Review by Jeff AKA Snoopy
New School Look, Old School Game
Maybe it was a bit too much to hope for, another Chrono masterpiece. Blue Dragon brought back the creators of Chrono Trigger to try and make the 360 viable in Japan, and give it a true 360-only RPG that mattered. It did it, but by the skin of its teeth.
This is probably the only part of the game I can honestly give a thumbs down to. I've never expected an overly great story from your typical style JRPG, but this takes the cake. You start off with 3 of the most annoying characters, cliche archtypes if I've ever seen them before. A large menace attacking their village, the brave one rushes in recklessly (with a repeated phrase which really grinds on you), the smart one tells him to be careful, and the tragic heroine helps out some too. However, when you're trying to attack something that destroys everything it runs into rather easily, you wonder why 10 year olds are so stupid. From there, things develop slowly, so very slowly. While this is probably due in part to the grinding you have to do in typical old school fashion, it really does just plod along for at least the first 10 or so hours. Characters you won't like, typical story lines which just don't do it anymore, and really, even if you expected this sort of thing... you'd STILL be disappointed.
The game does finally shine however, once you get to the fighting and what have you. It's a job system... system. While they do nothing to break the mold, they do everything you have to, to make a good job system. Each one has its role, and you can see it plain as day. The White Mage heals, the warrior does damage, the support magic makes you tough. It's done in a way that rewards you for doing battle, and you have enough time between learning newer classes, to really get 3 done moderately well, or 2 done quite well. Also, in the field itself, you can see the enemies, duck most of them with little trouble, and you can also create a field and have more than one group of monsters in a skirmish. This will benefit you sometimes, as one type of monster will attack the other type... leaving you with an easy time of picking off the rest. In fact, the only real problem is that it's a little TOO easy. You could basically keep your 4 essential job types, and you'll breeze thru most of the game.
This is Akira Toriyama afterall, you know what to expect. The anime look is perfect, and looks great with your 360. While it's nothing ground breaking, it's exactly what you would expect, and want, from AT. The characters are great, the surrounding environments look great, the cut scenes are top notch. The English Voice Acting (yeah, you can switch to the Japanese ones too, good choice) is done well enough, but when you write a character to be annoying, they have to voice act it like that too. Your main character will bug you from moment one, but the rest of the cast is done well enough. The music is a HUGE plus, as it was better than anything I'd have expected. Yes I do realize that this is the same group that did Chrono Trigger, which has a great score behind it as well... but I never figured the music to be the best quality of the game. For those of you who get the soundtracks to their favourite games, this will be one of the ones to buy, no question about it.
The game is a little bare bones. Not alot extra really to do... some backtracking will be required for the completists, as right from the start you're given doors and chests you can't open right away. While there will be alot to do over 3 discs... it doesn't really feel all that "epic" really. It's not a Chrono game, and it's almost like the big three were afraid to take off the training wheels. I am serious when I tell you that most RPG players will breeze thru most of the game, with little or no difficulty at all.
It all depends on what you were expecting. If you were looking for the next great RPG series to begin, it's simply not going to be here. This is no Dragon Quest, or Final Fantasy. It has its strong points, just happens to be "strong" in the wrong places at time. I wouldn't worry if you haven't picked it up right away, just play it when you want that RPG to pass the time, maybe wait to see if you can pick it up for a little less than full price.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Blue Dragon (US, 08/28/07)
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