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I've played many games similar to Blue Dragon before on Xbox 360 which is why i thought i would give it a go. After seeing many gleaming reviews i thought 'where can i go wrong?'. Everywhere. Not im not on for giving up on games designed for children ages 12+, but after 3 completely different attempts to get into and complete this game, i found myself screaming at the TV. I found it very difficult to work out where to go within the game to continue with the story, and on top of that i found the storyline difficult to connect with. Now i'm aware this is just my personal opinion and im sure many of you reading this would enjoy Blue Dragon, and i accept that. That is why i am not here to say 'Do not buy this game', instead im saying, if youre anything like me, dont be disappointed.
I'm completely aware i can't be the only person who feels the same way, im generally a sucker for these kinds of games. One thing you have to respect about this game is that it was designed by the Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who also supervised development and wrote the plot. For this exact reason, i'm going to advise you all to go out a buy a copy. Spanning over three disks the game provides hours of game play and a plot which im sure will feel like it will never end. I wish you all the best of luck on your anime adventures, who knows? maybe one day i'll begin to understand the hype over Blue Dragon.
Let me start by saying that one thing I look for in a game is length. This game plays for such a long time that it kept me entertained for months on end, with 4 hours solid gameplay every day. A really immersive storyline with great visuals and a fantastic music score sets this game apart from other games of its genre. Although the main characters are all children or, at most, young teenagers, this is a game for all ages as the story is very in-depth and moving. I bought this game brand new for £45 and never looked back.
When I buy a game on a whim like this I usually judge on the cover and that looks great but the game lets me down. This game lives up to the dust jacket completely and really left me feeling fulfilled. That said, if I had to pick out one flaw in the game, it's that the end does get a bit tedious. The main story is finished long before the gameplay finishes and it does seem to drag out but other than that it's a brilliant universe that's been crafted and it is portrayed in beautiful next-gen graphics. A must for all game hunters.
== Blue Dragon ==
I first bought Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360 about a year and half ago and back then I gave it a try but wasn't really too impressed until a few days back. I thought I would have another go and ever since I have been playing it. Blue Dragon is a turned based RPG. Its not like your average normal RPG like Final Fantasy and is very different to what I have seen before. However the game is designed by Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi but it looks and feels nothing like the Final Fantasy games. Blue Dragon is an Xbox 360 exclusive JRPG and has been developed by Mistwalker and Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The game was released in Japan before hitting U.S and then hitting the UK stores. Also Blue Dragon was the first official Xbox 360 game that uses three disks because its a huge game.
In Blue Dragon you take the role as a young boy named Shu and also his two best friends Jiro and Kluke. Shu and his friends village is attacked by a massive Land Shark sent by their arch enemy called Nene. Now after being sent to Nene's floating ship and successfully escaping his grasp and also acquiring these monster attachments known as Shadows, from swallowing light orbs. The team go on there travels trying to get back to there village, whats left of it. Along the way they meet two more comrades willing to travel and help them named Marumaro and Zola. Things don't go to plan and your story takes unexpected turns and you find yourself looking for Nene to stop his master plan.
=== Gameplay ===
The gameplay to Blue Dragon is really unique and I cant believe its taken me this long to start playing it. There is quite a lot you can do on the game that is very similar to Final Fantasy, which is probably the only thing the games have in common. The characters you play are only 16 or 17 year olds and everybody has high expectations for them. A great thing about this game is when your playing if there is something new you can do it will give you a step by step speech bubble to explain how its done and why. As your exploring the wonderful world of Blue Dragon you will come across many secret passage ways or even locked treasure chest. Some of these are opened further in the game and some cant be opened until you go through the game a second time. There are absolutely loads of places to visit and explore throughout the game, from loads of villages to hundreds of other places like, caves, dungeons and even a place where the dead walk. Each village is different and each dungeon also different.
A thing that really impressed me was the gameplay because its such a fun and exciting game, as your exploring you can virtually click on anything and you may find items, coins or even experience points. Your characters level up as usual like on other RPG's, however on Blue Dragon you can change your shadows skill from a wide range of things that can teach you new skills. For example I always like to have someone that can heal in my party and I use Kluke. Her shadow is in fact a Phoenix shadow and the skill I use on hers is either black magic or white magic. This is mainly because she is weak at normal attacks but good with magic. If I wanted I could have her change shadow skill to something else, for example a Monk, which is better for the stronger characters. Each one of these skills can be changed at any time and each one learns new techniques or even magic.
Also as you progress through Blue Dragon you will unlock new things you can do, one is a field attack on the world map (which is huge) and that basically gives you an advantage and can even sometimes kill monsters without having to actually fight them. Also as your roaming around and come across monster to battle you can try sneak up on them for a surprise attack, however be very cautious as some can be really sneaky and try to surprise you. There are absolutely loads of items to collect as you progress, some key items that will have to be used in certain areas and some will be items such as equipment or even healing items. Also there are warp points throughout the game that can warp you to some place you have visited before but you need warp keys for them before you can use them. The gameplay as I say is really interesting and quite unique in its own way and to be fair not many games are like this.
=== Graphics ===
The graphics of Blue Dragon varies in terms of quality at some levels and weirdness at others, but don't be put off by this as they are pretty darn good. The graphics are actually 3D but they do look like a cartoon, however they still look delicious and at times make me think wow. The basic design of the Five main characters is really good they are detailed really well and do stand out to other characters in the game. The design of each monster has really impressed me, there are no two similar monsters, okay you get different elements for some monsters and they do slightly look the same but they all look really well designed and have been made perfectly. The bosses have been amazing, I cant find any words to describe the bosses. Some are things like, a four headed snake, a huge genie thing and even a big lizard like creature with a sword and shield. Some are really well created and look brilliant. Each town looks different and superbly designed, as are the caves, forests, mountain paths, world map and many other places. They are all looking pretty good and very different where as many role playing games have similar looking places. The graphics are pretty good to be fair just look a little odd at times.
=== Sound ===
The music to the game is brilliant, from different towns and villages there is all kinds of different music playing in each one. The mountains, caves and everywhere else also has different songs, some will be upbeat and some will be a sort of slow but scary type. The thing I was impressed about Blue Dragon's music was the fight music normal fights would have pretty normal fight music a bit like Final Fantasy and when your coming up to a boss, the music changes and its a song sang by someone and it is actually really catchy. The other sound effects to the game are great. Footsteps running on different types of land or water sound brilliant. The sound of you attacking the enemy is also good and even the sound when your navigating the menu screen is really good. The sound is one of the best things about this game, although the game has lots of good points each part has some bad except for the sound, every bit of it is superb and has been designed well. To be fair the sound effects had to be good as its the same person who did the sound to the Final Fantasy game.
=== Characters & There Shadows ===
The main character Shu is basically the leader and has the role of organizing everything, the others follow him and do as he says, this is who you play as and his best talents are his strength and defence. His shadow is none other than the Dragon Shadow and surprise surprise its blue.
Jiro is also a character you start the game with and he is in fact Shu's best friend, he is the smart one, at times some may so too clever for his own good. His strong points are using magic. His shadow is Minotaur Shadow, which is also blue.
The third character that starts the game with Shu and Jiro is Kluke and her and Jiro have chemistry. Her strong points in my opinion is magic, I prefer her to use the magic but most use her for things like stealing items or raising stats higher. Her shadow is the Phoenix Shadow, blue again.
Here is a very interesting character, Marumaro and he is basically a small bat like creature that can fight, talk and pretty much anything humans can do. He doesn't look that great but hes rather strong and has good speed as well, they are his best attributes. His shadow is the Saber-Toothed Tiger Shadow, which looks great and is blue as well.
Lastly for the members is Zola who joins as you progress through the game and in my eyes by far the best character, she is really strong, great defence and has some brilliant skills that the others cant learn. Her shadow is a Killer Bat and its blue as they all are.
Nene is the final character but hes the enemy and not a member, hes strong, agile and very intelligent. Although he doesn't look like much he does have quite a lot of secrets about him so be warned. Nene has some sort of creature like thing attached to his left arm on a mechanism and its called Deathroy.
=== Difficulty & Longevity ===
Now the difficulty of the game actually varies and it all depends on if you have upgraded your characters right as you get further in the game. Most RPG's are quite simple to master and quickly but there are very plain, good but plain, where as in Blue Dragon there is so much to choose from as in skill wise and everything its hard to just pick one. Its always better to pick one for each character as they can concentrate on getting up levels easily like that. The difficulty of the monsters can be quite tricky, I like to use magic as I stated earlier and each monster has its own element. For example a fire wolf would be fire so simply use a water spell on it and you will do a lot more damage, if you are good with elements then this game will probably be quite easy for you. Other parts that can be tricky is the puzzles, they can be very mind boggling but rather good for the brain I feel. Also boss fights can be hard if your not sure how to react as they deal a significant amount of damage to you with one attack. Another thing that is hard about this game is getting the Achievements, I myself have just reached 51,000 Achievement points but on this game they are incredibly hard to get. Other than that the game is actually really simple.
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest role playing games out there to date. Blue dragon is three disks long and will have you playing it for hours on end. each disk can take up to a remarkably 20 hours maybe even longer if you feel the need to explore more or even raise your characters levels. Blue Dragon will have you checking every little thing for items or secrets and the game is very time consuming because of this. Most of the time is spent doing that and fighting, whether it would be normal battles or boss battles the time really does fly. Blue Dragon is one of the longest games I have plaid.
=== Good Points & Bad Points ===
There are a lot of good points and a couple of bad points about this game. I will start with the good. The game is HUGE and when I say huge I mean really big. There are tons of places you visit in the game and even secret places in the game, the game can last over 60+ hours, also the game is three disks which is another bonus and is always a good thing. There are well over 100+ different monsters and thats not counting the bosses. I would say there are 40+ bosses. The sound effects are just simply brilliant. Its not really a hard game and its quite good when you start playing it. The scenery is actually pretty neat, I am really impressed with the sea in this game looks almost real. There are tons of items to collect and skills. Also you can make your characters into what you want them to be, healer, fighter or even a monk. All in all the game has some brilliant good bits about it and I cant fault any of them.
Now the bad bits. To be fair there isn't that much in the game that can be improved. I would have to say maybe the graphics could be slightly better and maybe just not too much like a cartoon. Also some people may feel like there are way to many fights in the game as you do encounter endless enemies and they do seem to re-appear after defeating them. That is pretty much the bad things although some people may find the game a little difficult at times but to be honest its perfect for the RPG fan.
=== Other Bits ===
The game doesn't have a single multiplayer option but this isn't really important for a role playing game and the single player story mode is quite enough espeially with it being possibly 60+ hours of gaming action. The game rating is a 12+ and I would say this is about right because although this game does have its cartoon elements it still does have a lot of ugly beasts and does have some violence that maybe someone younger may get upset over. I would certainly say the game is value for money, I bought this game for £4.99 brand new and for three disks and a massive 60+ hours then its definitely worth every penny, however there is a little bit of a stumbling block now as the game is gradually turning rare, all the role playing games seem to go rare and this one is slowly but surely going the same way. Blue Dragon is on Amazon £9.50 brand new and is actually rising almost every week. So if your going to buy it I recommend you do it reasonably quickly. All in all this game is a fantastic RPG that will keep you entertained for a very long time! I would give Blue Dragon a very respectable 7.5/10!
Review also posted on Ciao under username: MrBrightside1987!
Blue Dragon is an RTS game based on the Anime 'Blue Dragon' (believe it or not). Although based around the anime and much of the story on the game is similar to that of the anime there are some very noticeable differences between the two. Having played the game and watched the anime this annoyed me slightly but did not particularly detract me from playing it.
In this RTS game you begin as Shu, a teenage boy seeking vengeance on the Evil Land Shark and Dr. Nene for terrorising his village and killing innocent people. Shu is then gifted with magical powers and his shadow turns into a mythical blue dragon with tremedous attack power.
In this game you tour around different parts of the world fighting monsters who get stronger and stronger on your way to defeating Nene. This game is 3 discs long and is excellent value for money as in can now be picked up for quite cheap from most stores.
The achievements are very hard in this game and take a long time to acquire but altogether this game is fantastic and will keep you playing for a long time.
Blue Dragon is an Japanese RPG game with consistent voice acting, pretty good graphics especially the cut scenes and the like and a unique type of gameplay. The RPG system used before isn't one that I've experienced its based on the ideas of shadows and you have a shadow level and a character level, the character level increases your overall stats, where as the shadow level increases stats for that shadow and provides extra abilities. I suppose the system is a touch comparable to Final Fantasy X-2 (I know X-2 was aweful but its the closest parallell i can draw).
The game is also very good value for money and will certainly keep you busy for a long time to come as the game is 3 discs long the first on the xbox 360 I've seen of that length and I wouldn't be suprised if it was the last.
Buy it, you won't regret it.
This game was good for the first disc. Then after the second it was starting to get a bit boring and i just really didn't have the willpower to start the THIRD DISC! This game is ridiculousy long however if you enjoy games that take about a year to complete then by all means purchase this game. The graphics were not bad nor good and the birdseye view really didnt help that. The animations within the fights aren't brilliant either but then again the game doesn't really look like it is designed for the pro gamer. This game is probablky brilliant for kids to play for a long time and would be ideal for parents to buy if they want their kids to be quiet for a little while. In my view this was a very boring game and running around a dessert fightin strange beings just really isn't my kind of thing but hey, it might be yours!
I got this game free with my 360 Elite and as soon as I turned it on I was hooked.
It has a wonderful storyline and style.
The style is very similar to Dragonball and I wasn't sure about it at first but after playing it for a while I thought it just seems to fit.
The way they introduced the characters was flawless, the whole game was inspirational.
I liked the odd levels where you battle in the ship as it was a nice change from the original gameplay.
The music got a bit annoying at times as it was very repetitive and it annoyed everyone in the house.
I did find the game a bit long at times but the rest of the time I didn't want it to end.
When the game was over there was a nice little part where you regain control of the character which I thought was a good way to end.
I think this game is a must have for all 360 owners.
Blue Dragon is a japanese RPG (role playing game) which is made onto 3 disks.
The gameplay is very similar to Final Fantasy where you have a group of characters each with their own special ability (such as warrior, white mage, black mage) and their task is to kill a big baddy who wants to destroy the world. You do this by walking around the world fighting battles along the way and increasing your characters level to make them better in a battle.
In blue dragon you can see the enemies on the screen unlike games where you have random encounters. This is a good feature as you can avoid any fights you dont want to take part in. there is also the option to battle all the enemies which are close to you at one which sometimes ends up with the enemies actually killing each other which is fun to watch.
This rpg will take up a lot of your time and to get the achievements you will need to spend even longer on the game!
Blue dragon is a Japanese style role playing game from Mistwalker studios for the Xbox 360 console.
Blue dragon follows the story of a boy called Shu, his village is always attacked by A mechanical creature, he is not happy about this so he and his friends tried to put a stop to it. From the adventures begin.
The gameplay style is that of the traditional Japanese role playing game, that is turn based however there are few tweaks to the formula, sometimes you can charge your attacks, this slows your turn but makes your attack more powerful. In addition to this there are some minigames and some action sequences which require a lot of button mashing.
The graphics in this game are very impressive however they are quite cartoonish and the art style consists of many simple shapes.
You can get this game for around £15.00 which is a good price as it contains three discs.
This game comes from the Microsoft Game Studio 'Mistwalker' which takes members from Square, the team behind Final Fantasy.
I'm going to start off by saying, 'If you love Final Fantasy, you will love this game'. It's the closes thing to Final Fantasy that you will get on the XBOX 360 game system (at least at the moment).
The story sees you following the main protaganist 'Shu' as he tries to save his village from something called 'The Land Shark'. Along the way, you will encounter new characters, all with their own personalities, which will join your party.
The main draw to this game is the new 'shadow' system. The battles are still turn based, but each character has their own 'shadow' which fights for you. Each character can have exactly the same skill set if you so choose so, but you can also split skills up so each character has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Overall, this is a great game with a LONG play-through time. If you are looking for easy achievements, then don't look here - but if you are looking for a long, Final Fantasy-style game, then buy this now!
Well as there seems to be no plan of actually releasing a good final fantasy game on the xbox 360, the creators of final fantasy have tried to throw a substitute at us called Blue Dragon. Akira (draws dragon ball) has also put his hands in to draw the characters and also not to forget the famous composer of the beautiful finafl fantasy music, Nobuo Uematsu. With so many famous people coming in to create this 4 disc mega game, your gonna be in game heaven right?....maybe......
The graphics are what you can all basic and traditional, maybe its suppose to be like that to recreate the anime sort of feeling but come on.....these graphics are on a par with older generation consoles, it does not really live up to the next gen console graphics.
Secondly, gameplay is the old old turn based style, with players using their skills to try and defeat the enemy, without the realistic graphics from the final fantasy seris when spells are casted this turn based style does get repetitive and boring after a while, and with 4 discs to play throguh...thats really going to be a mission. There is no xbox live, which means after the story is finished, there is no use of the game
However, what i like about Blue Dragon is the depth of the story that it offers, although it is quite cheesy to my liking and i cant take naything here serious at all due to the rubbish voice acting( english version).
On a serious note, it will be easier to bear with if you enjoy watching the blue draogn anime series but with the constantly annying game music which drives your head in and all the cheesiness. This is a traditional RPG and some of Nobuo's music is great to listen to and the story is quite good after all the cheese is sliced off lol.
Blue Dragon is an entertaining RPG game that I really enjoyed. It revolves around the plot of Shu, Kluke and Jiro to stop Nene from taking over the world. The graphics of that game are superb if you have HD, but are still great if not. The game gets progressively difficult but this adds to the game as you have to work to get through the game whereas other games are quite easy to complete and not challenging. One of the good facts is that it spans 3 disks which gives you over 40 hours of gaming and you will not complete it in a matter hours. But there are a few bad points to the game such as it is quite repetive as the game is mostly about RPG fighting and there's not much else to do apart from that. Even though, people who like classic RPG games will be pleased about Blue Dragon.
Few games this console generation have worked up the kind of hype Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360 achieved , with many touting it to be the game that would finally sell the American games machine in Japan, based on the fact it was from the man behind the ridiculously successful Final Fantasy VII and featured characters designed by Akira Toriyama, the chap behind ridiculously successful comic/cartoon series Dragonball Z.
Funnily enough, neither of these factors held much appeal for me, I quite enjoyed a bit of Dragonball Z back when I was younger (and watching it on holiday, in Spanish, completely unaware of what was going on) but I have an abhorrent hatred of Final Fantasy and turn-based Japanese Role-Playing-Games in general. Yet I still felt the need to try out this game was touted to put an end to Eastern videogame snobbery, and over the last few years my tolerance for RPG's has went from zero to moderate thanks to the best efforts of Sega and Bioware.
Blue Dragon is set in a mythical land and follows a teenager named Shu who lives in the small confines of Talta Village. Talta suffers an annual disaster where violet clouds block out the sun and a monster dubbed the Land Shark lays waste to the village. However, this year Shu, the town rebel, manages to talk his more sensible friend Jiro into helping him attempt to fight the Land Shark. The object of both boys' affections, Kluke also manages to find her way into this incident while trying to talk them out of it, and while their plan backfires, they discover that the Land Shark is in fact a robot, and come face to face with its creator, an ancient wizard named Nene. While Nene easily defeats the plucky kids in battle, before escaping his flying fortress they are prompted by a mysterious voice to swallow light capsules, which grant them magic powers, transforming their shadows into giant blue mythical creatures; the titular dragon for Shu, a phoenix for Kluke and a minotaur for Jiro. After escaping Nene, the trio learn that the Talta villagers have fled to the nearby Kingdom of Jibral to seek aid. Vowing to use their newfound powers to stop Nene, the trio seek out to try and catch up with him and foil his dastardly plans, encountering all form of allies and enemies along the way.
The game's plot, while fairly entertaining, and featuring more depth than I allude to their, isn't really anything to write home about. Now, while I know in a lot of other reviews of games I might say things to the effect of plot not being that important, it's a case of genre, and sadly RPGs are a genre built almost primarily around story. It was the plot of games like Shenmue and Knights of the Old Republic that played the biggest role in ending my anti-RPG bigotry. I just can't help but feel Blue Dragon's plot was a bit lightweight and by-the numbers. What's worse is that I think the potential to flesh the plot out is there.
Now the first thing that strikes you about Blue Dragon when you open the case is that it spans 3 DVDs. Now, back on the PlayStation and even the Dreamcast, multi-disc games weren't uncommon, CD and GD-Roms just didn't hold that much information. Off the top of my head though, this is the first game since DVD became the norm that has felt the need for more than one, let alone 3 discs. This should have allowed for a fantastic plot full of brilliant characterisation, twists and sub-plots. Instead Blue Dragon seems intent to race through what could have been 3 games worth of plot in as straightforward and unelaborated fashion as possible. Imagine of George Lucas had attempted to cram the entire Star Wars trilogy into a single, neat, 90 minute film. That's what this feels like, and given the game's bloated size there really is little excuse for this. What's more frustrating are the sub-plots, one of which is so pathetically minute it's easily forgotten until the final boss-fight and it all of a sudden becomes important.
The game plays relatively similar to the majority of RPG games on the market. You walk (and later fly) around an over world map, and can enter a variety of towns or locations on that map to talk to characters and take part in quests to help undo or try to prevent Nene's handiwork. Combat takes my pet-peeve of Turn-based route, but with a few neat additions. For a start, in situations where there are more than 1 enemy onscreen it's possible to group them together to fight immediately one after the other, or in some cases, depending on types of enemy involved, get into a 3-way 'Monster Fight' where they will battle each other as well as you. Later in the game your characters also gain what is best described as the RPG equivalent of a fighting game's Super Move. In other words you have a small meter above your health, which fills as you perform or come on the receiving end of attacks. When it's full you can unleash a powerful attack on your enemy.
Your characters also 'Level Up' (that's gain more health/stronger attacks etc) in the traditional fashion, though the game mixes it up a bit by allowing both the characters and their shadows to level up separately. This applies because you assign your Shadows a 'class' , in other words a stereotype, White Magic (Healer), Assassin (Fast, with precise attacks) etc. There are 9 of these, and what is (in theory) neat is that characters aren't limited to being just one, you can level them up in all classes for versatility. Of course, come the end of the game when you really need to do big damage you'd probably wind up wishing you'd focussed on one, but the option is there.
Naturally you can also bolster your characters with various attacking/defensive/healing items to be purchased or found throughout the game, as well as accessories your character 'wears' to augment their abilities.
So far it sounds like a fairly standard RPG with a few nice touches...and that's because at the end of the day that's what Blue Dragon is. It's simple enough to pick up and play, everything flows smoothly, but it doesn't really do anything exciting. There are the odd Button Mashing and Shooting mini games to try and liven things up, and they are enjoyable enough, but like it's plot, Blue Dragon's gameplay suffers from just not being very exciting. The game itself is relatively simple to be honest, with a few of the optional side-quests offering a bit more of a challenge, which it would probably get away with, however the 3 DVD span sees to it that the game does nothing but become incredibly tedious, especially seeing as the plot doesn't inspire the player to keep going. Conversely though, the game's Achievements are almost absurdly difficult. Some would require devoting a good few months of plotless gaming to achieve, and I'd imagine most gamers, myself included, wouldn't even bother trying to achieve most of them. Note that if one of your friends on Xbox Live has full Gamerscore for Blue Dragon, chances are you might want to take them out sometime.
What the game does have going for it is some gorgeous visuals. While it may seem something minor, especially as it isn't even interactive, but the water effects when you gain a flying ship and have access to the airways across the world are absolutely majestic. Almost photo-realistic. Which is quite odd given that the rest of the game has a 3D Anime feel to it. This is also accomplished well, with the character models moving smoothly, clothes and hair moving realistically and rock, metal etc all textured in a 'real' fashion without going overboard into the dreaded 'gritty' category. The only complaint I have visually is that characters look a bit too young. This made vaguely elaborated love triangle a bit uncomfortable, and the way Nene almost leers over the captured Kluke incredibly dodgy. It was only when I looked the game up and read the character ages these bits became a little less questionable for me
The sound tries it's best to match the visuals, but overall it's a far more uneven affair. The music tracks range from capturing just the right feeling, be it adventure for the over world to tension for the scarier locales, to just plain plagiarism, ripping off Super Mario Bros. and Swan Lake for a bit of diversity. The English voice acting is serviceable, if unspectacular. Special mention has to go to the cheesy, 1980s-tastic hair-metal song that plays during boss fights though.
Overall, while I wouldn't say I regret playing Blue Dragon, I can't help but feel it was a potentially decent enough little game turned into a bloated ego trip by it's makers. There is nothing in the plot or the gameplay to suggest that the game could go on anywhere near the length of 3 DVDs and still remain fresh and entertaining, and it's almost as if it's 'Supergroup' production team almost decided that their presence alone allowed the game epic status.
Blue Dragon isn't a bad game by any means, and RPG fans will probably enjoy it a little more than me, but at the end of the day if you asked me for 10 games to sell you a 360, this wouldn't come close to it, let alone selling the machine on it's own accord as many expected. Nowadays it can be picked up around the £20 range, and for RPG fanatics it might be worth it at that, but to anyone else, there are much better ways you could be spending time with your Xbox.
Blue Dragon was a title i was really looking forward to being a massive fan of RPGs and knowing it was coming from a great team with a great track history of epic adventures.
Unfortunately i was disappointed with the outcome, granted the game is stunning to look at and is epic in scale but it failed to impress me with its gameplay and structure.
Perhaps it is targeted for the younger audience but i found it very easy to complete and quite boring in parts which i was quite surprised to find. Also unlocking all or most of the games achievements are quite impossible.
Here is a basic outline of the games story, you control Shu and his friends through different set challenges trying to save the earth from doom and despair.
Each character has what is called a "Shadow" as their unique weapon during the turn based combat.
The usual kind of story really and nothing really fresh with this adventure
Blue Dragon is Microsoft's effort at appealing to the Japanese audience, a role-playing game from Mistwalker studios which consists of three legendary designers. Hironubu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series. Akira Toriyama, designer of the Dragonball animes and Dragon Quest games. Nobuo Uematsu music composer of the Final Fantasy games, with such a team what could go wrong!
The story of Blue Dragon begins in Talta village, every year violet clouds appear and the terrible Land Shark appears devastating the place. Our plucky hero Shu wants no more of this and comes up with a plan with his friend Jiro to destroy the Land shark. He bravely attempts to fight it and save his village however the plan backfires and friends Shu Jiro and Kluke decide to follow the Land Shark which takes them to a strange mechanical fortress. Here the games villain Nene is introduced as the owner of the land shark but he defeats Shu with ease. A strange voice prompts them to swallow light spheres if they ever want to defeat Nene, so they do, and gain the powers of the blue dragon. The rest of the games story revolves around the quest to defeat Nene which has a few interesting plot twists (a good one right at the end!). There is some attempt at a romance subplot between Shu, Jiro and Kluke but the only thing that happens is they make rings for her, friendship rings not wedding rings! It's just the usual good vs. evil struggle but it is decent enough to hold your interest.
At the start of the game you only have three characters but over the course of the game you meet up with a couple more.
Shu: Shu is a 16 year old boy and the spiky haired hero of the game, like all good heroes he is willing to do whatever it takes to destroy Nene and keep his people safe running into danger headfirst if need be. His (rather annoying) catchphrase is "I won't give up!" and he never does. Shu's shadow is the titular Blue Dragon.
Jiro: Jiro is 17, he is Shus friend who frequently goes exploring with him. Jiro is basically the opposite of Shu, rather than head straight for danger he will formulate a plan and think things through thoroughly much to the annoyance of Shu. He also competes with Shu to win the affections of Kluke Jiros shadow takes the form of a raging minotaur.
Kluke: Kluke is a 16 year old girl, her parents were killed in one of the Land Shark attacks so she joins with her friends Shu and Jiro to try and stop the evil Nene. She is caring and will always help out her friends. She is also the "love interest" of the game but she doesn't choose Shu or Jiro and prefers to remain just friends! Klukes shadow takes the form of the mystical Phoenix.
Marumaro: Marumaro or just Maro is a member of the Devee tribe, a weird cross between a human and a bat, Maro is very loud and often shouts when he speaks, he is willing to do anything he sets his mind to and he does it with incredible childlike enthusiasm. He is also obsessed with Zola who he calls Lady Zola and always tries to impress. His age is not known but due to his character I suppose he is around the age of 14. Maros shadow is the deadly sabre tooth tiger.
Zola: Zola is 20 years old and guard of Jibral city, she joins up with Shu and the gang as they fought to protect their villagers from the deadly onslaught of some giant tigers. She proves to be a valuable ally and guide helping greatly over the course of the game. Zola is usually calm and cool the complete opposite of Maro and it's funny to watch her and Maro talk. Zolas shadow is the ferocious killer bat.
The game takes place in a big world which you can roam, you walk around like any other game but there is one annoying little problem, the camera angle on the world map screen never lines up properly so you get more of a top down view which is not what you like. Cities and towns appear all over the place and are very small on the world map but once you get into them they are big as you would expect. When you are in the world you can explore which will reward you with gold and nothings, you may think why would I want to collect nothings, but there is a place in the game where you can trade your nothings for rare items. In cities and villages you will find shops and inns, in shops you will be able to buy items to equip your characters with to increase their abilities and in an inn you can rest which brings you back to full health. As you explore the world you will come across warp gates which you can activate and then you will be able to come back to that point in the game whenever you want which is quite handy.
Like any good RPG you will get into lots of battles, the way you get into battles is quite innovative as you see your enemies wandering the field which means no random encounters! You can also pull up a circle and attack all enemies in range which is good as you don't need to get into multiple fights to destroy a group of enemies. Another unique feature is if you can group certain enemies that don't like each other they will fight making it easier on you.
Once you are in a battle if you have played an RPG recently you will be very familiar with the classic turn based system in Blue Dragon. You can attack , defend, use spells, items and flee. A unique feature is sometimes you will be able to charge your spells and attacks for maximum power but if you do you will have to wait longer for your attack to charge. The longer you charge the more powerful your spell or attack will be. If you are in a multi monster fight you will get more experience and as you defeat a wave of monsters you will get a powerup . Formations are important as depending on where you character is places he will take and give out more damage, if you have a swordsman you will want them to be in the front row as then their melee attacks will do alot of damage, a white magic user should be in the second row to minimize damage as the effect of magic doesn't change due to formation. As you fight battles you will get Experience Points, Shadow Points and Gold. Experience and Shadow points you can use to make your characters stronger and make your shadows learn new skills. Gold you use to buy items from shops in cities and villages.
The Shadow Skill system is pretty cool as you can customize your shadow anyway you want it, in most games you are forced down the path of having one character as a soldier, one as a magic user etc, so this is a nice change. The skills you can choose your Shadows to learn are Sword master, which makes you able to learn magical sword attacks as well as making your physical attacks more powerful, Black magic which offers many powerful offensive spells to use aswell as increasing your characters magical abilities. White magic allows you to heal and revive your allys aswell as greatly damage ghost monsters. Support magic enables you to support your allies with speed increases, shields and raising their attack power. Barrier magic is very useful as you can activate a barrier and instantly defeat enemies without battling them, you don't gain experience for doing this but your shadow skill points increase. Assasin which increases your speed greatly and even allows you to attack twice in one turn. Monk which allows you to charge your physical attacks for extra damage, they also have alot of health so are useful for soaking up damage. Guardian is for increasing a characters defensive abilitys and health. Generalist allows characters to have more skill slots, this is vital if you want to have a well balanced character. You are able to switch your characters Shadow Class whenever you wish and when you have learned the skills you want you can switch to another but you keep the skills learnt while you were the previous class.
Aswell as the turnbased battles you get some minigames to play, the biggest of these is the Mechat shooting sections. There are only three of these in the game which is a shame because they are great fun. When you get into a Mechat the gameplay completely changes to resemble a first person shooter! You don't control the Mechat movement just the gun, the gun does overheat so watch out! The ammo is unlimited however so you don't need to be shy! Aswell as the machine gun you also control missiles and a shield. If this were a standalone game you'd get tired of it rather quickly but as a mini game it's a welcome diversion. There are also a couple of other minigames including a moon blasting one and a wagon protection game.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are done in a Japanese Manga style by Akira Toriyama, this makes the game look slightly kiddish but I think they look amazing, smooth and well animated to almost Pixar movie standards. In battles the camera is well shown off as it pans around the heroes and enemys zooming in for a close up every now and then allowing you to see the brutal blows. The animation is spectacular and never jerky, however the framerate does suffer sometimes. The game also uses a great depth of field effect which blurs some parts of the screen depending on where you are looking, this usually works well but sometimes it will blur the main character making everything look fuzzy. The monster design is very creative (almost insane!) as you would expect from Toriyama and is probably the only game where you'll find oddities such as Poo snakes! Where the graphics shine most are in the many FMV sequences, here they are really exceptionally detailed, it's a pity there is usually not much action going on in them! Nobuo Uematus music score is good, slightly disappointing as there are no tracks that really stand out and echo with you long after you have played the game, it features the usual grand orchestrated scores you'd expect from an RPG. There is one thing he has done slightly differently which is the boss music which is a rock track which you will either love or hate! The sound effects are all well done and as you would expect, apart from this annoying robotic voice which says detected and defeated which thankfully you can turn off. The voice acting is decent and features good performances from good actors such as Mona Marshall (South Park) and Tara Strong (FFX-Rikku). The only voice that can grate slightly is Maro as he is always shouting!
Blue Dragon wasn't that well received and the price reflects that as it can be had for as little as £15-20. For a three disc epic RPG this is a good price to pay and at present it is one of the two Japanese RPG experiences available for the Xbox 360. While it doesn't do anything that new it refines the classic turn based RPG that Hironobu Sakaguchi is renowned for, it's a pity he played it so safe as it could've been better. The character design you will either love or hate depending on your tastes, I thought they were excellent and it was good to see something new from Akira Toriyama. The music from Nobuo Uematsu was good but nothing as memorable as the Final Fantasy scores. Blue Dragon is a solid title and a good RPG. Heres to hoping that future efforts from Mistwalker(Lost Odyssey, Cry On) will have more innovation. 4/5
Developer: Mistwalker/Bird Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1 Player