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.
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
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.
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.