Review by Grandstream

"A Fair and Traditional JRPG Experience Graces the 360"

Blue Dragon is the first major project undertaken by newly formed company Mistwalker, headed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creative genius behind the acclaimed Final Fantasy series. A project with Sakaguchi at the helm and with support from Nobuo Uematsu, the musical composer for the Final Fantasy series, and Akira Toriyama, the creator of the Dragon Ball series and various character designs for the recent Dragon Warrior/Quest series and Chrono Trigger, it has seen a major fan base in Japan. Released in December 2006 in the 'Land of the Rising Sun', Blue Dragon drove a pivotal stake in the failure of 360 sales and drove bundles that saw major sales for the Japanese front for Microsoft. And in August 2007, Blue Dragon released in the United States (as well as various other nations).

A demo was released a couple of weeks prior to the game's intended release date to provide eager customers with a hint of the game's mechanics and graphics. The demo boasted mixed reviews from the gamers, claiming that the game had not lived up to standards, from the characters being too boring to a very slow and hardly progressive storyline. However, the final version proved to be something a bit more different.

Several magazines released average reviews for the game, promising that the game boasted a 'too traditional' gaming experience for an RPG when it was intended, even by Sakaguchi, to be a traditional experience in order to appeal to the Japanese gamers initially. But the game is not without its American fans. Many have claimed that the game proved to be a decent game, even enjoyable. With a sense of personal satisfaction, I agree that the game delivers a fair traditional gaming experience.

Playing as Shu, a young boy who embarks with his two friends, Jiro and Kluke, on a journey to rescue their families from a mysterious darkness that spreads across the land (as many classic rpgs have also built their stories upon), they soon find a great adventure that gives them two new allies, Zola and Marumaro, and a new enemy, Nene, throughout a great world that spans across 3 discs (yes, 3 discs for a 360 game). Although the main reasons for so many discs is that the game provides moderately detailed graphics, an rpg storyline that lasts for an average of 50-60 hours, and many CG segments; also, Sakaguchi was notorious when he worked at Square Enix for many successful Final Fantasy installments on the Playstation that pushed the graphics to multi-disc treatment for games.

Overall, a traditional rpg on the Xbox 360 proves that great entertainment does not rely solely on region, but also the minds that go into producing it. Blue Dragon demonstrates a decent experience that does benefit a try from many who seek something 'old school'.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/04/07

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

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