Games of the Past REVIEW: Blue Dragon

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

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Blue Dragon | oprainfall Title: Blue Dragon
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studioes
Developer: Mistwalker / Artoon
Release Date: August 28, 2007
Genre: Role Playing
Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360
Age Rating: Teen
Official Website


Blue Dragon is one of those games that I thought I would either love or hate, that there would be no middle ground. It turns out I could not have been more wrong! It seemed nothing would be simple about my experience with Blue Dragon. Even as I sit here writing this, I am torn about a few things. Let’s break it down and see where things land.

Blue Dragon takes place in a world where evil is lurking. Shu, Kluke and Jiro have seen this evil in their own little town. A Land Shark, which is exactly what it sounds like- a shark found on land- devastates their town. After each relentless attack from the Land Shark, they make the town habitable, and then it shows up again to devastate the town and the people. They get tired of dealing with the Land Shark, and set out to destroy this evil menace that is tearing their town apart. The group finds a lot more than they bargained for in doing so, including new friends who join the group. I joined the gang as they took on their adventure, and we discovered the secrets of the world. Together, we righted wrongs and changed the lives of the people living in this world.

Blue Dragon | Characters

While we were out righting these wrongs, and figuring out what the hell was going on, we had to do a lot of fighting. The battle system is something that can either make or break a game in my opinion. Make fighting a chore, and I will almost always skip the game entirely! Luckily, with Blue Dragon, the battle system was easy to use, yet provided enough management and fun that kept me interested. Each character in the game will receive a “Shadow” very early on which allows them to use magic. These Shadows appear as blue shadows behind each party member in battles. Each one is different, with its own look that compliments the character to whom it is attached. The Shadows will get a Corporeal much later in the game. This is like an overdrive that causes a lot of damage, and looks really cool. During this, your Shadow becomes “real,” and takes on a very specific look of its own with color and depth. Since they were introduced so late in the game, I actually forgot about having them once or twice when I could have used them and saved myself from a horrible death, maybe.

Blue Dragon | Shadow

Your Shadow stays the same, but your class, which allows you to use different types of magic and skills, can be changed. Each new class that you unlock will have a different set of skills that you learn by leveling the class up. As you level each class up, you also increase the stats of your character. If you change your class to a White Mage, for example, you will unlock the ability to use healing type spells. Spells can be found throughout the game or bought at a Spell Shop. You can change your class throughout the game as long as the class you want to use is unlocked, which happens through leveling your character up. You need to do this in order to give each party member the best skills to help you get through the game. For example, the last skill learned as a White Mage is Resurrection. I made most of my party a White Mage long enough to learn that. As a Generalist, you learn a skill that allows you to equip more skills slots. This is important, since the more skills you have equipped, the better prepared you can be for battle. I had most of my party learn things like that so that I could handle some of the extra boss battles. Another thing you should always check is your combat formation. Your party members with the highest hit points and defense should be in the front row, while those with fewer hit points and defense should be in the back.

Every class will give you one skill that you can automatically access without having to equip it. A White Mage will be able to use White Magic without having to use a skill slot to equip it. While you are leveling up other classes, or if you want your party to be able to multitask, you can equip other skills from different classes. Say you would like your party member to be able to use the White Mage skills while they are the Monk class, you would equip the skill for White Magic, and have access to both sets of abilities from each class.

Enemies are visible on the world map, and you can walk up to them or sneak up on them for a back attack. If you see more than one enemy grouped together you can encompass them into one battle by hitting the right trigger on the controller. You fight one group of enemies at a time, and, after the first battle, a bonus roulette shows up that gives you different helpful things. These vary from improved stealth to HP healing. Another cool thing that happens in battle is when two enemies who don’t like each other appear in the same battle, you trigger a Monster Battle. When that happens, the monsters will attack each other instead of you.

Blue Dragon | Monster

Battles are turn-based, and allow you plenty of time to plan your strategy. Your party can be arranged in any fashion that you like. I had a White and Black Mage and a couple of “tanks” in my party. At the top of your screen, you will see the turn order. Some attacks and all of the magic spells use what is called a “charge.” The charged attacks and spells really help to lay out a strategy for boss battles, or when fighting a particularly stout enemy. Once you select the attack that you want to use, a bar will appear right under the pictures of the attack order. Hold down A to charge the attack. You can then choose to charge the attack to the red area shown on the bar, which gives you the best result, or you can charge it as little or as much as you want. Doing this allows you to control when the attack or healing spell will come out in the turn order. This comes in handy when you need to be healed quickly, because you can lightly charge the attack and get a healing spell out before the enemy’s next turn.

Blue Dragon | Battle Order

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About Crystal Colwell

What's up everyone? Crystal here! I spend my time writing up the news for you all and keeping us all up to date with incoming game info from Japan. I do a little bit of everything else around here, too. 🙂 Happy Reading!

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  • MykonosFan

    “By noise, I mean the constant sound of “nothing” or “gold” and “item” being spoken as you search the items found on the map. You should search everything everywhere, by the way, as you will find a lot of great items, gold, exp. and skill points. I don’t know that they needed to say that each and every time you search something, though. It annoyed me slightly that the game announces that other characters have “joined” you after you reunite with your party.”

    You can actually turn this off in the options right from the start of the game. I agree with the review. I played this game last summer and was very surprised by how much I liked it, it really has a lot of charm. It may not be the best JRPG ever but it’s one I definitely recommend to everyone looking for a cheap JRPG to give a whirl.

    • Crystal Baltimore

      I am going to play the game a bit more to complete a few things and possibly get a trophy or two. I will turn those sounds off when I do so. 🙂

  • Pyrotek85

    I enjoyed it too. It feels more like an old school JRPG but with better graphics/sound, which I think may be a turn off to some if they’re expecting gameplay from most modern JRPGs. I thought the English VA was pretty good, but I’ll give one of the other languages a shot on my next play through.

    I think my only real gripe is that it got too easy, there is nothing stopping you from making characters with all the best abilities, so you end up wrecking bosses. In fact the very final boss hit my party just once I think. I don’t think I was particularly over-leveled either, I know I didn’t spend extra hours trying to max out anything.

  • Vinicius

    Mistwalker made some of the best rpgs of this generation. Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey and last story proove that square is worthless without Sakaguchi.
    Blue Dragon was one of the best Dragon quest I played.

  • Allan Craig

    Really loved Blue Dragon. I was hopeful for more sequels, but that wasn’t the case.

    • Pyrotek85

      Well there are two sequels for the DS that I have not yet played, but I would have liked more on the 360 myself.