It is always a welcome treat when video games feature a dragon or two. Some of the largest mythical creatures in modern as well as older media, dragons can truly show their potential to the fullest in video games.
Yet, sometimes games go a step beyond and give the players a unique experience to enjoy the existence of this majestic creature from a gameplay perspective. This is to say that they let the players take a ride on the dragon.
Whether it is briefly for a sequence in a story, as a core gameplay mechanic, or even as a way to traverse the world, these are some of the best experiences players can have with dragons.
There are five such video games on this list that allow players to take a ride on a dragon.
Five video games that let players ride a dragon
1) Panzer Dragoon
Since this series of video games first came out during the 1990s, the gameplay is quite simple and down to the point. The player rides atop a flying dragon, shooting down enemies in the form of robots and monsters. Since it was a rails shooter game from SEGA, this was quite the experience for its time.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where protagonist Keil partners up with a dragon to fight the forces of an evil nation known only as the Empire and the black dragon, the primary antagonist of the game.
The story unfolds through the opening cut-scene and then through the six different levels the game generously provides, each ending with a boss battle.
While initially underperforming in sales as PlayStation was a far superior console than SEGA’s Saturn, it made enough profit to launch sequels and ultimately an entire saga.
These video games are praised a lot for their gameplay and story, especially on the Saturn Console, so much so that remakes for the Nintendo Switch of the entire saga have been announced, with the first being released in 2020.
2) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn
While Skyrim was a game about hunting dragons, the players rode atop a friendly dragon during one story mission, albeit only in a cut scene. This feature became a highly demanded aspect by the fans (some even going so far as to create mods), which Bethesda eventually granted.
As a part of their DLC, Bethesda added a feature to tame a dragon using the Bend Will Shout. Attained during the Dragonborn DLC campaign, players use this shout in the story to call a dragon down to the ground, its allegiance now pledged to them. Upon interacting with this ‘tamed’ dragon, players can climb on its back as it takes flight.
This works in the open world as well. Players needed to find a dragon in the wild, which they could then ride around on, wielding magic and dragonfire from its back. Players can direct the dragon to fly to points on the world map, although not able to control the dragon’s flight in real-time.
3) Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee
Flight is a move that trainers in the Pokemon video game series can teach to a specific few Pokemon which they could then use to fly to parts of the map to fast travel.
This move could also be taught to dragon Pokemon like Charizard or Dragonite, which leads to players taking a joyride on their favorite dragon. Most recently seen improved upon in the Pokemon: Let’s Go series (Pikachu and Eevee).
Here, trainers can ‘fly higher’ after defeating the Elite Four. Once this is available, they can now choose any of the three Pokemon large enough to carry them to use this ability in the game world.
These three Pokemon are Dragonite, Charizard, and Aerodactyl. Using any of these three, trainers can hop on their backs and fly around the map significantly faster than walking. They can even fly over large water bodies and allow players to roam around without getting into unnecessary conflict with other trainers or wild Pokemon.
4) Middle Earth: Shadow of War
So technically, these are not dragons per se but are called drakes in the video game. However, the term drakes is sometimes used interchangeably with dragons or for smaller dragons, so they qualify. Why are their drakes in Middle Earth during the setting of Shadow of War is a whole other conversation entirely, but I digress.
In this video game adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s work, the Nazgul, who are the primary antagonists of the game, ride around on drakes to gain the upper hand in battle. However, Talion, the game’s protagonist, has the elven spirit of Celerimbor to thank for the ability to tame these flying monstrosities for his own needs.
Unlocked using the skill tree, the Dragon Rider ability allows Talion to Dominate these beasts and ride around on them, using fire breath and diving attacks to take out enemies.
A further upgrade allows him to summon a drake to be used in battle. These flying mounts can also be used to traverse the map at great speeds or to enjoy the scenic views of Minas Ithil.
5) Century: Age of Ashes
A relatively new game, released on December 2, 2021, for Windows, and on March 2022 for Xbox, this game is all about dragon-riding. It is a free-to-play aerial combat multiplayer video game from a third-person perspective camera, developed by Playwing Bordeaux.
It is an arena combat game where players can mount up on different dragons and duke it out amongst each other. There are three classes of dragons to choose from, Marauder, Windguard, and Phantom, with each class having access to class-specific abilities as well as shared attacks.
There are various game modes, a standard for most multiplayer games, such as capture the flag, team deathmatch, and spoils of war. While, by default, the game has a 6v6 format, a 3v3 mode was also introduced. With stunning graphics and visuals, this video game is probably the best looking of all the entries on this list.
Q. Do you enjoy dragon riding in video games?
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