"Just what this console needed"

Ah, Blue Dragon. A Japanese RPG brought to us by Mistwalker, and about damn time too. If you ask me, this game is just what the XBox 360 needed. Sakaguchi, Toriyama, and Uematsu have brought us a masterpiece.

Plot: 8/10
Every year, a purple mist rolls around to Talta village, and with it comes a mysterious creature that seeks to harrass the villagers, the Land Shark. Shu, Jiro, and Kluke, the first three heroes of the game, set up a plan to capture it and stop it from harming their friends and family. After discovering what he Land Shark truly is, they meet an evil man named Nene, who tricks them and they gain powers they never knew existed.

Sound: 9/10
Each area is wonderfully brought to life by vibrant tunes, thanks to Nobuo Uematsu. The voice acting is terrific, each character's voice seems to fit perfectly, and give them even more personality. While some seem to dislike the boss music, I enjoy it. Only one area in the game has music I really dislike, and that is located in the Sheep camps. Luckily, you aren't in these areas much, so you don't really have to deal with the one bad song in the game.

Graphics: 10/10
The game is absolutely beautiful. The CG cutscenes are gorgeous, and a wonder to look at. Akira Toriyama has done a fantastic job designing the characters, and you will feel instantly at home if you are a fan of Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, and so on. The environments are varied greatly, and you never feel like you're exploring the same place as two hours ago. This is one of the best looking games I have played this year, and I've played a lot of 'em.

Gameplay/Controls: 10/10
The battle system is where this game truly shines. Your characters engage in combat with monster parties off of the battle field, and you can use the encounter ring to pull more than one group of monsters into a battle at once. If you are lucky, this will engage a "Monster Fight" and your foes will proceed to tear eachother a new one. How cool is that? The combat is very fast paced, and never feels boring or repetitive. Outside of combat, the game is also very simple to manage. You move Shu around the map, examining everything you wish, in order to find items, gold, stat boosts, and so on. The controls are a sinch to manage, and you should have no problems at all if you have ever played an RPG.

Definate buy. This game seems very replayable, due to the fact you can pick classes for your characters and you likely won't be able to truly explore each class to it's fullest in one playthrough. The game is also fun enough that I believe your second playthrough would feel nothing like the first.

The reason I gave the game a 9 instead of a 10 is it just takes too long to really take off. The plot doesn't pick up for real until you meet the fourth party member around 9 hours in, but from there on out its a fantastic game. You just have to give this Blue Dragon time, and let it hatch.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/31/07

Game Release: Blue Dragon (US, 08/28/07)

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