TGS 06: Blue Dragon Hands-On

We get some quality hands-on time with the new Xbox 360 RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy.

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TOKYO--Blue Dragon, the upcoming 360 role-playing game from legendary Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, was playable in a closed-off section of Microsoft's booth here at TGS, and we were able to play through a good chunk of it and get a taste of the game's combat and roaming system.

The demo we played (there were two saved games that were selectable, but we only had time to play through one) saw four of what appeared to be six main playable characters team up to take on an army of robots sent by the game's villain, whose name is unknown and resembles a purple Yoda, if you can envision that. This robotic genius has designed an army of war robots to enact his nefarious plans, and it's up to your group to fight through the robotic army and give chase to the evil purple man before his goals are met.

The roaming system here is in full 3D, and you'll control Shu, the spiky-haired main protagonist, as he wanders about the inside of the robotic castle the enemy has constructed. There are few actions available to you while roaming, but these include an action button that lets you open up chests or doors and a jumping attack that you can use on any enemies that you spot while roaming. It's unknown what this attack does at the moment, although if you hit an enemy with it before they happen to engage you, you get a first-strike-type ability, where your characters will attack first when you enter the battle mode.

Battles will be instantly familiar to anyone who's played a Final Fantasy game; we easily defeated a few parties of enemies, despite not understanding a word of the Japanese menus. It's in battle that you begin to learn where the game gets its name, as party members have their own special blue dragons that float behind them during battle and act as a proxy during combat. Instead of your characters attacking or casting magic, they'll start the action and their dragons will bash the opponent or cast the spells. Your characters are the ones who get hit, though, but you can't expect your dragons to do everything for you. The dragons appear to be extensions of your characters, so the two have to act in unison.

Speaking of characters, we learned the English names for four of the six characters that appear to be playable in Blue Dragon. Shu is the main protagonist, and he's a small black-haired warrior. Kluke is presumably his love interest, if standard Final Fantasy conventions play out, and she's an offensive-magic specialist. Marumaro is a small goblinlike character that's some kind of trickster; he has extra options available when you select his attack command that may let him combine his attack with another character. Lastly, Jiro is a prim-looking male magician that seems to be the party's best healer. In addition, there appear to be two other protagonists involved in the game's plot, although neither of them were playable here. One is a soldier-type sword user, who we imagine fulfills a similar role of Auron from Final Fantasy X, being the party's most powerful physical attacker, while the other is apparently a female sky pirate (judging by the skull and crossbones on her black bandana) of indeterminate abilities.

When you hit combat, a standard Final Fantasy X-style turn-order menu will appear, letting you know the order in which your characters and the enemies will attack. The classic actions are available here, including attacking, spellcasting, defending, and running. In addition, your characters can switch from front-line combat to rear combat in the middle of a fight, presumably letting characters in the rear take less physical damage, though dealing less, as well. Some actions will take up more time than others, so you'll have to act in a manner that will let you destroy your opponents before they're able to attack. The combat is entirely turn-based, though, letting you sit and deliberate before making your move.

Most of the enemies we faced were easily dispatched by our party, but eventually we caught up with the Yoda-like villain. In a mixture of in-game and CG cutscenes, he rocketed away from his base and prevented our pursuit with one especially large robotic enemy, consisting of two large rotating saw-hands and a large, four-legged pod-shaped body. The robot had some vicious attacks, including claw stabs, sawblade swipes, and energy attacks that took off a third of all of our party members' health in one blow. We countered it with all of the tools at our party's disposal, including standard attacks and elemental magic, which eventually destroyed the beast.

After the robot guardian had been defeated, our party was led to another rocket ship that we used to fly after the villain. In a series of cutscenes, we saw that the villain's huge mobile warship/headquarters, which we had just abandoned, was actually a flying ship suspended over the ocean. Well, suspended for a moment; it quickly crashed into the sea, sending some of the other human soldiers fighting the robots jumping off and parachuting away to avoid being caught in the cataclysm.

Unfortunately, we were ushered out of the booth just before the action got really interesting. Our ship and the ship piloted by the mad robotic scientist engaged in a bit of a dogfight, firing machine guns at each other as they flew over the ocean. Just as we were being escorted out of the booth, tutorial screens began popping up, showing us how to pilot the ship and fire its weaponry, which implies that the game will have some kind of aerial combat mode in real time.

The trailer that ran after the playable demo implies that the game will have a suitably epic scope; many of the set pieces involve incredibly large events and enemies, such as a massive, mountain-sized robotic enemy, straight out of Final Fantasy IV. Although everything is still currently in Japanese, we hope to finagle more details on the game's plot and characters in the future, so stay tuned to GameSpot for more information.

Discussion

118 comments
Peeekz
Peeekz

You guys that are so interested in this game should grab the latest issue of Game Informer. They have a HUGE article on this game, and to be honest, it sounds way, WAY better after having read that article then it did reading these goofy little previews where they don't know what's going on, and just claim it looks kinda FF like. Don't get me wrong, I've been playing FF since I can remember, and Chrono Trigger is still one of my favorite all time RPGs. I'm just saying this game is made to seem kind of iffy by Game Spot. This game is going to ahve alot of really neat ideas, and the screens look AMAZING. Check it out, folks.

Kroondijkie
Kroondijkie

hahaha indeed, those last minute comebacks in a show are soo lame. I mean come one, how can a guy's clothing be torn a part after an attack and than 1 minute later be perfectly new when they af there comeback? that's crazy, the same goes for dirt. It's like they take a bath and go shopping and than get their comeback. Ow and I also just hate it when the villain builds some strange contraption which involves the hero to be tied up and most likely be killed after 10 minutes or so. Then the villain walks away after telling his secret plan and more or lese how the hero can escape. And than when they do escape, they're surprised....... just kill the hero on the spot:D:D. Ow jeah and i think this game will rock!! only time will tell:P

whiplash
whiplash

I had been intrested in this game until I saw the graphics... I HATE DRAGONBALL ART! The women look like men, and everyone looks like everybody else, save different color hair. Hopefully the story and dialogue is nothing like Dragonball... only a wrestling fan can tolerate that garbage. Villain: "I mastered the super secret fireball technique!" Hero: "Oh no, not that! I'm gonna die, for sure!" *Struck by fireball* Hero: "Arggghhh...." Villain: "Hahaha" Hero: "You made me mad! That makes me punch harder! Now I can make a last minute comeback only a fanboy wouldn't see coming." Bystander: "Be careful, Hero!" Hero: "Here's MY super secret fireball technique!" *Fireballs collide and get bigger and bigger. White flash. Biggest fireball wins.* Hero: *Cough, cough*

mangawee
mangawee

seems interesting although im not a big fan of these type of games.

jacko_goku69
jacko_goku69

this game is gonna be ****ing rad. the 360 needs more rpg's. i heard their already planning a sequel 4 this game. i definately know im getting it. MagicAg I'm sick of this kind of Japanese comic style---a kid saves the world .......again. But nobody [censor - Tony__c] with Akira Toriyama. yeah your a f@gg0t. if this type of game is so **** why are they all so popular. why write something in this section if u dont even like it. besides u dont even hav the right to bag this with a name as *** as yours.

neilcollins
neilcollins

Selling well in Japan means the XBOX 360 will have more support from Japanese developer. Having more support from japanese developers means that Xbox 360 will have a more diverse selection of game styles, as well some classics franchise and, hopefully, even better games. =] I like my Xbox 360. But I miss more RPGs, REAL console RPGs (meaning, Japanese RPGs), and more games from Japanese developer. But I think this time Xbox have a chance to be a hit in Japan. =] I'm really hoping that Blue Dragon makes this console more popular in Japan.

batizoz
batizoz

Why is everyone so concerned with the X360's sales in Japan ? Is it like you bought some shares or something ? lol ... Just enjoy the freakin' game & all !!!

filterpunk
filterpunk

I do hope this game does well, but am I the only one who thinks the characters look a little creepy?

jazreal
jazreal

If history is a still a factor in our lives , then this game should factor to be at least a good selling game in both America and th good ol' J A of PAN. :) Just factoring in the development team should be cause enough to get a little hot under the ol' " a,b, x ,y , and anolog stick " fingers. ohhh ya, and to Gamepro2421, who said "if i didnt have to drop $600 to do so (play the game)".... well bro....are you sure your not thinking about a different system? i mean, to PS3 cost that much, but not the 360...not even with both games(blue dragon and LO). anyway, just wondering there......i kinda hope that you WERE thinking the wrong system....cause then....your worries are over...and you CAN play these wonderfull games.....well.....when we can.... :p

Jir11
Jir11

Very impressive.

piecake
piecake

Good i like ANY 360 exclusive!

mythrol
mythrol

Judging by the 160 minute wait! for Blue Dragon and the 90 minute wait for LO, I'd say these RPG's might just help sell a few consoles in Japan. Especially if Blue Dragon is supposed to be launching before year's end over there. I've had both of these games on my list since Mistwalker first announced them before anything was revealed. Sakaguichi and Nobou Utematsu are legends in the RPG ring and the fact that Microsoft picked them up as 2nd party developers is just amazing. How Square-Enix let them go is beyond me. These games will not get hit with the review nerf bat since Sakaguichi developed the gameplay elements that FF uses. Besides, Dragon Quest games that use very similiar elements as FF have recieved good reviews. Just like Breathe of Fire games have. To say that GS will nerf the review just because it's not Final Fantasy is completely wrong. Go back and read reviews for other RPG's and see how they compare.

MarcoSnow06
MarcoSnow06

Looking forward to this one. Keepin my fingers crossed.

Black_Devil-666
Black_Devil-666

Looking forward to this lets hope the creators of FF make this just as good as their previous RPG's

wenbin09
wenbin09

great that they are bringing more rpg to the 360s...

Oroin
Oroin

Yeah, the XBox 360 is coming out with good Rpgs, with Lost Odyssey coming and more rpgs surely to follow, Now I don't regret getting a Xbox 360 (but I do miss playing my ps2 for the rpgs.... Oh well) Yay XBox 360!!!!

sh8de45
sh8de45

x-box is really stepping up on their games....hope this is one franchise that'll be here for awhile

Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

More RPGS...starting to want to buy Xbox 360...cannot resist...

DanteKiller
DanteKiller

Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey DEFINITELY look like excellent reasons to buy an Xbox 360, as well as Dead Rising, Gears of War, and Lost Planet. I just hope we get info about the US release date and actors.

Hershey07
Hershey07

OMG, this game looks awesome!! Can't wait!

Chris875
Chris875

I'll definately be watching for more on this one, the turn based battles look like they have a modern spin to them with the muliple camera angles. Not sure if it's unique to this game or not but I like it. Having your shadows represent you in battle seems like a cool concept too, It justifies playing with super-cute charachters!

Gamepro2421
Gamepro2421

i've never really play a "modern" turn based RPG (nothing since GBA FFI/II) and this sounds like it could be a good place to jump in...IF i didn't have to drop $600 to do so.....

JohnnyWeird
JohnnyWeird

I'm more interested in Lost Odyssey than this, but this still looks great. I'm already hearing about more 360 RPGs than there ever were on the XBox, and that's fantastic.

wildsoul0509
wildsoul0509

if this game is from the creator of final fantasy it has to be good

OnlineGama
OnlineGama

well i personally think this game could own ima try and get when is it comen out anyway? and i waS never into finnal fantasy its just to...well colonial times to me...

Demandred24
Demandred24

This looks awesome. It looks like dragon quest vIII on steroids. WOW soo excited

Demandred24
Demandred24

I already see this game getting dogged on by the reviewers here, why? Because its not a final fantasy. It doesn't matter that the 360 is getting all new fresh rpgs, its not a final fantasy and there for its dirt. I am so tired of well this is taken directly from ff IV or FFVII. Do I really need to go into how many things FF rips off of everyone else as well. I am glad I got a 360, why because I have a ton of new and fresh innovative titles. Quite frankly I am done with 3 devil may crys. I am done with what now 13 FFs. I am done with now 4 metal gears.

eva15
eva15

i don't know why most people are complaining, most xbox owner and 360 owner are asking for more RPG and when they give you one which looks good and has a great devolpement staff behind and you start complaining geez!!!

gertish
gertish

This game looks great..I'm just hoping the storyline is good.

Sir_Crocidile
Sir_Crocidile

I have been saying this since around e3 05, Mistwalker is the new company to watch on the 360. Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey are shaping up to be huge Rpgs. Also the addition of Akira Toriyama as an artist for Blue Dragon (whether you agree or disagree) is a huge selling point for Japan. Perhaps these games will generate some interest for the 360 in Japan? Only time will tell I guess.

JDO
JDO

I agree with you kenerhai, this game looks great. Makes you wonder what the fanboys would say if it were coming out for their system?

kenerhai
kenerhai

this game looks fantastic, you dont like the style dont play it. but this game is gonna rock. all games from mystwalker are gonna rock.

MagicAg
MagicAg

I'm sick of this kind of Japanese comic style---a kid saves the world .......again. But nobody [censor - Tony__c] with Akira Toriyama.

PatternJuggler
PatternJuggler

Meh . . . the story and character design seem a little immature. Okay, a LOT immature.

sharpshooter188
sharpshooter188

character design looks like crap imo. =\ little kids as heros just...eeh..never caught my attention. only one who did that was link in the original zelda. heck man...chrono was like 16. he was the man. they should res him as a hidden character in the game 8 )

supernice
supernice

They all look like DBZ posers.The main one looks like a small Gohan or Goku.The one with the black hair is wearing Great Saiyanman's outfit.The one chick with her hair up looks alot like Chichi.The Pirate hottie could pass off as Android 18.This game has to be a imaetion of DBZ.

e_boulanger
e_boulanger

Finally something better than a FPS or an online game on the 360.

Kruza
Kruza

Sounds great :)

thekey
thekey

Can't wait for this one!

Duminakan89
Duminakan89

This looks like an intersting game, hopefully i'll have some extra cash so I can get this 1

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

Game looks great so far. Really enjoyed the trailer.

amaranth_aeon
amaranth_aeon

It's nice to have variety, after all. Kid friendly, mature... While I tend to favour "adult" games (I know, bad choice of words... ^_^), I like to play "lighter" games once in a while. Blue Dragon really looks like something I'd enjoy. And remember Dark Cloud 2: it was kid friendly, yet still an awesome game, one of my favorites on the PS2 - original, long and consistently good, great graphics & distinctive style. I love my 360 more with every RPG-related news I hear... :D (As a sidenote: if all JRPGs look the same, then the same could be said about American FPSs or dungeon crawlers... and personally, I don't believe either of these statements to be true.)

da1on2
da1on2

for some reason i think this game will flop, now time to check out lost odessy

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

You don't like Akira Toriyama why not? I hear that the way he draws his children characters are so unique that you can pick them out of a gallery of Japanese Manga artists instantly. I love his style at least more so than most. The dragons come pretty close to his DragonBall roots. Sounds promising. Here's hoping if you die in the game you can wish a character back to life without having to wait a year and collect some collectibles to do so;)