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  Blue Dragon - Xbox 360

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Mr007
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Registration date : 2010-12-24

PostSubject: Blue Dragon - Xbox 360    Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:06 pm

Blue Dragon - Xbox 360 (2007)



Back when I was seven I remember losing hours upon hours of my life to one of the best games I have ever played. Final Fantasy VII was deep, with well developed characters and a plot that kept you hooked right up until the rewarding finale. In those days I was madly in love with JRPG's. I've always been a fan of Japanese culture, and their games were no different. But if that's the case then how have all my beliefs changed around like the flick of a switch? Why do I now see JRPG's in the same light as hernias? I blame one game. Blue Dragon.

Picture the scene. I'm standing in this GAME store, holding Blue Dragon in one hand and Stuntman: Ignition in the other. Both games are pre-owned, reduced to around 20 and I'm spending ages deciding which one to get. In my moment of weakness a clerk comes up to me and asks if I'm having trouble. So I say to him, 'I'm not sure which of these to get, which would you prefer?' I'm not sure if the man was an idiot or he was punishing me for my insolence, but he said that Blue Dragon would be his choice. So like the lemming I am I bought the game and trundled home to play it.

Now I should really start the review section of the review, and as the story has gotten to the point of me playing, I think it would be a good place to start. The game places you in the shoes of a pre-pubescent brat called Shu, who is completely un-stereotypical in the fact that he lost his parents and lives with his grandpa in a village that is under constant threat of attack in a world that is divided into islands which, for some reason, all have drastically different climates. Shu and his two friends; Jiro (the smart one) and Kluke (the girly girl one) are the main protagonists, but are soon joined by Marumaro (the obligatory animal one) and Zola (the tomboy one). Together they make Team Trope, defending the world from the evil Nene, a villain who looks about as scary as cardboard box. A really old cardboard box. With glasses. To be honest that's pretty much what he is. His personality isn't as deep as a puddle and as far as I can tell his motive for being evil is because he can.


Team Trope, to the rescue!

After about 20 minutes that might as well have been cutscene the characters are granted magic powers in the form of their shadows becoming super animals that fight for them, and also give a name for the game. Yup, Shu's shadow is a Blue Dragon. Hooray, now I can start playing the game properly. It turns out there are two types of levelling your character, you level the person and the shadow. The person controls health and MP and the Shadow controls abilities. But wait, the shadow can also be upgraded in nine different classes to open up loads of different combinations. It sounds like a good idea, but the different classes are open to all your shadows, so after a while there are no defined characters. You don't have a good melee fighter, or a magic fighter, or a healer, because all of the shadows can do everything.

It's a shame, because this game could have been so much more. It had an all star cast of developers, and yet it failed. The story was created by Hironobu Sakaguchi who penned the first five Final Fantasies, Akira Toriyama from Dragon Ball doing the character design and the creatures developed by the person from Chrono Trigger. It reminds me of X-Men 3. They had an amazing cast of actors, writers and producers and they produced that pile of horse manure. It's almost as if they thought "stuff it, with a team this good we can't lose. Let's put no effort in, it doesn't matter. No matter what we throw out, it'll be made of gold".


'You know, we'd be buggered if we didn't have these deus ex machina shadows!'

Visually it's very good, with the graphics and sounds polished and easy on the eyes, and I could sit and listen to the music for hours. The soundtrack reminds me so much of Final Fantasy VII, that if I closed my eyes and tried really hard then I could probably believe that I'm playing that game, but then the question arises of why I'm not playing that game. I want to like the monsters, because most of them are original and interesting. Like when you fight a Fire Wolf Ghost and an Ice Wolf Ghost at the same time you dont just fight the monsters, they react with each other and turn into ordinary Wolf Ghosts. And another thing they've added is the gimmick that if you get in a fight with certain enemies, then they'll attack between themselves, like a food chain. But those points are destroyed by the ridiculous, childish crap that they have put as some of the enemies. Poo snakes? I'm not even kidding. The game can't be good if it hands out 30gamerscore for 'Finding and defeating the rare monster, King Poo.'


A screencap to prove that I am not making his name up.

Oh, the achievements. You get most of the gamerscore through grind killing enemies so you can level up your shadows to level 99. All of them. Then you have to level them to level 99 in all nine of the different classes. Now that might not sound too bad, but let me put it into perspective. I've been playing the game for around six hours, and my shadows are around level 8ish, in 3 different classes. Now I can't even be bothered to do the maths to work out the time it would take, so you can be sure that I wouldn't try all that. Also, there are achievements for mashing the A button as fast as you can. I tried the first point around ten times, I mashed it so hard that my finger bled for god's sake, and I couldn't get it right! There are also some points to be won for collecting some stuff, fighting all the enemies in the game and generally spending every waking moment of your life wallowing in the glow of the tv rather than being in the sun and meeting real people. Actually, I wouldn't do that anyway, but at least I don't play this game when I'm locked up inside!


This screenshot makes the game look cool. Shame it's so misleading.

So all in all, I think if you want a taste of JRPG's then don't go anywhere near this game. If you are a big fan of JRPG's, then don't go near this game. In fact, only touch this game if you spend too much time playing JRPG's and you want to stop loving them. If so, go and play Final Fantasy VII, then you'll know what a real JRPG is like and you'll never want to play another again. Hey, maybe that's why I don't like them.

[SIZE="4"]Score: 3.5/10[/SIZE]

On a side note, Stuntman: Ignition is a much better game and I wish I'd chosen it over Blue Dragon.

[SIZE="3"]Written by[/SIZE] - Exostaff

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