The following was published back in 2009 after this game in the Blue Dragon franchise was released in North America, and with many thanks to the marketing agency RocketXL for making this possible, I was able to get a hands-on review! Blue Dragon Plus for the Nintendo DS is the sequel to the Xbox 360 game created by the father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, music from the legendary Nobuo Uematsu, and character design by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. It is the perfect alternative for fans of the Blue Dragon anime who have yet to play the first Blue Dragon game.
Story of Blue Dragon Plus
The game takes place one year after the first game when the soul of the villain, Nene, is devoured by the heroes Shu, Zola, Szabo and Marumaro. During the battle, the universe is split into cubes. On one of the cubes is Neo Jibral, the country King Jibral watches over.
One day, he sees the shadow of a Balaur, a three-headed dragon, comes forth from a mysterious cube in the skies. Now the gang team up once again to put a stop to Nene’s evil plans and to bring peace back to the land of Neo Jibral.
As many modern RPGs, there is a Tutorial Mode for newbies to get a better understanding of the game, especially since it’s very close to being a tactical style game, and not many people have the patience for this kind of game. Thankfully, Tutorial Mode doesn’t last very long, and the commands can be memorized very easily.
The most of the game is controlled using the Touch Screen where you can control your units to attack or to move them on another part of the screen. Thanks to the power of the stylus, you can also control a certain number of units by touching the Multiple Select button and circling your character(s). You can even move all your units at once with the Select All button.
My only complaint about the game is that the characters move too slow, but the monsters move fast enough for the characters to interact with them, but the fight ends before the delay actually gets on your nerves. The camera controls are pretty decent and can be easily moved with the R and L buttons when in an area where there’s a problem controlling a character that’s being mobbed by monsters.
You also gain more characters as the story progresses. Some of which can come in handy, such as Jiro and his Shadow’s ability to heal the units around him, and King Jibral’s Shadow’s protect abilities, which is similar to Protect and Shell in the Final Fantasy games. Of course, protecting units is common in other RPGs, but being a Hironobu Sakaguchi game, it deserves some kind of credit!
With Nobuo Uematsu at the helm, you can’t complain about the music. Uematsu’s music honestly sounds better on the Nintendo DS, compared to FFT:A for the Gameboy Advance, and some tracks in the game sound immediate as a few Final Fantasy games, but that’s to be expected from a legendary composer! Another quirk with the audio as with newer handheld RPGs is the tones used when a character is speaking; it can be high-pitched or low-pitched depending on the character, like Marumaro for example, whose voice is high-pitched, and Zola who has a lower pitch voice.
Blue Dragon Plus features 60 minutes worth of 3D Full-Motion Video scenes that gives a better understanding of the story that back in the day with Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance, or another modern day handheld RPG. The gameplay graphics are 2D sprites with a 3D environment, which is obvious for a Nintendo DS game.The 3D environment is fully rendered like a PSOne game, and it doesn’t tear as much compared to Final Fantasy VII (in this era, at least) when rotated.
I would give Blue Dragon Plus a couple of playthroughs if you’re serious about finishing every corner of the game, such as unlocking all the treasure chests. It’s a plus if you’re an Akira Toriyama fan, as well as a fan of the Dragon Quest games.
I had a lot of fun playing Blue Dragon Plus. Not to mention being a Dragonball, Final Fantasy, and Uematsu fan which made the experience much better. I recommend picking this up if you need a RPG-to-go for a long trip or when you’re just plain bored with console games.
Thanks again to RocketXL for making this review possible!