Scalebound stands as one of the strangest upcoming titles for both the Xbox One and for developer PlatinumGames’ growing portfolio. It’s the studio’s first action RPG, taking more pages from the Dragon Age series than Bayonetta, and its emphasis on weapon-based combat while also controlling a giant dragon certainly makes for a unique type of gameplay. But if you were hoping to control the flying monster directly, there’s no need to worry — you totally can.
Using a system dubbed “Dragon Link,” you can switch the gameplay from human (and DmC Dante lookalike) Drew to his dragon companion, Thuban. As Thuban is naturally more powerful than Drew, this sets up an opportunity to land some brutal combo attacks, and you can quickly switch between the two characters and make the dragon a more passive ally if an enemy needs to taste your blade.
“This collaboration with Thuban translates into the stylish action that so many fans of PlatinumGames have come to know and love,” creative producer Jean Pierre Kellams says. “High-level play really opens up when you take control of Thuban and use him to complement Drew.”
Kellams adds, however, that Drew is essentially a sitting duck while he’s controlling his dragon friend. This is where the game’s four-player cooperative play comes in handy. As one player controls his version of Thuban, his allies can protect him and launch combo attacks of their own.
It remains to be seen if directly controlling Thuban will make Scalebound a more engaging experience — or more reminiscent of PlatinumGames’ other work — but it certainly gives more variety to a game that already seems to have plenty. At E3, we saw a lengthy gameplay demonstration in which Drew rode Thuban like something out of Panzer Dragoon, firing at a sea creature’s weak points before finishing it off on foot. It looked much better than the initial gameplay reveal, which featured a rockier framerate and less player agency.
Scalebound hits Xbox One and PC in 2017.