Pros: Great Graphics, Solid Battle System
Cons: A By the Books Adventure, Marumaro's Voice
The world of Blue Dragon is full of Calamity, Purple Clouds have long signaled the coming of the Land Shark, bringing death and destruction with it. Shu and Jiro lost their parents to the Shark and set a trap for it. When the trap fails they eventually find themselves on a floating fortress and are confronted by Nene, an old man and his pet Deathroy who has sent the Landshark purely for his own amusement. The party is quickly defeated and dumped down a hole. Here a voice tells them to eat spheres of light, which grant them magic in the form of Shadows. These shadows give the party the power to fight Nene's forces and they escape from his fortress.
What follows is a fairly straight forward story with a few clever twists along the way. Characters develop reasonably well and the supporting cast is above average. The final boss is also a clever twist on the trope of an unknown enemy appearing right at the end, and it fits perfectly.
Blue Dragon is classic JRPG to it's core, playing almost exactly like a SNES RPG. Battles are turn based with no real time elements. Everything in battle is carried out by their Shadows, which amplify their power, granting them all of their abilities. Leveling up your party members and improving their Shadows is the core of character progression. Magic requires a charge time depending on how strong it is, giving some strategic depth to the combat. Monsters are visable in dungeons and on the overworld allowing you to pick and choose which battles are fought.
Mistwalker and Artoon did an admirable job of adapting the graphics engine so that it closely matched the prerendered CG. Even by today's standards the game looks quite good. Akira Toriyama's art and designs transition well to full 3D giving the game an easily identifiable style. Screen tearing is common.
Nobuo Uematsu delivers a solid if unremarkable sound track that would fit right in with a classic Final Fantasy game. The boss battle music is catchy but completely out of place. The Voice cast is average at best, Marumaro will annoy you to no end. Dual Audio is not present.
Achievement Hunter Beware
Even after finishing the game I was shocked to have only gotten three Achievments through the entire adventure. Don't expect to rack up any sizeable amount just by rushing through the game.
Blue Dragon failed to live up to the lofty expectations placed upon it, but that doesn't stop it from being a solid RPG in it's own right. Nothing here is truly original, but that doesn't stop it from being a game worth playing.
720p at 30fps with 2x Anti Aliasing and a lot of screen tearing