Hironobu Sakaguchi is a name that may ring a bell to many of you. He created what is unarguably one of the best selling, longest running video game franchises - Final Fantasy. Many gamers were excited to hear of him working on a project for the Xbox 360, but it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, but rather another RPG called Blue Dragon.
Graphics - 9/10
The graphics are usually one of the first things you notice about a game. Blue Dragon's cell shaded anime art style suits it perfectly, and looks excellent in high definition. You'll swear up and down that you're watching a Japanese anime. This is partially due to character designer, Akira Toriyama. That name rings a bell too, doesn't it? well, that's because he was the character designer for Dragon Ball Z. This will be instantly evident the very moment you lay eyes upon Shu, the games main protaganist. the character styles, especially their hair just scream Toriyama. Overall the graphics are very good, but i feel that in a couple of areas they could have been a bit better. there are a few lines in some battle animations, and the ocasional bit of slowdown, but nothing game breaking.
Storyline - 9/10
The story is a good one, though not all too satisfying. The villains are rather generic, being evil just for the sake of being evil for evils sake. in the end, however, it works. the main protagonists find light spheres, which, upon swallowing, grant them magical abilities and "shadow beasts" that battle for them. there are different classes which will effect your abilities and attacks. As for their role in the storyline, I don't want to spoil anything, but in their efforts to stop Nene, the games antagonist, they actually end up helping him. This as well as many other plot twists keep the story interesting.
Gameplay - 9.5/10
Old school RPG fans, rejoice, and be glad in reverence to the game, thy name is Blue Dragon! This game is completely turn based, much like older RPGs. As I mentioned, different classes effect your abilities and stats, but each character has a realm they are more proficient in. One character may make an excellent mage, while making a poor warrior, and vice versa. Battles are not random, but instead, you see the enemies on the field, and touch them to initiate a battle sequence, much like many of today's RPGs such as the Tales series. Overall, the game is a solid RPG that old school gamers will revel in.
Sound - 10/10
Nobuo Uematsu...Nuff said. just that name tells you instantly why this game received a 10 in the sound department. Nobuo Uematsu is a genius when it comes to music. His work in the final Fantasy series alone has amde him famous, and Blue Dragon's soundtrack may at time trick you into thinking you're actually playing a final Fantasy game. The soundtrack is definitely awesome, and I would definitely pay for the music on a CD.
Overall - 9/10
This game is not perfect. it is also easy. I will go so far as to say this is the easiest RPG I have ever played in my gaming life. Pokemon is more challenging than Blue Dragon. That aside, it's a fun, old school, turn based RPG with music and an art direction that will blow your mind. Now that the game can be bought for under $20 bucks, there is no reason not to own it.