Sure, the 360 has been having a good run over here, but it didn't even make a dent in Japan until the release of Blue Dragon, an actual Japanese-bred role-playing game made by bigwigs like Producer Hironobu Sakaguchi (the father of Final Fantasy), artist Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z), and composer Nobuo Uematsu (the father of FF's music). With that power trio behind it, Blue Dragon looks like a fine fusion of old-school and modern RPG mechanics, which includes turn-based battles (old school!) but no random skirmishes (new hotness!).
Blue Dragon's signature, the use of "shadows" (unique creatures for each party member that perform the actual fighting during combat), is pretty snazzy. "By 'charging' the shadows, you'll have more effective magical abilities and various skills," says Sakaguchi. "This puts the characters on the back burner, but they will be able to make good use of numerous battle strategies, such as recovering right after an enemy attack. We placed a lot of emphasis on the speed and the tempo of combat. The game is turn-based, but because of this particular development, the game offers more fluid gameplay experiences." The battles here will also receive a new wrinkle--you can now select (via pressing the right trigger) just how many of the enemies in a particular group you'd like to fight. It sounds kinda weird, but it also sounds like a way to streamline the combat when level-grinding (consequently, you can easily avoid these fiends when needed).
Now, for a game designed with the Japanese market so much in mind, some may worry that Blue Dragon's kiddie art style might alienate U.S. gamers. But not Sakaguchi. "I think we were able to achieve a real-time graphic quality that is fairly close to that of the Pixar movies," he says. "I also believe that we created a beautiful worldview that will resonate with people of all generations."
Download Blue Dragon
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP