Blue Dragon is a manga-style RPG that has been released in Japan for around eight months; it sold over 80,000 units within the first week. This title has been a long time coming to reach the welcoming shores of New Zealand, but will it beat the standards set by other Japanese RPGs? Blue Dragon is best described as being a Final Fantasy style game due to the director of the first five Final Fantasy games, Hironobu Sakaguchi, being the development supervisor and the creator of the storyline for Blue Dragon.
The story in Blue Dragon is based around mysterious purple clouds that gather around the main character's village every ten years. It turns out that these clouds of destruction are the result of an evil lord named 'Nene'. Shu, the 16 year-old hero of the game, gathers his friends to lead an attack on the cause of the purple clouds of death. When they break through the clouds and find the source of its power they find a large machine. They fight their way on board the machine and manage to damage it, but then the machine flies off back to its flagship – with Shu and his friends still on board. There they battle with hundreds of metal soldiers until they come upon three orbs of light; they are then told by a mysterious voice to swallow the orbs. Upon doing so their shadows turn into monsters that fight for them.
Your shadows are your primary way of attacking the enemy, using a turn-based combat system like the one in Final Fantasy. With up to five characters on your team at a time there is no stopping your awesome shadow powers - except for Deathroy, the purple shadow of the villan 'Nene'. With the ever imminent threat of Nene and his shadow how will Shu and his friends cope? With the help of Shu's Blue Dragon shadow and his group of four other friends and their monstrous shadows we can hope to see some great battles in this game.
The graphical details in Blue Dragon slip into the 3D-manga style seen in the Dragon Ball Z series, except without the cell shading. Unique graphics, sixteen-year-old heroes that look like they would be half that age, giant monsters, and bad lip-syncing. What more could you want in a Japanese RPG? The game is set for a release around August or September, and with a sequel already in planning and a possible Blue Dragon title for the DS, a large, blue snowball is rolling down the path to greatness.
Keep it zeroed in on NZGamer.com for a full review in the near future!