Review by Kengrrarrow
I had such high hopes for this game from the creators alone. Nobuo Uematsu is my musical idol, and Sakaguchi's masterpieces speak for themself. Toriyama can go to hell though I really can't stand his unoriginal rehashed garbage, and I know a lot of people will agree there. Anyways I gave this game about 8 hours, and I'm really disappointed that I'm this disappointed. I'll break it down into sections by what I noticed in what order:
Well first and foremost were the bland characters. I knew before I played the game I didn't like the character designs (The humans, the shadows I actually thought were pretty badass), but I didn't let my hatred of Toriyama cloud my opinion of the game though, I was still really stoked to play what I thought would be a really encompassing experience. It's not even that I hate Toriyama's art style, because I don't. It's just so lame how unoriginal his designs are compared to his previous works. I know everyone is sick of Gohan, Bulma, Piccolo, and saiyan armor. Everything from the clothes to the lack of facial expression really just suck and need a LOT more detail.
The characters also had no interesting personalities whatsoever, and showed absolutely no signs of developement or growth storywise. Granted I played the game for 8 hours, but in that time absolutely no facet of Shu, Jiro, Kluke, or Marumaro's personality caught my attention in any way. They just seemed empty and uninteresting, and Marumaro just annoyed the hell out of me. I know what you're thinking, "They were meant to be simple because this game isn't supposed to be epic or groundbreaking." To me though. a game can be light-hearted and still have interesting characters, look at Super Mario RPG. This game just falls way below the mark. Interacting with this cast makes me feel like I'm getting too old for RPGs, and I'm 20...that's not a good thing. And don't say, well go play blahh blahh blahh...no. I wanted to play this game, I wanted to like it, I just didn't
The battle system, although simple and unoriginal (whether intended to be that way or not) was actually the high point of the game for me. Mix and matching class skills was pretty fun, but yet again took away from the characters themselves and just made the game more empty. I think they could have made up for the lack of personality in the characters with some character-specific abilities to at least set them apart. (And the element doesn't count that's lame and over-done and you know it) The fact that you could turn any character into anything just made it worse for me. I think the only games that can pull this off are games where the characters already have distinct personalities and auras about them. Whether you're on the "I hate FF7 bandwagon" or not you can't deny that you knew who the hell Barret was and what he was all about. The fact that you could customize that cast with any spells didn't take away from their personas. I wasn't playing this game expecting a Final Fantasy, Final Fantasys are not the only rpg's I like, but to me a lot of games in that series are showcases of excellent game direction and storytelling. Even Suikoden's 100+ characters had more depth than Shu and his band of nitwits to me.
Uematsu has yet to let me down. I think he's awesome and I think some tracks in Blue Dragon are really cool (ancient hospital is really atmospheric and different from his usual style, That made that part of the game a lot better) I played the game with the English voice-overs, and only two characters made me want to stab myself in the ears...Shu and Marumaro. Shu's voice is just so typical WB-anime-boy-hero and just urked the hell out of me. Marumaro, although funny at first, just drove me crazy about 10 seconds later. I know the english voice-overs have nothing to do with the game itself or its creators but that was just another element of the final product that let me down. I didn't let it bother me too much though.
Lastly, the story as a whole didn't grab my interest in the slightest for the entire 8 hours I spent on it. I was waiting and waiting and waiting for it to pick up but it never did. The villain just simply being pure evil is boring and played out. Granted what kind of villain ISN'T played out but others have been a LOT more interesting. Kefka, for example, was a homocidal egomaniac, and to me that was awesome. His presence was a lot more interesting and threatening than an old man with a lizard on his shoulder. He was just completely and utterly insane with bloodlust. I know, I know...another FF reference this guy must just be a fanboy on a powertrip. No dude, I just calls em like I sees em.
All in all, I just felt really let down by an RPG that should have delivered a LOT more in my opinion. Maybe I didn't stick around to see it get a lot better...but to me 8 hours is more than enough time (too much even) to wait for every aspect of a game to improve. I'm very envious of the people who love this game, I wanted to be one of them. I just can't deny what my senses have told me of Blue Dragon (Yes it does also taste bad I gave it a little nibble) and it is that Mistwalker is pretty much setting the bar so ridiculously low so that Lost Odyssey will blow us out of the frikin universe (I hope, oh god I hope) Anyways This is all just the opinion of some random 20 year old guy who likes to get his RPG on.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 08/31/07
Game Release: Blue Dragon (US, 08/28/07)
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