Blue Dragon Reviews

  • Crimson DrifterCrimson Drifter839,244
    11 Jul 2009
    40 7 3
    Blue Dragon, a turn-based classic JRPG developed by Mistwalker and published by Microsoft Game Studios.

    Story and Characters

    Blue Dragon throws you into the shoes of young Shu, Shu is from a small mountain village that is occasionally attacked by a being known as the Land Shark and is accompanied by a "purple mist". After his village is destroyed by the latest attack Shu and his friends embark on a quest to find the source of this purple mist and destroy whatever is behind it.

    That is the main plot of the story, the cause of the purple mist turns out to be a being known as Nene who is wreaking havoc on towns and cities looking for a potion that would grant him immortality so he could cause war and reinvent the world with magic.

    Adorned with predictable plot twists and flat characters, the story is sub-par at best, but it gets the job done.

    You will get an additional 4 characters joining your party: Friends of Shu: Jiro and Kluke, as well as two other characters you pick up along your journey: Zola and Marumaro.

    Although the characters do have some depth to them, they come across as very bland, generic, and cliched. I never once connected on any level with them, as for the most part I just didn't care. Poor character development, period.

    6/10



    Gameplay

    Blue Dragon's battle mechanics are pretty basic, but solid. While traversing the world map and dungeons, enemies are roaming around. To initiate battle you simply run into them or you can avoid them if need be.

    Battle is solely turned based, battle order is based on your characters and enemies speed stat. Unlike other RPG systems, BD's "weapons" are your characters shadows. Each characters shadow can be assigned a slew of classes, from magic casters, to defensive, to offensive, to speed. During battle you will earn XP which will level up your character levels, as well as SP, which will level up your shadows and allow them to learn new skills, which you then equip to be used in battle.

    Only problem with this system is that there is no character variation at all, the characters end up not being unique in any way, which is a real bummer and doesn't help with the poor character development.

    The only thing you actually equip are accessories; weapons and armor are non-existent in this game.

    7/10

    Music and SE

    Blue Dragon does have some great music, composed by Final Fantasy music vet Nobuo Uematsu. The boss battle theme is also very unique (yet cheesy), with vocals by Deep Purple's front man Ian Gillian.

    Sound effects are your typical RPG fair and fit the anime style quite nicely.

    Voice acting could have been better, bland voices mixed with some annoying ones (Marumaro anyone?) sometimes its hard to know if the characters are being serious or not.

    Overall with such great music and decent SE this section prevails.

    9/10

    Achievements

    Sadly the achievement list is quite poor and only a handful of cheevos will be obtained through normal game progression. The majority involve a lengthy addition to the game inlcuding: fighting every monster, obtaining every item, leveling all characters shadows to 99, level characters to level 99, etc.

    If looking for easy points, this is not the way to go. Most achievements will require dedication and plenty of time. All the achievements though can be obtained in one playthrough, but make sure and do some research and get some online guides before jumping in.

    For a casual playthrough you are looking at around 30 hours, with a full 1000 you are looking at around 70 hours.

    7/10

    Overall

    Blue Dragon has its ups and downs. With a simple and solid battle system, great music, and decent plot. Unfortunately its flaws take it down significantly, especially the poor character development and super time consuming achievement list will deter completionists and casual gamers alike.

    If looking for a classic turn-based RPG and a challenging achievement list this is the game for you, if not your time will best be put elsewhere.

    Overall Score

    7/10 = 4 stars
    4.0
    Showing all 3 comments.
    UlteriorDesertVery nice review, but have to diagree with you on the most important part. The boss theme is the most epic one around you just want to fight when you hear it.
    Posted by UlteriorDesert on 15 Jul 10 at 16:17
    Yuhansthis is the beginning!!! umpa umpa
    Posted by Yuhans on 13 Jan 11 at 16:35
    Nice review, sums up my early thoughts on the game. I played Mistwalkers games out of order, Lost Odyssey is still one of my favourite 360 games of all, I loved every minute. Blue Dragon takes a different approach, more child friendly, which is both a blessing and a curse. I like the light hearted characters, I don't however like the voice work (esp. Marumaro). I am going for the 1k on my run, playing as I type this, and I can see that it'll possibly become tedious at some point. Thumbs up from me +1
    Posted on 14 Feb 12 at 21:34
  • Tasty PastryTasty Pastry343,866
    31 Mar 2009
    31 7 2
    I'm in review mode so here it goes. This game is Blue Dragon. If you've played final fantasy or paper mario the gameplay is slightly similar. The game is littered with cutscenes and cinematics that translate into some large story. Inbetween these you have fights with monsters in an attempt to reach different points in the game and level up. The gameplay goes as such. You walk up to an enemy. Battle commences. Each of your characters attacks individually/uses items/defends and the enemy does the same. Turn order is dependent on a speed stat, how much damage you do on an attack stat, etc.

    The idea behind the game's plot is that there is this one "evil being" who is trying to take over the world (novel idea). He wants all the power for himself, wants to restore magic as a dominating force, wants to bring war. You are a 10 (?) year old kid with his friends who wants to give the player of the game a good feeling about themselves as they try to "save the world from evil". You do this by using your shadow, which is a dragon.
    Yup.

    Despite how ridiculous this sounds, the game is actually rather fun. I am biased in that Paper Mario and Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door (for the N64 and Gamecube respectively) are my favorite games, and the battle style / storyline is similar in format.
    If you're looking for constant play this game isn't for you. You have to watch the cut scenes to really know what's going on. Admittedly the story is really kind of lame and the dialogue is absolutely horrible (comes out of a 10 year old kid's mouth, what do you expect). The plot twists are pretty easy to see in advance. But the graphics are solid, the gameplay is exceptional in my opinion. and the game is really open ended. Although there is structure so you're not always thinking to yourself "where do I go next", you can do things out of order without any real harm.
    The in game achievements are really interesting. See all the monsters, collect all the items, etc really take time and dedication to the game, which is really rewarding if you do get it.
    There are achievements for metagaming too, including killing dragons who are similar to the types of bosses you'd find in extraneous dungeons in Zelda.

    Here's the biggest complaint I have personally and have read (besides the lame plot, but that's part of the lameness in playing this game, so it isn't a complaint). Anyway, this is it: Since you can decide which "dragon shadow class" you want to level up on each person (as in you can choose whether each person should specialize in being a medic/healer, physical attacker, special move attacker, barrier creator/protector), each person is so interchangable that the personalities of each character are kind of lost in battle, which is extremely important to the development of the story.

    You wont be able to beat this game through a single rental, especially if you are going for even half of the achievements. If you feel it's your type of game, buy it. Apparently there is new DLC that lets you continue the game after you've "beaten" the story with your characters at the level they were at the "end" of the game through any of the thirty save points you've created. I never got around to it before I had to give the game back.

    Game for the really dedicated gamer who likes games based on basic strategy, leveling up, and a deeply entrenched plot. If it doesn't sound like the game for you, it honestly probably isn't.
    4.0
  • the psychopa7hthe psychopa7h834
    17 Sep 2012 17 Sep 2012
    16 3 6
    Blue Dragon was one of those impulse buys that I didn’t really put any thought into. I kept seeing it being sold around GAME stores for under a fiver and gave in eventually and bought it. Even if it was pretty rubbish, I would have been able to say I didn’t waste much on it. It’s probably one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made!

    I started the game expecting a pretty poor attempt at making a Final Fantasy style game and while it reminded me a lot of the Final Fantasy series, it went above and beyond all my expectations.
    To begin with, the storyline is really good. It keeps you wanting to know the next bit and though the game is long, it keeps you hooked. I’ve almost finished and I’ve played it for 50+ hours altogether since I bought it. An hour here and there really does add up and you won’t realise you’ve played so much. The gameplay is also really good.
    The battle system is very well setup, adding a number of things I haven’t seen before and others that just haven’t been done as well as Blue Dragon does it. The fact you can battle multiple monsters (I’ve done 6 different sets in one go!) is really fun. You also get bonuses between each multi battle you do, such as extra hp, more mana and faster movement, which is really useful. The magic moves are also really good and you can unlock some pretty awesome ones by the end of the game. Each character also has a special signature move, though I never seem to be in battles long enough to use them!
    As with other RPG’s, you can equip a number of different items which help you in a number of ways on the battlefield. I found the system reasonably well put together though I found that comparing items could be a bit daunting if you had a number of them.
    You also get a lot of freedom in the later stages of the game so you can go back easily and get stuff you’ve missed. There really is loads of stuff to do in the game so you will always be doing something! One problem is that it does take a while to level up in later levels and it is not easy to unlock gamer points. If you buy games to get gamer points, this is NOT the game for you. I have 30 after 50+ hours of play! I don’t buy games for the gamer points though so I don’t mind.

    Graphically, the game is reasonably competent. The cut scenes are pretty cool and the in-game graphics are decent. They are nothing special but then there is such a thing as pushing graphics too far on games like this. It’s easy to see and manoeuvre your character around and easy to see what you are doing. The only problem I found was with the map system, which could be a bit confusing at times.
    The sound track is also pretty repetitive, to the point when I just turned it off and put on my own music instead. I can’t deal with the same music over and over again and that is what happened. (though the battle music is pretty cool) Having said that, you don’t buy these sort of games for the epic sound track.

    Graphics 8.5

    Pretty good graphics. They suit the game and the scenery and area design is well thought out.

    Gameplay 9.5

    Great fun and very addictive. The missions are all great fun and it’s very satisfying to see your characters grow in strength.

    Sound 5.0


    Very repetitive though the music isn’t actually that bad. You’re best off turning the sound off though.

    Longevity 9.5

    This is a long, long game but it keeps you going for the duration.

    Overall 9.0

    IMHO
  • king jigglehking jiggleh17,258
    31 May 2018 31 May 2018
    2 0 0
    I'm gonna try to rate this game the best I can, as I've never written a review on a game before. I suppose I should start with some background; Blue Dragon was created by Sakaguchi, Uematsu, and Toriyama: The RPG Dream Team. This is the same coalition that made Chrono Trigger, which is widely regarded to be the best RPG of all time. Personally, I've never been too keen on RPGs. They seem like a neat genre, but the huge timesink turns me off. Blue Dragon strangely intrigued me though...

    So, Blue Dragon is a very basic RPG. This isn't to discredit it, however; Blue Dragon's design principle was to streamline the basic RPG formula as a whole. If you research the history of RPGs and go back to the very first Dragon Quest game, the same idea was strived for there as well. Streamlining is often conflated with simplicity, and simplicity is treated as undesirable in the eyes of veteran gamers. So what does Blue Dragon do to streamline basic turn-based mechanics? Well for starters, there's mechanics like field skills and the encounter ring. Field Skills are abilities that allow you to do things like; instantly kill previously fought enemies with the field barrier, or hide from enemies by turning invisible. Helpful "power-ups" that are indeed useful if you're going for all achievements for this game. The encounter ring is a fairly large enclosing you can summon at will that groups together each enemy in the ring. This also pauses time. These are examples of 'streamlining' basic RPG gameplay to make the process less meandering; There are a few design quirks this game has that stain that idea though.

    For one, this game follows the generic RPG trope of having large dungeons where everything looks the same. Structural layouts are hardly any different and you're only able to memorize dungeons due to enemy layout, which isn't easy to cultivate. It's not easy to remember the unique layouts of enemies and paths because the compass is almost functionally useless. For whatever reason, the compass used shifts it's north arrow whenever you enter a dungeon. If the compass was consistent on the field, this wouldn't be an issue, but on the field, the compass swings rapidly back and forth and isn't very useful. Secondly, the class system. I really love this class system, I looked at how other RPGs handled team members, and this is by far my favorite system. There is one, horrible thing this game has done though; The Generalist class. The Generalist class has no reason to exist. In this game, you level up classes in order to gain new skills. You are essentially forced into grinding the Generalist class as early as you can though. This is because the Generalist class is the only way to allow your character to gain more skill slots and equip special accessories. This is clearly a design choice meant for adding baggage and could've easily been implemented to a character's regular leveling system. Excuse me if this sounds like whining on part of a few game mechanics; but when you realize that you'll spend 40-110 hours with this game, small flaws on paper become massive, glaring issues.

    Blue Dragon attempted to spice up basic turn-based gameplay in order to make the game more appealing. What the developers did was add a progress bar. Similar to Grandia, all characters on the field take turns on a progress bar. Multiple things dictate who goes first, agility being the main factor. However, in Blue Dragon, most attacks are ones you can charge. Employing the basic risk/reward design principle, charging an attack or spell takes more time, and whether or not you can afford that depends on the situation. I like this because, in conjunction with how ruthless certain postgame bosses are, it adds a sense of urgency even when you're above a recommended level facing a certain boss. In terms of game balance, I'd sell it's alright. Like everything else with this game save for graphics and sound, it's just 'OK'. There are many basic spells you can cast, Magical and Physical attacks have their strengths and weaknesses; There's nothing outstanding or negative you could say about this.

    On the Graphics and Sound side, Blue Dragon is one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360. It also has one of my favorite soundtracks- in video games ever. Uematsu is a total beast, and this is possibly his greatest work to date.

    This review is rather long at this point, you may be wondering about the story- I haven't mentioned it yet because there really isn't anything to talk about. Characters, for the most part, remain entirely static, delivering lines that are essentially just observations the player could make for himself. It's a generic RPG story, from "Back in Ancient Times, everyone used Magic" to "lol magic war" all the way to the game's conclusion. I actually liked the ending, it's a very odd ending. The ideas and concepts are definitely cool though, although this game is still missing it's 'hook'.

    As for Achievements, I don't recommend achievement hunting! This game has items you can completely miss, and the only option is to start a new game plus run or new game altogether. You have to be prepared for basically everything, yet there are boring grinding achievements thrown in there as well. It took me 90 hours to complete both the monster record and the item record, the hardest achievements to actually get. The complete item record entails getting every accessory, every shop item, and every key item. That last part is difficult due to certain NPC sidequests being hard to actually understand. The Complete Monster Record involves beating two optional super bosses, the Golden Mecha Robo and the King Poo. These are two achievements that are worthy challenges, and I had a lot of fun getting them...

    What wasn't fun was grinding for a total of 27 hours though. It was the only way to Max Rank all Classes and all Levels. These aren't good achievements mainly because you have to go for far out of your way to get them- and they aren't even fun or conducive at all.

    Overall, Blue Dragon is a very middling game. I still really enjoy it for Toriyama's art style charm, it's music, and it's narrator:
    raNK UP! NEW SKILL
    3.5