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Blue Dragon Plus Review

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Adequate but uninspired RP sequel

★★★★★

Although it garnered critical praise and now boasts a fiercely loyal fanbase, the original Blue Dragon was largely an exercise in helping the Xbox 360 gain a foothold in Japan, offering a traditional RPG experience that appealed unashamedly to Japanese gamers who were cold towards the console’s proliferation of wartime blasters and flashy action adventures. But while the Xbox game was a breath of fresh air on a console starved of quality role-players, this portable version pales in comparison to the huge library of RPGs already available on Nintendo’s all-conquering handheld.

What’s most disappointing about Blue Dragon Plus is that should have been an instant classic. Developed by a team that includes alumni from the Final Fantasy games – and boasting beautiful presentation, incredible music and eye-popping video sequences – BD Plus is shot-through with blockbuster potential, its unusual blend of turn-based battles and role-playing making it a fine alternative to the underrated Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings.

But what the game gives with one hand it snatches away with the other, BD Plus’ familiar RTS action undermined by clunky and unintuitive controls that make it hard to select units or launch attacks, stupid computer-controlled comrades who blindly bumble across the map without paying attention to where they’re going, and battles that are tainted by a pedestrian pace even the game’s sublime presentation can’t disguise.

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