Review by DarkDragoonZ
Thank you, oh dear god thank you
Let me just say it one more time. THANK YOU!!!!!!!
It has been a long time since I've played a good, traditional japanese RPG, in this age of hybrid genres and and FPS and sports dominated market. Toriyama, Sakaguchi, and Oematsu can all have a drink on me for this one!
In short, this is a basic and traditional RPG with excellent graphics and a decent storyline. If you are an action obsessed gamer, forget it. If you like stratagy, magic, creepy shadows, and anime... You can't afford not to!
Gameplay is mostly back to basics... In a good way. There are no complex combinations to be entered, no button mashing mini-game special attacks. Just enter what you want them to do, and if they need to charge, you hold the A button until you are satisfied. Wow. Field skills let you avoid combat, attract even more enemies, or get behind them for a sneak attack. And speaking of enemies, the new Monster Fight system allows you to set up incompatible monsters to deal with eachother for you! For example, setting up a insectivorus monster and a bug monster in the same battle will result in the bug being eaten right off!
Content wise, there is plenty. Virtually every object in the game can be examined, though not all have items for you (all though even nothings have a purpose...). People are everywere and in all shapes and sizes, with things usefull, curious and even funny to say. Minigames abound, from simple button mashers to shooters, even a complex ring making game.
The story is very Sakaguchi, with a group of young kids becoming the only force that can stop a very evil man who only likes to here people suffer (sicko). Various contrivances help them meet up with other teammates who will aid their quest, they help out different villages, blah, blah, blah. You know, the usual RPG feel good line. Oddly, it never felt tired, more like a reminder of all the good RPGs from my past...
Visuals are gorgeous, but not in the way Bioshock or Skate are. Every monster, villager, item, vehicle, and object looks and feels like Akira Toriyama was able to directly transfer the images in his mind into a digital format, and place it before you. Even spells, though simplistic in appearance, look appropriate, growing larger as the spell level increases.
All told, I'd give it a ten, but it seems to fall a little short in terms of innovation. As overjoyed as I am to have a more traditional RPG on a next-gen console, even the monster fights just don't seem to bring enough new material to really warrant a major bonus there. Everything else is darn near perfect though.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Blue Dragon (US, 08/28/07)
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