Past Entertainment Articles.

Article for the week of 9/30/07


Toggled Review [A Digital Spoof Poking]
Blue Dragon for the XBOX 360
By, Ezra Paul Mann (Editor and Master Button Presser)

Once in a pixilated azure moon RPG fans are reminded that there are actually role playing adventures that donít feature the word final or fantasy. (Not that Iím condemning the 13 or so titles of said franchise) These games that may not ever see a sequel or 15 have at times been some of the greatest hours sacrificed in front of monitors and television screens. Lagging a bit in the quest game field the XBOX entertainment field delivered a few decent offerings, but nothing that quite pulled in fans like those from Nintendo and Sony. Then, the XBOX 360 arrived and now the odds appear to be gaining on the Microsoft side of the table. The reason this may be so comes in the form of Blue Dragon.
When I first saw this title and read the description my first thoughts went back to the days of Chrono Trigger and Breath of Fire. (Which was partly due to the fact that some of the art and game design are done by some of the same people) This had me instantly exited being that those two rank at the top of my RPG list. Yet, I held back any notions that may warp an honest review and dove headfirst into the game pool. It was like I was born again into a world that I thought had left the digital role playing spectrum. To put it bluntly, I was hooked from the first battle.
Now Iím not going fan boy and saying itís the best game of all time, but I can think of a very long list of previous mock RPGs that couldnít hold a magic wand up to this game. Blue Dragon focuses on five young individuals by the name of Shu, Jiro, Kluke, Zola and Marumaro. Shu, Jiro and Kluke know each other from the village of Talta and they meet up with the other two later on. Basically they all eventually join forces to rid the world of a collection of badasses. But, letís not get too far ahead and give away too many spoilers.
I will say that this game is right on par with some of the best and has potential to join the classic ranks. Heck, if any of you out there need another good reason to get a 360, I promise that this one will give you plenty. Blue Dragon comes with three disks and with all the side quests can provide for more than 60 hours of game play. (I almost have 80 and Iíve yet to find every single hidden tidbit) Your characters can stick to good old fashioned physical attacks or spells, but instead of doing the fighting with typical weaponry the whole way through, you get these really cool magical shadows. These shadows only get better as you play through the story.
Other parts to the game that are rather neat is the actual battle system within Blue Dragon. It is turn based fighting, but you can set it up to engage multiple enemies and depending on how you engage the enemy, change the battle setup itself. If the enemy is big enough in the game you get to see awesome video clips which arenít in short supply, yet arenít too many to handle either. The main bad guy is even evil enough to warrant players bulking up their levels. (Unless you like getting stomped back to the start screen repeatedly) And, just in case you change your mind right before a fight you arenít trapped to the point of no return for most encounters.
Though they are few and up to interpretation, there are a few negative sides to the game. The biggest thing that was a wee bit confusing was that the story felt like it almost jumped or left out something at times. It was never enough to ruin any part of it, I just felt like I wanted to know more than I was given. Another thing that was a bit annoying was that some of the later main bad guys were easier to defeat than the side quest baddies. Other than a cheesy Japanese anime moment here and there those are the only things I felt were worth warning future players about.
All in all, the game was worth the time and money I spent on it. This title had everything you need for a RPG to run smoothly and keep you glued from save point to check point. The storyline was well planned out, the plot was digestible, the characters amusing and tolerable and the main game itself never frustrated the process. I can honestly say that this is a must play game and an excellent start to what could be an awesome RPG future for the XBOX line. After much satisfaction from a picky role playing fan I give Blue Dragon for the XBOX 360 four level ups out of five.




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