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What really happened with Blue Dragon

I completed Blue Dragon recently and I enjoyed the game quite a bit. It's not a AAA stellar title, but I feel like it came under fire by many reviewers in an unjust manner. It does have its shortcomings, but it bugs me when reviewers fault games for what they are. RPG's are near and dear to me, and I've often read reviews where the the game in question is faulted for feeling like "an old school JRPG."

Wait, and the problem with that is....?

I know not everyone likes JRPG's and I know even more people are tired of old school turn based RPG's than say ten years ago, but to call that a fault just seems ridiculous. I remember Penny Arcade releasing a comic on the matter and considering the game in question is also a JRPG, it makes me wonder if the genre itself is underrepresented by critics. For the record, while Enchanted Arms wasn't great, I didn't think it was that bad either.

But onto Blue Dragon, which was much better than Enchanted Arms: the first problem was the demo that Microsoft release on XBL. The demo just throws you into a situation with very little explanation. Not to mention the character's job classes are maxed out. I have to admit a big part of the fun in Blue Dragon (at least for me) was upgrading my shadows. Take that away and you lose a big part of the battles. I know I could have upgraded other job classes, but to be honest, do most players get into that in a demo? I tried the demo like many people and I was concerned; I had already pre-ordered the game! Was the game still going to be worth my $60? My fears went away when I finally played the actual game. This was an example of a game where the demo did NOT do it justice.

The second problem I had which applied to the actual game was the level design. The dungeons were some of the most repetitive I have ever encountered. It made it very easy to get lost in them, and as a result I wasted a lot of time. It's hard to remember where you are going and where you came from if everything looks the same!

I don't want this to be all doom and gloom though. Despite the problems there lies some great things in the game that I fear get ignored by players and the reviewers. The story is great. Sure the characters seem generic, and you feel at the beginning that you're thrusted into the middle of a story, but isn't that part of a JRPG's charm? As many have commented the plot picks up and even has a "WTF twist" moment at the end (I don't want to give spoilers). Some of the characters by the end even have some depth to them! It depends on how patient you are as a gamer.

Obviously Sakaguchi has a hard-on for the job class system and it's not bad in this game. It's easy to learn and fun to customize the characters. The music isn't as bad as everyone says it is. I've heard people say its Uematsu's worst score and I have to disagree. Some of the orchestral stuff is a little generic, but his "Black Mages"-esque rock stuff is really good and got me pumped in the game. Maybe that's where he's at as a composer now.

I feel like this game needed two review scores by each reviewer: one for the old-timey JRPG players and one for everyone else. For a JRPG it felt great, not stellar but one of the more enjoyable experiences I have had in a while. For impatient people, they may not like it as much. It would explain why it's review scores were all over the place and I'm always suspicious when games get such drastically different opinions. It makes me feel like somebody missed something.

I guess my point in all my ramblings is that the game is not perfect; it's not the next Chrono Trigger liked I hoped (who am I kidding, nothing can beat Chrono Trigger). However the game is being unfairly ignored by people. It's an RPG that is needed on the 360 and more people should give it a chance. You may find yourself liking it more than you thought.
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About naia-the-gamerone of us since 1:51 PM on 09.13.2007

My name is Naia (pronounced either Nay-a or Neye-a, like yay or like eye). I've been poking around here for a while, although I don't comment as much as I used to. I do the music and the sound stuff. Teach and do scholarly research too! I do mostly freelance work and I'm always looking for people (even on DToid) to do fun projects with in entertainment. That can be either in theater, film, TV, or video games. I want to be like Kermit the Frog and be part of a group that entertains and makes people happy. I also love blue slimes, puppies and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

I've been playing computer and video games all my life. My dad was a programmer so we got an IBM 5150 PC very early on in the 80's. For Christmas in 1989 my parents surprised me with a Nintendo and it's been downhill ever since. I have/had most consoles over the years, mainly from Sony or Nintendo. I've had some Sega consoles and an Xbox 360 too.

I'm a big fan of the JRPG trinity of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Fire Emblem (more DQ and FE lately, but I didn't hate FFXV). I was a finalist in Nintendo's DQ6 trivia contest back in 2011. I play RPGs, Action/Adventure, Platformers, Puzzles, and Point-n-Click Adventure games. I will play fighters and shooters, but they have to be the right kind of game.

Also, Rydia is my hero.

I'm such a nerd, I like to keep track of all the games I've completed in an excel file (it's over 400). Now that my backlog is out of control I have a word document for that too. My goal is to for once and for all eliminate the backlog, or at least keep it to a number in the single digits.

I have a lot of things to say about the game industry, it's something I care deeply about and love giving my opinions. I like to rant about shit. I'm here just to share what I have to say, in hopes someone is willing to listen.

Also for the record, my Top 5 Games of All Time
1. Chrono Trigger
2. Final Fantasy 4
3. Super Mario 3
4. Dragon Quest 11
5. Phantasy Star 4

Yes, I love my retro games (and DQ 11)

Thanks to The GHost for this awesome card!
Xbox LIVE:naia28
PSN ID:naia28
Steam ID:naia28
Mii code:7309 4775 1557 9362
3DS Code:4167-4502-0418


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