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blue dragon
games Posted 2007-10-26 16:35:50 by Jim Crawford
Weird as it sounds, I've been digging on Blue Dragon more than any JRPG I've played since Chrono Trigger. Given that I'm not “into” JRPGs by any stretch of the imagination, world-class production values are necessary for me to even give one a shot, so with that filter in mind, the distinguishing factor these two games have in common is that they let me enter battles on my own terms. Even without the “field barrier” spell that made my jaw drop playing the demo, merely being able to choose whether to have an encounter or not -- and even if I'm forced to have one, to still be the one to initiate it, by taking a swing -- reduces enormously the oppressive, hemmed-in feeling that I've gotten from Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.

Plus, Blue Dragon feeds the tube top pirate fetish I never knew I had.

The three most recent JRPGs I've tried make for interesting comparisons. For instance, it's fascinating to me how much I'm enjoying the battle system, when it's almost the same battle system that I thought had driven me away from Final Fantasy 10, about I don't know how many hours in. It was just after meeting the guy with blue antlers, anyways.

Blue Dragon made me want to go back and finish Dragon Quest 8, which does in fact have better writing and better characters. And yet, after seeing the way things could be, I can't go back to random battles. I might just replay Chrono Trigger instead.

Or I might give Final Fantasy 12 another shot. The battle system intrigued me, but the game seemed relentlessly opposed to letting me actually try it out, instead shoving hours of story and multitudes of characters at me that it then failed to make me care about in the slightest. Most story-heavy games break up exposition with gameplay, but not Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy breaks up exposition with exposition in another format, taking you from pre-rendered cinematics with voice acting into a lengthy text scroll into an in-engine cutscene with textual dialogue that you press X to advance, and then into a sequence where you walk around talking to people for fifteen minutes. When I played it, I was not in a mood where I was willing to put up with that sort of thing. If I timed it right, though, I could see myself enjoying FF12.
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