Review by lostthefire
"This game is for the current gen system, but should it be?"
Blue Dragon really is a toss up of classic gameplay meets the current gen of consoles. Everything about this game seems to feel so 90's, minus the graphics, that you wonder what this game is doing on the 360. This feel isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it just seems to be an excuse for the game lacking in so many areas. If you are one of those dead-set "I love 16-bit games" kind of player, then Blue Dragon is the perfect game for you. If you accept all genres of gaming, then you should see that this game feels aged in a bad way. Either way this game has its ups and downs.
The story in the game is very weak, and for the most part, remains the same from begining to end with only a few small plot twists that don't change much. Shu, Jiro, Kluke, Marumaro and Zola use their magical shadows to fight against Nene, who's a bad guy that wants to cause pain and suffering. Through every moment of the game, it's the same story over and over again. Arrive a a village, Nene did something, fix it. Rinse, lather, repeat until the game is beaten. While you do this you listen to Shu do his own Naruto impression with the same line, "I won't give up" being repeated constantly. The story feels so aged that it could easily seem like you're playing an SNES RPG when following the story.
Everyone claims that Blue Dragon is an amazing looking game that really pushes the limits of the Xbox 360, but honestly, I just don't see it. The game is pretty, no doubt, but it has its problems from being as great as claimed. First of all, there are the character models. They may look good on paper, but Akira Toriyama's artwork was never meant to be in the third dimension. The characters look too cartoonish and awkward, that they do not fit in a 3D world. Then there's the lighting effect, which gets incredibly annoying. With every little step you take, the lighting on each object changes that it looks like hours are passing by, and it looks terrible in some aspects, such as with trees. Other than that the game is very pretty and nice to look at, even if it doesn't seem like its pushing the limits of the 360.
The voice acting in this game is...okay. If you've played a lot of JRPGs with voice acting, chances are you know what you're getting yourself into with a few good voice actors topped with plenty of horrible ones. On the musical side, Nobuo Uematsu does do a pretty decent job with the score, though it is not as memorable as any of his Final fantasy games. Still there are definitely a few notable songs worth hearing throughout the game, as well as one horrid one, the boss theme. Thankfully though you can just play any MP3's stored on the 360's hard-drive anytime you're fighting a boss.
The gameplay isn't too bad for the game, but like much of this game, it just feels aged, like it's an SNES game. There are only a few commands for each character to use, with very simplistic interactivity, consisting of a bar that charges up. You hold down A and the bar charges up, and where on the bar you let go determines the power of the attack, as well as a few other aspects. Outside of this is a job system, which is very disappointing when you consider this is from the creator of Final Fantasy V. There are nine jobs that can be broken down into 4 classes. There's the fighter: Sword Master, Monk, Defender. The mages: Black Magic, White Magic, Barrier Magic, Support Magic. Thief: Assassin. Jack of all trades: Generalist. The abilities of each are very predictable and unimpressive. This is easily what makes the game feel so aged, it's lack of depth and customization of the job system.
This game is truly an 16-bit RPG in disguise of a 360 game, which is a blessing for any lover of 16-bit RPGs. However, the game truly shows that it is aged and may not seem worth it for someone expecting a real current gen RPG.
Rent or buy?
The game will take about 40 hours to beat, and has some replayability (achievments that can be missed the first time around, and a downloadable hard mode), so it'd be best to buy this game instead of attempting to rent it. If Blue Dragon doesn't seem appealing enough to buy, then just skip it altogether and attempt at another RPG for the 360.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/13/08
Game Release: Blue Dragon (US, 08/28/07)
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