinion, and would rather end the conversation here.

          • GraveUypo

            it's not that simple to port a game from a console to a completely different platform. differences in API, system overhead (android has TONS of it and consoles have ZERO), and a bunch of other things like the fact that there are tons of different makes with completely different approaches to rendering that you'd have to optimize the code for, all that would get in the way. in the end even if performance was no issue (which it is), it would still probably not happen.

            and the biggest factor would for sure be cash. it would be expensive as fuck to port something like that for android, and the returns would be pathetic because i don't think many would be willing to spend $60 on a mobile game.

            still, i'm game for calling stops on this. i get your point, you get mine, there's nowhere to go from here.

    • Primalxconvoy

      I'll only pay higher prices when hardware gaming controls are supported unanimously by devs and hardware manufacturers. Until then, Android gaming is ac technical deep at best for me.

      • Sean Lumly

        I don't think we'll see unanimous hardware-controls (especially on older games that may not see updates), but hopefully many more games that support controllers, especially the big-budget games that more serious gamers care about. Certainly that seems to be the trend, though these are early days yet.

        • Primalxconvoy

          That is what I meant, although I think Android needs to be even more controller friendly at an os level, too. After all, it's fully mouse controlled right now.

  • DaveTexan

    Why does it say this? There are five chapters in total, the first two of which may be enjoyed free of charge! So why not delve into an originally and finely crafted RPG adventure?
    So is the price of 14.73 only includes the first two chapters or does it include the whole thing? On iTunes the game is a free download with additional charges for contents beyond chapter 1.

    • Richard Markert

      Probably copy-pasted from the iOS description.

      • DaveTexan

        You are right. I checked in iTunes and found they now offer the first two chapters free or all 5 chapters for 15.99. So I believe the 15.73 is the total price with all 5 chapters. This is more faithful to the Square Enix tradition of selling the complete product instead of piece by piece. I hope they continue with the tradition. I found Square Enix Games are generally more enjoyable than freemium games. Free games can be fun but they always try to punish you if you don't pay and you usually have to continue to pay or suffer more pains. I'm more okay with paying for non-essential DLCs and extras.

  • Patrik Carlsson

    Is it iapfree?

    • DaveTexan

      It appears so...see my comments below.

  • Patrik Carlsson

    Had to uninstall this since my kids use my phone sometimes. The buy add ons priced several thousand dollars for shit that no gamer would ever buy, or anyone else for that matter. Google play password don't always apply for iaps. And as always I must say that I would have refunded if I could when I discovered this, but the damn game took an hour to downloa oover wifi.