Eurogamer got its hands on the English version of Blue Dragon and took the time to write up some impressions. Overall, the gist of the preview is that Blue Dragon tries to recreate classic Japanese role playing game design without reinventing it. As noted by the preview, everything seems as though it was pulled from classic RPGs and made to mesh with modern console aesthetics. The graphics look like old school 2D characters and worlds come to life, the characters are broadly drawn, and the combat is solidly turn-based. About the only concession the game makes to modern game design (or "progress" as Eurogamer calls it) is that battles are not random. In the end, it seems that Blue Dragon was meant as a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a new coat of paint. The only problem, according to Eurogamer, is that such nostalgia may be in limited supply outside of Japan. We'll find out when Blue Dragon hits North America this August.
Sakaguchi notes that there will be new details revealed in the near future. IGN speculates we may hear more at E3. Considering this is one of Microsoft's biggest projects, we're inclined to agree.
Speaking to Famitsu (translated by IGN), Hironobu Sakaguchi reveals new details of Mistwalker's current Xbox 360 project Lost Odyssey. The game is now 70% complete, and the development team has reached the "balancing and tuning" phase of production. The music (composed by RPG legend Nobuo Uematsu) is nearly done. Sakaguchi notes that the game's theme focuses on "humanity" and that the music conveys inner emotions. The camera will remain fixed in the game, though there will be cinematic rumbling and focus effects used.
Finally, Sakaguchi reveals more information about Lost Odyssey's combat. Lost Odyssey will use a wall system that requires the front lines to defend those in the rear. This is crucial, as magic users cause the most damage and must be protected (this is in line with what Sakaguchi told us at GDC) Also revealed, certain items will require skills to equip and the game features a crafting system that binds magical items to weapons.
More Lost Odyssey details are expected soon.
We know that the Japanese version of the game received some decent reviews, but Joystiq sheds what little light it can on the US localized version. Essentially, the game will remain the same apart from translated text and re-dubbed English voices (which can blessedly be replaced with the original Japanese voices if desired). Some of the songs will be re-dubbed in English as well (that should be interesting). Joystiq also notes that episodic content may be available for download after the game is released.
Websites (including us) have been spouting Blue Dragon's significance for ages now -- just look at all these stories -- and it's finally time for the game to put up or shut up. The game released today -- both individually and in a spiffy bundle -- and Joystiq reports that it already looks to become the most popular 360 game in Japan by far. Of course, that's not really saying much, though it is important to note that the game is also driving hardware sales. If Microsoft has any hope in the Land of the Rising Sun, it rests in the arms (wings?) of Blue Dragon. After all, if the RPG dream team of Hironobu Sakaguchi, Akira Toriyama, and Nobuo Uematsu aren't enough to entice the Japanese, there just isn't much more that Microsoft can do. Hit the read link for more pictures.
We've asked this question before, but do you think Microsoft needs Japan in order to win the new-gen console war?
We missed the Blue Dragon update last week, so this week we have two new videos for you. The first -- embedded above -- is Blue Dragon's playable opening sequence. It's very serene and poetic in that Howl's Moving Castle sort of way, though we're not sure how much we like the robotic voice that announces what you're doing. Hearing the digital female voice say "item" as you pick something up sort of pulls you out of the narrative. Still, the game is gorgeous. The second video -- embedded after the break -- showcases a shooting sequence, which takes place in (what else?) an airship. The shooting sequence is in real time, which might allay some of the fears of RPG fans that are more accustomed to KOTOR. Watch both videos and tell us what you think . (As always, high definition versions are available at the official Blue Dragon site.)
Blue Dragon, Microsoft's great
*This is a fake (though hilarious) subtitile.
[Via Evil Avatar]
The official Blue Dragon website has been updated yet again with a new video (and new screenshots, too). The video features some of the game's non player characters (NPCs) that the player can interact with. They range from weird looking Snifit doppelgangers to minotaurs. Our favorite in the video is what appears to be a living mural on a wall. Check out the video after the break. Oh, and be warned, the music is ... different.
It's windy and cold outside Fanboy Towers today, and we're betting it's a cold day in Hell, too. First, EA's Superman Returns demo is actually good, and now an Xbox 360 game is in the top 5 on Famitsu's most wanted list. Blue Dragon has landed in 3rd place on the recent poll, outdoing both Metal Gear Solid 4 and the beloved Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. We've blogged (probably too much) about Blue Dragon's importance before, but it now stands at an all time high. With the Playstation 3 launched (and sold out) and the Wii as well, Microsoft has their work cut out for them if they want to make a dent in the Land of the Rising Sun. Ironically, this is also their biggest opportunity. With the PS3 sold out, Microsoft has a big chance to take money away from those who were unable to get a PS3 (hell, with PS3 money you could buy the Blue Dragon bundle and have enough yen left for a sushi dinner).
Still, one game may help Microsoft gain a foothold, but it is not enough to sustain interest. If they don't keep rolling out the Japanese flavored content, Japan could quickly drop the 360. As our sister site, Joystiq, points out, the Japanese are not shy about buying a system for one game and then selling it. Then again, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 has managed to crack the number 15 spot. Maybe that will be enough to hold Japan until Lost Odyssey.
There are two new Blue Dragon videos up on the official site. The first, set to some of the most terrible rock music imaginable, demonstrates the game's shadow combat system. Somehow, the music gives it a very weird twist. It's as if it were a joke. Seriously, it sounds like Bob Dylan after a stroke. The second video showcases one of Blue Dragon's most overlooked features: walking! If you've ever wanted to see a kid walking around looking at stuff, now's your chance. Both videos are embedded after the break.