Blue Dragon Xbox 360 Review

Blue Dragon is a beautiful RPG, there is no doubt about that. In fact, it is probably one of the most graphically stunning efforts at the genre ever created. It’s got a top-notch intro that excellently introduces some of the game’s eye-catching main characters. It also contains some well thought out dungeons, and the whole package is highlighted with some quality music. Unfortunately, after the initial breathtaking spectacle that it provides, with its striking graphical appeal and first-rate presentation, the meat and bones of the game is left somewhat lacking, as some truly first-rate gameplay remains absent. However, that’s not to say there is a bad game at its core, it is just a complete, perhaps jarring, turn around of what we’ve now grown to expect from recent genre efforts. It instead provides a look back to the 90’s variety of RPG rather than trying its hand at taking on the more substantial approach the genre has evolved to in recent years.

I Have A Blue House With A Blue Window

Right from the get go it is noticeable that the game shares quite a lot with many of the older games in the genre – in particular the class system seen in Final Fantasy 5. What’s more, pretty much every other facet of the game, aside from the graphics, harks back to the old 8 and 16 bit Final Fantasy days. The battle system remains very simple, starting off with a few basic physical attacks and some magic skills available to pick from a turn-based list and from there on you get to level up your character granting you more skills as you go. Also, as you level up you can designate each character a certain class, ranging from black magic, white magic, monk, generalist and others, so each can get proficient at a certain skill. In addition, any character can jump in and out of any class so they all can learn as much, or a little of what they want from any skill. For example, you can level up all characters to a certain point in black magic and white magic to unlock the regenerate HP/MP, thus making you regain health and mana when walking around the world. As a result of this Blue Dragon may feel like a step back from the high of recent RPG greats for some people, but for others it could be just what they want after the bewilderment caused by the perplexity of the direction the genre is going in. In truth, Blue Dragon could be an RPG played by anyone. Yes, even if you are completely new to the genre it starts off slow enough, and provides you with sufficient information to avoid any confusion.

Blue Is The Colour Of All That I Wear

However, the game does showcase a few changes to the familiar formula, as a few decent additions to the well-worn battle system are on show to offer some depth to the game’s own inherent simplicity. First, there is an option to initiate a Monster Battle by highlighting a couple of monsters to fight rather than picking one at a time. Then if you manage to highlight two monsters that do not like each other they will fight amongst themselves instead of battling you. However, if you pick two or more enemies that share no ill will to each other you will then have to put up with waves of enemies for you to defeat. Along with this, the game also allows some characters to power up their moves using an on-screen power bar. Now, while this may be nothing new there are also a few changes here too as the bar shows the position of all the upcoming enemy and friendly turns. In effect, this addition lets you pick when you want your attack to hit and how much you want to power it up, thus allowing use of some tactics in the trickier battles. But all in all, even after these alterations, the game mostly excels at offering a straightforward approach that, while not leading to a thrill-a-minute RPG, does however lead to a moderately entertaining one.

Blue Are The Streets And All The Trees Are Blue

Truth be told, there are many things the game does right, and many things the game should be applauded for. Unfortunately, there is also an equal amount it does wrong. Crucially, at times there almost seems to be an over-abundance of save points on show, and when you combine this with the fact that most of the game is a cakewalk, with your group always feeling a bit overpowered, then almost all challenge is taken away. Therefore you never feel like your characters are in threat of losing most battles. Voice work is also a bit uninspired, and as you work your way through three discs it honestly starts to get grating as you advance. At one end of the spectrum you have Zola, probably the game’s most likeable character, but then as you move up from Kluke, Jiro, and Shu you reach Marumaro, a character who initially comes off as a cross between Jar Jar Binks and a wasp on speed but thankfully calms down a bit as the game goes on. Also, as the game evolves, very little is done to develop these characters and they all just seem to mosey along on their own collective story, regretfully getting little to no chance to stand out on their own. Furthermore, as the story itself advances there are a fair few low points dotted throughout which makes the game a bit of a chore to play at times. In particular, the mid point of disc one and the first few parts of disc two are the greatest offenders.

I Have A Girlfriend And She Is So Blue

All in all Blue Dragon is a satisfactory, albeit highly uneventful, RPG. As a whole the game is likeable, but as players venture through the three discs most will find very little to raise it above that initial assumption. Everything about the game makes it seem like it was created to play it safe, and nothing on show seems to be truly spectacular. Nevertheless, the 60+ hour quest is somewhat fun to partake in, and as you adventure through the game it is certainly a whole load of fun while it lasts. However, with big names in the field of RPG greatness such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, Akira Toriyama, and Nobuo Uematsu on board for Blue Dragon we should have really got more bang for our buck, a whole lot more to be perfectly honest.

A competent old school RPG effort, but one that will not appeal to everyone.

7 out of 10
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