Mar 27, 2009
Fun Factor: 8/10
Total Score: 26/30
Sometimes it doesn't take long for an idea to catch on.
Looking at Blue Dragon Plus for the Nintendo DS, it sure seems
that a trend has formed of RPG games branching into the strategy
And why not? Final Fantasy Tactics has been such a success its
become its own cottage industry. Final Fantasy XII sported a
real-time strategy sequel for the DS called Revenant Wings and now
Blue Dragon has a RTS sequel of its own in Blue Dragon Plus.
Like its predecessors, Blue Dragon Plus offers a mix of
real-time strategy and RPG elements.
The overall presentation is top-notch both during play and
during the game's cinematics. The game boasts a sountrack by Final
Fantasy legend Nobuo Uematsu and character designs by Akira
Toriyama (character designer for Dragon Ball Z and the Dragon Quest
The control scheme is simple enough that the game can be
controlled with the stylus alone, selecting units by touch,
selecting a destination (or target) and choosing between magical
abilities are easy to get the hang of, though sometimes the small
screen makes things a little confusing during the heat of
Still, the characters are distinctive enough that you can tell
them apart, even though they're quite small and the game does a
good job of walking you through the early missions, which are
played with a smaller party of more generalized characters.
For someone like me, who prefers his strategy in turns and not
real-time, this was a welcome introduction to the game and made it
easy to get involved in the action. The game's tutorial missions
also spell out quite clearly what the roles of the various
characters are- who should be wading into melee and who should
hiding behind them to throw spells.
Although the game sports a few dedicated spellcasters,
including an elemental "artillery" caster and healer, almost all
the characters have a special spell-like ability to inflict
elemental damage, usually in an area. Some of these attacks strike
in a line while others affect an area. Once an ability is used,
there's a "cool down" period in real time before a special ability
can be used again.
Blue Dragon Plus packs a lot of fun gameplay into its 30-hour
single player campaign. Your characters gain levels and can find
items to increase their abilities. Each character has a unique feel
and has a role to fill and the maps where the battles take place
are large and allow plenty of room for maneuvering.
The levels are well designed and give you plenty of chances to
use the terrain to your advantage.
Blue Dragon Plus is an engaging game for gamers of all ages.
In addition to playing the game myself, I loaned it to my neice, a
12 year-old dedicated gamer who has beaten Final Fantasy X-2 and
the Kingdom Hearts games more times than I can count (more times
than me for sure).
Like me, she enjoyed the game and was drawn in by its cute
character designs, which she immediately recognized as "by that
Dragon Quest guy".
If you are a fan of strategy games, especially on handheld
platforms where they seem particularly strong right now, or if you
are a fan of old-school Japanese RPGs, you should definitely check
out Blue Dragon Plus.