Repost: Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow Review

Creating a sequel after a proper console release is a daunting task. It become even more difficult when considering the title is an RPG and already contained an established world, Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow does a great job of remaining true to the world previously created in Blue Dragon.

In terms of the Nintendo DS, Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow shows that the system is capable of presenting a full fledged RPG experience and using the stylus in practical ways, rather than simplistic and obvious applications that quickly become old.

Plot

Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow opens two years after Blue Dragon with Shadows belonging to everyone in the world. Waking up underground, the player stumbles to the surface right after a strange light in the sky steals everyone’s Shadow. But while everyone is missing their Shadow, the player still controls one and is able to pass his Shadow power to others to use.

Not remembering what has happened, the player takes on the mission to find out what happened to the stolen shadows and find out more of where they have come from and why they were underground.

The Look

In the original Blue Dragon, Toriyama Akira provided the art style for the title. Obviously known more for the Dragon Ball universe, his Blue Dragon art style was his standard style presented for a new world. In Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow, the same style remains and the world is instantly recognizable.

New players are able to create their characters before they start the title and all the option all have the flair of Toriyama’s recognizable style. The title is presented in three dimensions and also contains a movable camera showing off the large amount of detail in the world.

Anyone familiar with the art style will recognize it, and when fixed the to the world of Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow, it appears very natural.

The Sound

The title has a recognizable soundtrack with an anime-esque sound. There are varying degrees of voice acting, much of which comes through when first meeting a new character. Other than that, most of the audio of the title is environmental. The music presents each area theme very well, and the subtle hints through the music help when dungeon crawling.

The title is best listened to through headphones as the Nintendo DS speakers had a tendency to lose some of the audio. It’s an enjoyable audio experience, though the voice-acting seemed a little unnecessary compared to the amount of text in-game.

The title can completely be controlled through the stylus and face buttons. Unlike previous titles using the stylus as a main function of control, Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow is the first that makes every action natural. Movement was simple, though accidentally moving the stylus over NPCs caused many repeat conversations. It also allows for the control through more conventional means by using the directional pad, but it feels a bit more stiff.

Combat through the stylus is a combination of movement around the battle area, touching enemies with the stylus to lock-on and either tapping enemies for melee attacks or pressing one of the Shadow’s attacks until the attack gauge fills and pressing “A” to attack.

Combat is quick and is a little difficult at first, but quickly becomes second nature. Strategy is important for later battles and blindly attack at close range isn’t the best way to defeat enemies.

Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow offers a lot of choices for the player. Just considering the options covering equipment are huge while simplified. It doesn’t make choices overly difficult, and allows for simple customization while remaining deep. That follows with Shadows as well.

Choosing which attacks to use and what attacks can be utilized with each Shadow followed the same trend as equipment. Properly outfitting characters and Shadows can create impressively strong parties or hurt them when fighting stronger enemy characters.

The story of the title remains a bit simplistic, but adds a lot of variety in the side-quests that the title offers. And the addition of multiplayer is a nice addition. Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow might be a sequel, but it is one of the better RPGs for the Nintendo DS.

Decisions

Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow has a lot of positive points to it. It is a RPG that works well with the Nintendo DS gameplay scheme while presenting an interesting story and gaming experience. It also provides a lot of hours of gameplay. The successful transition of the title’s world from a console to a portable handheld was accomplished and nothing appears to be missing from the portable version, other than a more focused experience.

Presented both towards the casual and RPG fan, Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow is a title that players shouldn’t miss because it works so well on the portable.

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Share