This one’s a classic-style Japanese RPG on the Xbox 360. Japanese developers have mainly ignored Microsoft’s console and stuck to making games for the PS2 but this one, even before its release in Japan, was being hailed as the big RPG for Microsoft which should change the attitudes of all you RPG-ers out there.
It’s got the dudes who created Final Fantasy, wrote the music and the character designer who worked on the Dragon Quest games and the cult classic Chrono Trigger so it better be good.
The game begins with a big purple cloud rolling over a small village with a Land Shark hot on its heels coming for a feed. All the villagers run to safety as this happens once every ten years, but your heroes stay at ground level to fight the beasty. They then trap it, get spirited away to some ancient ruins, learn it’s actually a machine controlled by a nasty man and go on a quest to fight other monsters, level up and eventually defeat him.
What you get here is a very standard RPG with traditional values that won’t make you gasp with any originality, however it is beautifully designed, has a solid turn-based combat and leveling up system and a couple of neat touches you haven’t seen before.
When it comes to exploring dungeons it’s great that you don’t have random battle encounters. If you like you can hunt down all the monsters first of all and then be free to explore without being jumped. A really cool thing is the ability to fight more than one monster at a time, and drag them into battles with creatures they don’t like, so they fight each other as well as you and make the battle much easier.
Each character has a mythical beast living in their own shadow which you can call upon to attack physically and magically. It would be nice if they had their own HP and MP but here they just serve to be another way to attack in battle.
Graphically this game sits in a strange place. All the characters look like they would in a 3D anime cartoon but almost look like they’re plastic toys, their expressions rarely changing in-game. It’s something you’ll have to get used to but is still very pleasing on the eye.
When all’s said and done you’ll get a lot of RPG hours if you get this game. Just don’t expect too many surprises along the way. It may once again be a little but too much for Western gamers but if you like your games very Japanesey and you want it on the 360, now’s your chance to fill your boots.
Blue Dragon gets a very respectable 7 out of 10.