By Crystal Colwell / September 21st, 2013
The world map found in Blue Dragon is almost helpful. It shows you which direction you are facing, but nothing on the map is named. You do have a warp system that you can access, but that only works after you enable the warp device in each area. The warp map shows you the town names which saved me a lot of aggravation later on. I get lost easy, but I am not one of those people who refuses to consult a map. I will, and do, check my map a lot! I need names, though, or the map is useless to me. There are also individual dungeon maps that will help you keep track of where you have been, as long as you pay close enough attention to it. You can also do what I did, and get lost and turned around 20 times when you were in a confusing area. Did I mention I get lost a lot? Yeah.
We are dealing with an older 360 game here, so you won’t see the newest, flashiest graphics. The game is pretty, though, and has amazing details that won’t make you feel like anything is lacking. Each part of the map has a very different look, and nothing is overly repetitive in terms of layouts and background items. The towns all have their own unique style that made exploring a blast. I actually wanted to live in one of the later towns. It is so pretty and detailed that if I could have hit some magic switch and made it come to life I would have. (Not even joking!) The attention to detail both inside the houses and around the towns was great. There are not only beds and dressers, tables and stoves, but even small things like bowls and food are on the cabinets. The people that live in each town all looked like they came from the same place, but they weren’t carbon copies of each other.
When I got into Disc 2, about halfway or so, I started experiencing some lag in battles. When my party member would be about to attack, there was a few-second delay from the start of their turn to when they actually moved to attack. This seemed to happen regardless if there were three enemies onscreen or ten. It wasn’t game-breaking, and normally it was just a couple of seconds, but it did make me think my 360 had frozen up a time or two.
The monsters range from pretty to comical to creepy. There was one in particular that I can’t mention in any detail that I fell in love with! There are some enemies that are similar, like the Poo Snakes. (Poo Snakes are exactly what you think they are!) They have the same basic structure, but each has different coloring. It didn’t feel like they overused any one type of enemy throughout the game. Each new dungeon opened up a new set of cool-looking monsters to gawk out while you pounded on them.
There are a few minigames found throughout Blue Dragon that were fun. Using your airship, the Mechat, which is equipped with a gun and missiles, you shoot down some enemies. The ship moves on its own with you controlling the gun and missiles. You do this a few times throughout the game, and there is always something else shooting at you. Shoot down the missiles that are trying to take you out, and, when the air is clear, you can take our your opponent. This is pretty fun, and, if you totally screw it up, the game will restart you from the beginning of the minigame. I believe there is a trophy for doing one of those games without taking damage. Anyone manage to get that?
Love it or hate it, the music in Blue Dragon is unique. The battle themes grew on me, but it took a while for that to happen. The music in the boss battles features singing, and I am not normally a fan of that. The noise of the game can get on your nerves after a while. 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. None of this made me want to throw the controller at the TV, but I could have done without it. You also hear “detected” and “lost” when you come across enemies on the map which can actually be helpful.
The voice acting really varies. Shu’s voice didn’t really fit his character. It’s not that the voice acting was terrible, it’s just the voice didn’t fit him. He sounded like he should have been about 20 years older than he is. There is a Japanese and French option for the voices that might be better. Try them out and see which best suits you.
It took me about 40 hours to complete Blue Dragon, but I did not satisfy the completionist in me. It will take around 20 hours more if you collect all of the items, fight every monster type and get the trophies. I still have mixed feelings about Blue Dragon, but, in the end, I was really glad that I had decided to play it because the good outweighs the bad. If you keep with it, the storyline will flesh itself out enough that you are glad you stuck with it. Doing the side quests will help with that, as well. I enjoy an open-world game where I can freely explore that also gives me a solid idea of where to go next, and that also offers a fun battle style, so Blue Dragon was an enjoyable game for me.
Game was purchased by the reviewer.
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