Blue dragon plus is the sequel to the Blue Dragon game for the Xbox360 and takes place one year after the events of the 360 title. I guess since Blue Dragon 2 is in development for the 360 you can consider this Blue Dragon 1 ½. The strange part about this title is they jump right into the story without really explaining what happened in the previous game and people who don’t also own the 360 version will be left with a lot of unanswered questions.This title can be played entirely with just using the stylus. No button presses are required at all, and the entire control scheme is fairly easy to get used to. There are basically three phases to each “turn”. First phase you equip items, setup tedious item links, separate party members into groups, and go shopping if you happen to be near a shop. In the second phase you get to select which “tile” to move your group of heroes into. After you do this you play a real time strategy fight against whatever you encounter.
Now there are a few problems that I am going to go over. In the first phase the biggest problem is trying to figure out an effective separation of characters. The funny thing is… it doesn’t exist, it is impossible in this game to make an effective party because you get one healer to separate into 3 groups… it just does not work. So instead of being able to have healers in each party you usually have to buy as many healing herbs as possible and be ready to click on them repeatedly in a heated battle. Unfortunately, this really kind of destroys the fun of the game because where the team that has the healer is very self sufficient and helps balance out your pocketbook, the other 2 groups are a constant money sink forcing you to have to struggle to have any spare money for anything.
The other problem I have is the tedious system that was created to setup skills and inventory. The system that is used requires the player to decide ahead of time which players will have access to which specific inventory items and skills. Ok, I can understand using this system for skills… but come on inventory? It is extremely annoying to go to all 16 of your characters to setup the same herbs, and it is even worse if you forget to add a healing herb to your party that has no healer. I am not sure what the developers were thinking when they did this.
Now that I have complained on about the two major problems with Blue Dragon Plus I am done throwing water balloons at the title and really only have good things to say about it from here on. The cut scenes are very well done in beautiful CGI and they are fairly frequent through out the story line. The accessories and character customization is very well done, and the ability to build your own robot minions is great as well. I had a lot of fun throwing all my characters into one party and watching my 14 characters trounce through a level and then spamming healing herbs on my other group and his solo member to try to beat a seamlessly ending wave of enemies. The good news about this is even after losing a level you just get sent back to the beginning of the “trail” where a store is and you lose your turn. No major loss except for all the herbs.
Overall Blue Dragon Plus has a lot of faults but the pure fun that you can have customizing and destroying waves of enemies makes up for a lot of the faults. If you are a fan of Blue Dragon you will absolutely enjoy this game. Just be prepared to endure a little frustration when it comes to your inventory and party.
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