Drakengard 3: Four

Drakengard 3 arrived last month. It’s a very strange game, abusive and self-mocking and technically graceless. It’s a monster that won me over in ways I never expected. It’s a lot of things, but it’s most clearly a portrait of Zero, a goddess-like Intoner who goes around a twisted medieval Europe and murders her deified sisters with a mixture of vicious abandon and blasé cruelty. I’ve talked at length about just what Drakengard 3 did to me, and it’s time for an addendum about one of the game’s more interesting characters. She’s not who you might think.

Four is the least threatening among Zero’s numerically named sisters, all of whom decided to rule the world and rather rudely didn't invite Zero. We meet them when Zero attacks their city stronghold. One is the rational leader, Two is cheerful, Three is spookily distracted, and Five is hedonistic to no end. Four seems the most reluctant to fight; during an initial free-for-all with Zero, Four pleads for her sister to reconsider such violent rebellion. Later in the game, Four is the second victim in Zero’s conveniently numbered murder spree. En route to a mountain fortress, Zero tells her companions that Four is an uptight virgin and that “deep down, she’s evil.”

If Four’s evil, we don’t see it in the prime stretch of Drakengard 3. Upon confronting Zero, Four again begs her to stop and proclaims how highly she thinks of the murderous Intoner. So great is Four’s faith in her sister that she’s even willing to fall for a blatant and deadly ruse. Later, as the game’s timeline unravels into chaos and paradoxes, Four reappears as a lunatic, driven mad by the ominous floral entity that birthed all of the Intoners. She’s a piteous sacrifice, hiding in poorly concocted innocence and a mess of happy, Zero-centered memories that aren’t even real.

For a look into Four’s true depths, one must venture beyond the central game. The short stories available on the Drakengard 3 website introduce Four as a teetering stack of neuroses. Traveling with her sisters (minus Zero), Four worries about her sibling Intoners, mends their clothes, tries to keep a borrowed house clean…and then explodes into a room-wrecking fury and seethes with hate for her family. And herself most of all.