Blue Dragon Plus (DS Game) Review

Hello all, Xeby-chan here again. As I mentioned last week or so in a post I was going to be putting up a review of the DS game Blue Dragon Plus, as I was asked to do so if I were sent a game. Well I was sent a game; I finished playing it, and now here’s the review, enjoy :D

When Blue Dragon came out on the 360 it didn’t have a lot of company on the console. It was only one of few true Japanese styled RPGs out. Even previous releases like Eternal Sonata, it was still alone. While Eternal Sonata carried an active battle system amongst its more traditional RPG move sets and other game play, While Blue Dragon stuck to a true turn based style system. Now, the new Blue Dragon game finds itself in a similar situation. With a lack of a lot of Real Time Strategy games on the DS, Blue Dragon Plus tries to show the potential for the genre on this platform.

I’m not a big fan of Real Time strategy games, not so much because I dislike the genre but I just haven’t had a lot of experience with them. I usually prefer the more tactic and planning ahead turn based strategy games like Disgaea, so I went into this game without any real experience for its genre. I have to say though; they managed to do a good job making it easy for people not familiar with the genre while still supplying difficulty in other areas of the game. One of the best things about the previous Blue Dragon game was the way it allowed for a combining of classes using your shadows. Having a shadow focus on a class to learn skill and combining it with other shadow classes to make very versatile yet specialized characters. Although not an entirely new concept to the RPG world, as many other games handled job changes, this game did it well. They really carried that over nicely into this game and managed to use a very turn based traditional styled RPG element in a real time strategy game. When the difficulty in the game steps up you really have to know how to make your skills and shadows, combing tanks with a lot of HP with items that attract enemies, then use a black magic shadow on a physical defender to blow away the enemies. There are a lot of tactics that simply involve the foresight of managing your characters for the battle, and when the difficulty of the game steps up this becomes important and a lot of fun to do.

While the previous Blue Dragon game had a story that fell short for a lot of players, this game suffers from some of the same problems, going with a general, “Let’s go out and save the world” kind of message, it very surprisingly also combines that and a pretty serious topic. The story takes place after the first Blue Dragon game, truly being a sequel in terms of story, Shu and his friends go through a mysterious cube and try and stop the production of bomber mechas that threaten to destroy the world, while finding out what is behind the cube in general. While the concept of stopping this mysterious and evil cube may fall into the category of the kind of story that made the other game fall short, there is another focus that really makes up for it, focusing on trust, betrayal and sacrifice. While it isn’t the main focus, it’s still there enough o make you care what’s going to happen, or at least have feigning interest and that always helps a game.

My biggest complaint with the game lies in its game play. This is not to say that the whole of the game play is bad, on the contrary there are many good points, but also some bad ones. The pathing, to me, seemed to get in the way a lot. While the maps don’t always show it, they are divided into squares that the characters have to follow in a distinct path. No moving diagonally or anything like that. When combining a lot of characters to move at the same time, they will go through these paths and the game doesn’t allow for more than one character per square, so a lot of time characters in the back will take odd paths to get to their destination as they try and continually move back and forth until a sure is free for them, or will decide its faster to go a different direction to get to their destination, and end up attracting unwanted enemy activity. While the problem isn’t always that severe, it does sometimes get in the way and will require you to move your characters more slowly then you may want.

The difficulty of the game again contains some good points and bad. The good points are essentially the same as the gameplay’s. When the difficulty gets high, the gameplay steps up and you really have to mix a variety of tactics. However the difficulty only really reaches a point like that when you really explore the optional quests. That’s where the downside of the difficulty comes in. If you just go though the game doing the main quest, the difficulty is a little easy. It’s why the game is as short as it is if you skip those quests, but when you do some of the harder optional quests you really have to think about things, making the game much more fun as you combine shadows and skills, distract enemies and plan out attacks from multiple different people. Combining stat up and stat down attacks in conduction with long range attackers and close up, you can really get into some fun situations, but unfortunately that only happens if you go out of your way to find the opportunities.

The game’s length greatly depends on how much you explore the available quests. The more you do, the more are unlocked and some of the later quests really require you to be almost twice as high in level as the final boss. Just going though with a minimum of quests and reading the text fast, you can get though the main guest in about 12 hours if you know what you are doing tactics wise and don’t spend a lot of time customizing characters, however going though it like that would be depriving yourself of some of the better parts of the game.

Overall I had fun with this game. As I mentioned before I’m not a huge fan of Real Time Strategy and so I don’t’ have a lot of experience with it. If it weren’t for this review opportunity I may have not played this game because the genre just doesn’t excite me, but I’m glad I did because even for someone not a fan of the genre I had fun with the game. Anyone who likes Real Time Strategy and some of the class and skill management of traditional RPGs should check out this game because it combine the two elements into something that is a lot of fun to play.

Presentation: 9.0

The game doesn’t get interesting until after the introductory levels and the difficulty increase, which can take a while but when it does its very interesting and you want to keep playing it until the end.

Graphics: 8.5

There were quite a lot of impressive FMVs scattered throughout and a good attention to detail, but a couple of bland levels.

Sound: 8.0

There was a lot of pretty good background music throughout, but nothing that really had me surprised or wanting to hear more just for the music’s sake.

Gameplay: 7.5

The pathing issue was a big hindrance in times, but other than that the combination of different attacks made for battles interesting.

Lasting Appeal: 7.5

There are quite a lot of quests and the difficulty can get up there, but they give little reward used towards the completion of the main quest so many may find it easy to skip them, and they can get repetitive.

Overall: 8.7
Not an average

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