Where the Talent Went

What’s up with all the mediocre Blue Dragon reviews? The game is fantastic. Now, mind you, I was pretty hard on the demo. Like I’ve said a million times, it’s really tough to properly demo a role playing game. You either give the player too many options and it’s overwhelming, start them from the beginning and it’s boring and pointless, or just plain confuse them with the middle of a story they’re not remotely involved in yet. The Blue Dragon demo did two of these three things.

When that was compounded with a slew of resounding “nothing special” reviews from the press, my decision to hold off until the price dropped some was understandable. Lucky for me, however, a fine gentleman mailed me a copy of Mistwalker’s RPG last week, and I’m about five hours in now.

While some tasteless individuals only associate Akira Toriyama with Dragon Ball Z and the tacky club shirts that were birthed in its wake, rest assured that he is one of the most original and imaginative character designers on our planet Earth. Don’t even get me started on his monster designs. I love the Toriyama aesthetic, and it really shines when joined in the mighty creative triforce with Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu.

In fact, I think this is some of Uematsu’s best composition since FFVII. There’s a great balance between the more whimsical tracks and the dissonant moody tunes that echo in spacious interiors. And please believe that the presentation as a whole is unparalleled. I don’t think any other role playing game has managed this level of clarity in realizing its world, with characters as sharp as toys granted some kind of voodoo animation and environments that bring a real sense of scale to everything.

My only real beef at this point is the way that items and gold are hidden in every damn object on the map. If you’re OCD about that crap like I am, then you’ll basically be hugging the walls and jamming the A button to search everything. A small complaint that probably wouldn’t trouble someone less mentally challenged than yours truly.

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