Blue Dragon XBox 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.9
Graphics 8.6
Sound 8.5
Value 8.8
Distributor: Microsoft
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
October 2007
Reviewer:
Geoff Clarke

8.8


Blue Dragon

Blue Dragon is the latest Japanese RPG epic to hit the console world which has been exclusively developed by game producer Hironbu Sakaguchi (Mistwalker Game Studios) for the XBox 360. The story of Blue Dragon revolves around three children from a mysterious world and when their village is threatened by a creature known as the Sand Dragon, the children attempt to take matters into their own hands with disastrous results.

Miraculously halting the threat against the village, the children discover an underground world which is filled with ancient technology and just as the trio get their mind around things, they are whisked away again to the tall reaches of the sky where they uncover their destiny. Defeated by the mysterious Nene, the children hear a strange alien voice that command them to swallow three mysterious glowing orbs and upon digestion, the trio are given powers beyond those of mortal man.

Features
 

  • Innovative RPG gameplay features - As their quest progresses, warriors can create original attack methods by using several types of Shadow Change, including Sword, Assassin and Power Magic. Players can also choose to focus their hero on certain areas of expertise; as they fight, shadows will level up and gain new abilities associated with the job being done. Once gained, abilities remain available to use when needed.
     

  • Massive scope and engrossing environments - Shu and his companions battle their way through an immense world filled with vividly illustrated remnants of ancient civilizations long forgotten. Their journey takes them through alluring ancient ruins scattered with machines of war that have long since fallen into disrepair.
     

  • Stunning graphics - Taking full advantage of the power of Xbox 360, Blue Dragon will engage gamers in a world and characters that are brought to life with vibrant colors and detail - from Shu's wild hair to his martial arts-style garb - conveying the beautiful simplicity and sense of adventure found in this truly next-generation RPG.
     

  • Dazzling character design and effects - Toriyama's unique influence is evident in the design of the game's anime-style characters, whose actions are enhanced with next-generation blur effects. In addition, the game's algorithmic animation system adds heightened realism to character and creature movements.

In its essence, Blue Dragon is your traditional Japanese RPG title that is heavily reminiscent of games such as the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation 2. Taking a leaf out of these games, the game revolves around these three children who are attempting to protect their world as the gameplay offers the player to the chance to explore this wondrous world and engage in classic turn based combat. Unlike Final Fantasy, gamers can sometimes carefully avoid their foes as they appear on the map screen, however there are surprise attacks every now and then.

Apart from your standard foes, the gamer must also engage in a variety of powerful boss characters which will heavily rely on your tactics if you don't wish to start from your last save point. This brings to attention the save system which is dictated by save points which makes for some frustrating gaming, especially if you have time constraints.

Nevertheless, Blue Dragon is a highly entertaining, frustrating and addictive tale as you control your three characters through their battle to stop the evil Nene with his dark magic powers. Apart from the main plot, the gamer must also engage in a variety of different plots, twists and submissions in order to build up your characters.

For every enemy that you defeat, you are awarded experience points which assists in leveling and also upgrading your powers and proficiencies. The RPG system of Blue Dragon will be a fiddle some experience for the inexperienced gamer, however I do recommend that you persist because you will rewarded by how well this game has been developed.

The combat system of Blue Dragon is a turn based experience and depending on the random nature of the game, the game will dictate which character attacks first. There are a variety of options available during combat such as using your shadows magics to defeat your enemies or using more traditional combat such as melee or items.

Graphically, Blue Dragon is a cartoon treat on the XBox 360 and comes on a whopping 3 DVD's, making this one of the largest games ever to be released for a high-end console. The pre-rendered CGI is awe-inspiring and beautifully choreographed to give that Japanese/American animatic experience. The in-game cinemas, although not as impressive as the pre-rendered CGI is still quite impressive and features some great special effects and realistic textures for the background environments. The background environments of Blue Dragon are huge and its easy to get lost (both mentally and physically) in this amazing universe created by Sakaguchi. In order to truly experience this title, I would suggest a Plasma or LCD television because it needs widescreen and the bigger, the better.

The musical score of Blue Dragon is extremely reminiscent of the Final Fantasy series (thanks to Nobu Uematsu) and matches the genre perfect with its majestic sounding soundtrack. The voice acting is extremely clichéd and contrived but it does suit the Japanese RPG genre with its cheesy sounding voices and sometimes really bad dialogue. The sound effects are varied and diverse that assist in drawing the gamer in the world of Blue Dragon but my only gripe with the title is the lack of
in-game speech and considering the number of DVD's this game comes on, it would have been nice to have more audio available.

In conclusion, I could easily recommend this game to anyone who loves the Japanese RPG genre as this is the only REAL game available on the XBox 360 and even the PlayStation 3. For those tossing up between the XBox 360 and the PlayStation 3, this game might just be the title that pushes you to the 360. Blue Dragon features a great storyline, addictive yet sometimes frustratingly entertaining gameplay and some of the best darn Japanese RPG in quite some time. With its fresh story telling, innovative gameplay system, Blue Dragon will keep you busy for hours upon hours.






 
 



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