Published Oct 09, 2007Next gen meets old school in Blue Dragon, the new RPG for the Xbox 360. The simple game-play and straightforward storyline mingle with high-end cartoon style graphics to create a game that seems out of place amongst current console RPGs such as Oblivion and Final Fantasy XII.
Story wise, Blue Dragon follows in similar footsteps to creator Hironobu Sakaguchis other famous RPG franchise, Final Fantasy. A group of young adventurers are whisked away from their primitive village only to discover that a secret high-tech world of machines exists. At the same time, they develop magical abilities that allow them to fight off strange creatures. The plot isnt a deep one, just over-excited bad guys and good guys yelling animé style at one another, mixed with point blank, almost condescending monologues explaining what the player has to do next.
The actual game play of Blue Dragon is somewhat shallow, requiring no particular skill or forethought to succeed. The group of adventurers you control moves from point A to B to C in a linear fashion, unable to explore the seemingly immense world of the three-disc-long game. During your travels youre encouraged to search rocks, tree stumps, pots, cupboards and boxes to find gold and items. This tedious task is accomplished by repeatedly pressing the A button as you stand next to obstacles. The combat system is the all too familiar, repetitive, turn-based monotony that has been in use since the days of the NES and has lately been abandoned by many RPG makers in favour of action-oriented active combat systems.
A word of caution to anyone who has to play this game on a Standard Definition television: some of the text is quite difficult to read without Hi-Def visuals. None of the performance sensitive text (conversation bubbles, inventory, menu. etc.) is affected by this issue but it is nonetheless aggravating to have to scan your inventory to figure out what item you just picked up.
Modern gamers used to large, open-ended worlds, complex plots, thought provoking strategy and general gaming excitement might find the spoon-fed experience of Blue Dragon a little hard to swallow. However, if you are a fan of RPG games, like old fashioned game play, enjoy repeatedly pressing the A button on your controller and above all, are desperate to fill many, many hours of your time, this game provides a lot of bang for your gaming buck. (Microsoft Game Studios)