With a hefty nod to old-school JRPGs of the past came Mistwalker's Blue Dragon, a cutesy leviathan of a game that spanned three discs, had about four movies' worth of cut-scenes and had you saving the world from purple clouds and something called the Land Shark. With it's turn-based combat and simple gameplay mechanics, it was a role playing game that seemingly all the family could have a crack at, and proved to be a half-decent way to spend a few hours - if you like untouched, retro RPG-ing, that is.
If you haven't checked it out then now might be a perfect opportunity to do so: in spite of being unavailable at many of the larger online stores, The Hut has a bunch of copies in at £6.73, over three quid less than the nearest competitor (£9.89 - Simply Games).
Dreamt up by Hironobu Sakaguchi - Final Fantasy's series creator no less - Blue Dragon is a game that ticks all of the right boxes, but that's only really because everything in it has been done before, and arguably better. Sakaguchi's Other Series looms large over this expansive adventure like an irritating sibling looking over your shoulder at every opportunity while you work and tutting with derision. The turn-based combat has been jacked straight out of any other notable Japanese role-player from the decade or two, although a larger nod to 'Agility' means that it's possible to chain a few attacks together before your pixellated assailant has the chance to fight back if you have a particularly speedy character.
The game name derives from the curious premise that the motley band of teenage orphans you get to control have the power to summon enormous ethereal shadows in the form of majestic beasts (one of which is a dragon) and use these towering avatars to kick the pants off of a variety of evil-doers and wild creatures alike. These shadows level up as you do, and you can assign any class to any shadow - although only the active class will grow while you adventure, giving you new permanent abilities and skills.
Ultimately whether or not you'll like this game depends almost entirely on your love or hatred of traditional JRPGs. Blue Dragon does absolutely nothing new, but it does provide a game experience that the original Xbox was sorely lacking, and with developers like BioWare and Bethesda turning their hand to a completely different style of role-playing, retro fans would do well to give this a look. With three discs of material here, a solid plot with a warm soundtrack and bright, shiny graphics, you're certainly getting your money's worth, but if I'm being totally honest, I'd do what I did and go for Lost Odyssey instead.
Thanks to andywedge at HotUKDeals