A Glimpse at Blue Dragon
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04-04-13 12:04 PM
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POST EXP: 76346
LVL EXP: 2223895
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Blue Dragon's design was based on design work from the acclaimed Final Fantasy series creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Who was also a part of the development, and wrote the plot to this amazing game. Being Mistwalker's debut title, it was the first game on the Xbox 360 to use multiple discs, offering you three in total.
Plot - Blue Dragon takes place in a wide open fictional world environment, for the last ten years giant purple clouds have been filling the sky, bringing disaster on people all over the world. For years a terrifying monster people have come to know as the "Land Shark", as well as many other forms of dangerous technologies like the "Sea Cubes" have been following in the mysterious clouds path. When this happens it causes devastating damage to towns and cites all over the globe, and takes many lives from the peaceful people living on it. The world is split up into various regions, each containing many towns and kingdoms, some of which are not located on the main paths you take. But each holds small stories that bring you things like giants, sheep tribes and hidden dungeons. The story circles around five friends, Shu, Jiro, Kluke, Zola and Marumaru. Together they travel across this vast land in order to defeat the evil Nene, ruler of the terrible Grand Kingdom. Armed with their magical shadows, they encounter many dangerous locations and challenges along the way, to get ever closer to their goal of ridding the world of Nene's dark power, and restoring peace to the land free of evil and corruption.
Story - The story starts you off in Shu's home town of Talta Village, where the ominous purple clouds have appeared. While the villagers all seek shelter on high ground to avoid the attacks of the Land Shark, Shu and Jiro attempt to slow down the vicious monster, laying ruin to their home. After facing a little trouble, Kluke jumps in and saves Shu and Jiro, together the three trap the Land Shark in a net, that they had been tirelessly working on. However, this was to no avail, as the Land Shark manages to break free and flees from the battle, with Shu, Jiro and Kluke hanging on for dear life to its back. Eventually, the Lnad shark comes to a stop in some ancient underground ruins, that the three young heroes begin to explore. It is here they discover that the creature they have been fearing for so many years, is actually a machine, otherwise known as a "Mechat". With no warning, the machine springs to life, this time heading for the skies, once again with Shu, Jiro and Kluke clinging to its back.
The party arrive at a giant mechat base, floating high up in the clouds, and are thrown into the throne room of the of Nene, the evil mastermind behind all of this disaster. Nene goes on to tell the team how much he enjoys the dying screams of the people who are threatened by the Land Shark. This sparks off a battle with the evil menace, but the three are quickly defeated. As a result of this, they get thrown from the base in the sky, and start falling to their doom. But then suddenly a beam of light catches the team, and brings them safely back inside the base. On arrival, the party discover three round glowing orbs in the middle of the room. Out of nowhere, a mysterious voice tells the three children to swallow these strange spheres. Upon hearing this they refuse, and chose to hold on to them encase they need them later. As they attempt to reach another mechat to escape the base, an army of Nene's evil robots appear, forcing them to fight once again. With what seems like a never ending onslaught of robots showing up, and with the strange voice promising the party the wisdom of how to pilot the mechat, the three have no choice but to chance it and swallow the spheres. As they swallow down these strange objects a transformation begins, changing the shape of their shadows into powerful creatures able to destroy the army of robots. After wiping out the mechanical monstrosities, the party escape the base and end up crash landing in the desert.
After familiarizing themselves with their newly gained shadow powers, the three decide to head back to Talta Village. Along the way they encounter a strange little character called Marumaru a member of the Devee Tribe, you are surprised to see that he also commands the ability to control a shadow. He will eventually join you after you help him to save his fellow tribesman from a horrible illness. When you reach the now ruined Talta Village, you discover that the villagers have all evacuated, and are heading for the capital city of Jibral. Upon finding out this news, Shu, Jiro, Kluke and your new team mate Marumaru decide to go after them. Just outside of the city of Jibral, you see the villagers being attacked by vicious monsters, and decide to jump to their aid. Before you have a chance to unleash you shadow powers on the enemy, King Jibral arrives with his forces one of which is Zola, another shadow wielder and quickly eradicates the enemy. The villagers along with your team, are safely escorted into the walls of Jibral. It is here you find out the Kings plan to destroy one of Nene's bases, Shu and his friends offer their help accompanied by Zola, the warriors of Talta Village and Jibral forces, they head out to take down the base and rid the area of its horrible effects. After the base has been taken out of action, the party continues their journey to the north, in search of the evil Nene. When you eventually catch up to Nene, he captures Kluke, and attaches a collar around her neck, which Nene claims will explode. Upon reaching Nene, Zola parts ways with the team, in order to buy them more time to take down this evil tyrant. When the team tries to remove the collar from Kluke, Nene absorbs the party's shadows by attaching collars to all of them. After stripping them of their powers, and placing them upon himself, Nene removes their collars and dispose of them before they can recover. Shu, despite being drained of his magical abilities, unconsciously transports the party to the far off Devour Village.
They quickly discover that Devour Village isn't in the best shape, and they are unable to leave without the use of their magic, because the village is surrounded by evil trees, keeping them as well as the villagers hostage. After a little time goes by, Shu has a sudden realization, and is once again able to call upon the power of his shadow dragon, without the use of the mysterious sphere that allowed him to summon it before. With his power now restored, Shu wipes out the evil tree that has been imprisoning the villagers, and him along with his party are finally able to leave and continue on their journey. In time, all of the party member are able to regain the power of their shadows, with a little bit of hard work.
It is at this part of the game you are reunited with Zola, along with her she has provided a mechat for the team, so that they might continue to hunt down Nene. As you and your party begin the pursuit of Nene in your newly acquired ride, Nene starts up an ancient machine, that divides the world into two hemispheres. With what seems to be thousands of isolated cubes floating around the two parts of the split world, The party pushes forward and tracks Nene to the primitive cube at the core of the disturbance. You along with your friends, journey through the cube eventually reaching Nene's right hand robot General Szabo. After the battle, it is time to face the one you have been chasing for so long, you begin your battle with the evil Nene. As you and your party weaken Nene, information revealing that Zola has been working for Nene all along is shared. And that it was none other than her voice telling the team to swallow the magical shadow spheres. You continue to find out that when Zola was to weak to defend herself, Nene appeared and gave her a shadow, and in return she had to travel to Jibral and be his spy. Despite hearing all of this, the team still care for Zola, and she in turn betrays Nene choosing her friends over him and his evil ways. At this point, Deathroy the strange seemingly harmless looking little creature that has been hovering by Nene's shoulder this whole time, detaches himself from his masters body. He then begins to absorb Nene's remaining life energy and reveals himself to be Destroy, the bio-mechanical weapon. It was he who destroyed the legendary ancients that once tried to bring peace back to the land. The party leaps into action, fighting to take down this evil power. After a long battle, Shu and his friends succeed, and begin their escape from the cube. With the evil threat now diminishing from the world, Shu and company can head back to their homes, and be reunited with their family and friends.
As you can see from what I have written above, the story holds a lot of interesting twists and turns. Flow from each story sequence is smooth, and you don't feel that lag in story exchange between characters, that can happen in some games. This can really make you feel a connection to the story as you play through the game. For players who enjoy a good story, this is a game you will want to try. Besides from what I have already stated, Blue Dragon's story offers much, much more for you in the game to get involved with. A wonderful story, that should captivate you on your own journey through the would of Blue Dragon. I give the story a score of 8/10.
Gameplay - Like many games of this nature, you are free to walk between various locations on the over map. Later gaining the ability to fly, and even teleport to previously visited areas. You as the player take control of a party of characters, but only one is seen when traveling around. Something nice about Blue Dragon, is that you are able to cast magic outside of combat actions, based on each characters abilities. When a battle is initiated, all party members will appear for the fight. Along with this, you have the normal things like visiting new towns and cities, some of which can prove quite prosperous to you. As the game is turn based like many role playing games, combat situations are smooth, and don't rush the player to make their move. When it comes to your inventory, items are easy to use and managing your weapons and skills are simple. You should hold no problem getting used to the over all system, and as a result be able to take full advantage of the game play. Blue Dragon has barley any load time, making entering locations as less irritating time, as many games make you wait a substantial amount of time before the next area loads, allowing you to continue your adventure. As a whole game play is good, and you as the player should be satisfied with the ending result.
Combat - Combat in Blue Dragon sticks to a strict turn based system, I found this to be good in this game as it made the game more interacting to me. The order in which characters attack can vary, depending on each characters respected statistics, so people with higher speed stats than others will generally attack first, unless something is restricting their movement. In some instances, this allows you and your party to attack first in a fight, putting your enemies at a disadvantage.
Some attacks can take set periods of time to initiate, depending on the amount of damage the move can do. Another thing introduced to the battle side of things is the "Charge Attack", a skill used by the "Monk" class. Players using the monk class are able to perform the charge attack at any time, though the longer you charge it the more damage you will be able to inflict. However, the longer the character charges his or her attack, the longer you have to wait before you can attack again. But don't let this put you off, the charge attack can provide crucial hit points against the enemy, especially if you are struggling against a certain one. If you wish, you can charge an attack and strike just before then enemy attacks, or if you chose to, hit the "Sweet Spot" a special red area that appears on the charge bar. This allows you to you to attack a little faster on your next turn, and reduces the wait time as well as a smaller mana cost for the action. Deciding on the right amount of charge, and letting go at the correct moment, can greatly improve the effectiveness of each characters attack during battle.
Another thing the combat offers is the use of "Shadows", along with you standard attacks and skills your characters can use, you will be able to call forth powerful shadows to assist you in battle. There is the Dragon shadow that Shu holds, the Minotaur shadow carried by Jiro, the Phoenix shadow used by Kluke, the Saber-toothed tiger shadow that Marumaru uses and finally the Bat shadow that Zola uses in combat. Each shadow holds special abilities and magic that can help you in combat. Like your characters, your shadows will take on the statistics of your players, for example Shu, Marumaru and Zola are the heavy hitters, so their shadows abilities focus more on full frontal attacks and defense. Where as Jiro and Klukes shadows focus more on magical attacks and healing skills. For this reason, it is better to keep them in the back row, as they can provide you with the support needed in times of crucial healing. A nice thing about the combat system, is that as you get deeper into the game you will be able to assign the character classes of your shadows, this allows you to mix up your battle styles to suit your battle style. Each shadow can only be assigned one character class, so its best to make sure you have the best configuration to have all of your corners covered in a fight. Only active classes may earn levels or ranks, but players are free to switch classes at any time except during combat. As your shadows increase in rank in any class that might be set to them, they will learn new skills that you can then equip to a limited number of skill slots, which you can then use in battle. You can assign shadows previously learned abilities regardless of their current class set up. So if you have a shadow that is set to the "Monk" class but has previously learned the abilities of barrier magic while using that class, you will still be able to set the barrier magic skill. This allows you as the player to pick and chose from any skills that you have learned by any given shadow. Finally, at some point in the game your shadows will gain special attacks, that breaks them free of their shadow bonds and temporarily makes them corporeal. With a newly acquired body, you and your shadow team up and unleash a devastating attack.
And finally we come to the encounters, each enemy you come across in the game is visual on the over-world. So you will gain the choice to engage them or simply run around them, however a refreshing thing to this, is the enemies will suddenly appear in most cases, which can take you by surprise. I found this to be a really good feature to the battle encounter system, as it sometimes forces you to hop into a fight. Besides this, when enemy encounters are involved some you just cant escape, as certain areas have enemies blocking your path, and eradicating them is your only option if you wish to proceed with the game.
The combat as a whole I found to be great fun, selecting the moves you wish to use and deploying them was efficient and simply done. there was no lag in battle actions, which kept you fully fixed in the battles. With a wide range of abilities to make use of battles will rarely get boring, some fights can be long and drawn out, but the experience you receive as a result is worth the effort.
Graphics - The graphics of this game had their moments of beauty, but at times I felt were slightly to cartoon like. This may have been planned, as Blue Dragon is also an anime series, however I found it to be a little damaging to the graphic side of things. Regardless of this, the detail put in to the over-world and city and town locations was impressive, and left me with the urge to explore every nook and cranny to the game. With beautiful scales and some action packed cut scenes to go along with some well done facial expressions, the graphics aren't all that disappointing. They should leave you with a good feel for the game, and hold your interests throughout. I give the graphics a score of 8/10.
Sound - The sound in Blue Dragon was something to enjoy, with music composed and produced by Nobuo Uematsu, who is well known for composing a lot of the music from the amazing Final Fantasy series. You as the player will be treated to some excellent music to accompany your play through. Each location has the perfect music to fit the look, and the general background noises you hear such as birds chirping, although a small thing added to the over all experience you have while playing. The voice acting within the game was also very good, going perfectly with each characters appearance. However at times the automated voice you would hear on screen to let you know when you are able to move again, or when you find an item I found to be annoying, and not really needed when a small noticeable text message on screen can do the job just as well. The in battle music was also good, bringing an exciting feel to the combat. As a whole I score the sound a well deserved 9/10.
Depth - Where depth is concerned you wont be let down, with so many locations to visit and any extra side things you can do you will find yourself playing a game that will keep you busy for hours on end. Though this is a three disc game, by the end of the game I was left with a feeling of wanting more, so a little more depth would have been nice. Regardless, with the main story handing you 43 plus hours you will have a good experience, for the more seasoned gamer who likes to take on the challenge of obtaining any extra things like hidden items and extra locations you can expect 59 hours plus of game time on your hands. As for the hardcore gamer who wants to acquire everything, get ready for 102 plus hours of gaming adventure. I award the depth a score of 8/10.
Addictiveness - The addictive aspect of the game can be strong at times, certain locations pulled me in making me want to explore them for as long as possible. With some good scr
Difficulty - Blue Dragon can offer you as the player some rather challenging encounters, field enemies can prove to be a handful at times if your level isn't adequate, and boss battles have their own share of hard times. Personally I found some of the boss fights to simple, but other battles you come across will make up for this minor downfall. It is when facing some of the side boss battles that you will be put to the test, with exceptionally strong attacks that can wipe out you and your party effortlessly, even the best gamers will have a superior challenge on their hands. I give the difficulty level a score of 7/10.
Over All - To sum up, Blue Dragon is a game that will take you into a stunning set of locations, full of danger and adventure. Packed full of extra things to expand your game play, you will be left with a satisfied feeling all the way through. Bringing you exciting combat and amazing story and vocals, mixed with the pretty sound track that accompanies it, you will definitely be rewarded for all the hours you put into it. As it gives just as much back to the player as you put in. Despite some small faults with the game, the over all experience is something I would recommend to any role playing game fan. I give Blue Dragon a very worthy over all score of 9.7/10.
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