Designed specifically for the Japanese market in an attempt by Microsoft to enhance the Xbox 360's appeal overseas, Blue Dragon is a turn-based role-playing game that combines the all-star talents of character designer Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z), musician Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), and game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy). The storyline follows an impetuous boy named Shu, who along with his young companions, can harness the supernatural power of shadows. The party must use their unusual talents to defeat an ancient evil threatening to upend their world.
The play mechanics are similar to most Japanese RPGs, with players guiding their party across an overhead-view landscape that automatically switches to a close-up view whenever players make contact with wandering, onscreen enemies. Players then take turns with each character, using tactical skills, items, weapons, and magic to defeat their opponents and earn experience points. The visuals feature a picture-in-picture display of each party member during his or her turn, allowing the battlefield to be visible at all times. Blue Dragon also features an assortment of dramatic spell effects that play out in cinematic fashion.
What sets Blue Dragon apart from similar offerings is its use of shadow affinities instead of traditional classes or jobs. Each character can develop the technique of "shadow change," which essentially summons a phantom creature to assist in combat. Each shadow beast can specialize in specific roles, from assassins to sword masters to mage types, offering characters new skills as they level up in combat. Blue Dragon also includes a number of mini-games and environmental objects to interact with, such as tables, rocks, crates, and so forth, offering a chance to earn gold, helpful items, and other surprises. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide