Sunday, December 9, 2007

Blue Dragon: First hour

Not bad. Definitely has me interested in playing more. The first 15 or so minutes were a little too much movie watching. Attempts were made to make it a bit more interactive, but it still felt a bit too much like "take step, watch movie, take another step, watch another movie".

There are some definite UI annoyances (I mistakenly cast a heal spell twice on the same character) and the powerup meter is a little confusing at first, but I think that combat is new and different enough that it will hold my interest for a while. I wonder whether at some point I will acquire the skill that lets me see enemy health and status during battles -- this is crucial information given that each creature in a group looks identical so I can't always be sure I'm attacking the desired target if they shift around.

I also love how the wandering monster game -- normally a tedious/boring component of these kinds of games -- has been refreshed. An outer game combat system has been layered on that helps make entering battles seem more strategic -- and the Monster Fight idea is great (where you can strategically try and make monsters fight each other by trapping incompatible creatures in the same combat radius).

I'm having a bit of difficulty figuring out the class system so that I can optimize my leveling, but I imagine that I'll learn more details as I go.

In terms of tutorial/learn as you play, the gameplay started off simple (and restricted) enough that hints weren't really needed for me (though I'd like to at least watch some sessions to see whether it was possible to fail as far as getting lost or dying in combat). I'm not in favor of the occasional powerpoint presentations that document how to use the Main Menu UI screens in order to access key features. It seems like a necessary evil for this kind of game (lots of deep UI choices and options) but I wish that the system could be simplified so that it didn't require these occasional interruptions.

The content is kind of amusing -- and seems geared to a younger audience.

Back to smacking down the "poo snakes".

No comments: