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APFFRT 4 Round 1: (5) Final Fantasy X vs. (28) Blue Dragon

APFFRT 4 Round 1: (5) Final Fantasy X vs. (28) Blue Dragon – August 1, 2013 2:25 PM (edited 8/1/13 10:25 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
In theory, Blue Dragon should be a great game. It's basically the same collaboration that resulted in Chrono Trigger, after all. However, I played the demo and immediately dismissed it as being way too slow. Like, in terms of loading in battle. It's like Chrono Trigger on PS1 in that way, actually. FFX, on the other hand, is an FF game I appreciate but never really loved. So who knows what might happen when they're put head to head.

Game 1: Visuals
The opening shot of Blue Dragon is extremely pretty. It really makes the most of being in HD and having the Toriyama style. Unfortunately, it's kind of all downhill from there. The character designs are the same as ever for Toriyama, although they seem to have mixed the person parts more than usual so everyone isn't a direct Dragon Ball stand-in. However, it doesn't quite work in 3D. I can't put my finger on it, but the graphics seem kind of vaguely awkward. They're certainly not bad, just a bit off.

For a game that's so bright and colorful, FFX sure has a dark intro. There is a lot of graphical showing off in FFX, and it holds up well for a PS2 game even in the HD era. The effects are cool, particularly things like the pyreflies that erupt whenever anything dies (not that you'd know what those were at this point). The weirdest thing about the visuals is how much different the cutscenes look than the game, and how little they really have to. This is a detailed game with a detailed world and some pretty stunning environments early on - all the more so because they're basically throwaways.

FFX feels like it just has way more going on than Blue Dragon visually. Blue Dragon goes for a crisp, cartoon style - a style I typically like - but doesn't quite succeed. FFX is mostly obsessed with water, but the water effects aren't half bad. The long and the short of it is, Zanarkand looks way cooler than anything I've seen in Blue Dragon. FFX wins this round.
Final Fantasy X leads 1-0

Game 2: Audio
The second credit listed in the intro, behind Toriyama, is Nobuo Uematsu, so I expect the music to be good. Well, if it is, it must start after the first half-hour. The music I've heard has been uninspired, and I particularly don't like the battle music. On the other hand, the voice acting is fine, if a bit overwrought. However, the UI sound effects annoy me, and the robotic voice that tells you when the game is playable and gives other single-word updates really annoys me. A lot of this game rubs me the wrong way for reasons I can't really express.

Not many games are audacious enough to put the last boss music in the intro scene. And not many Final Fantasy games have totally metal last boss music. This one does, and I love it. The voice acting is mostly good as well. Tidus certainly has some awkward moments (and more to come!), but this seems to be largely a symptom of matching the English voice to the original animations. Tidus's narration has no such problems, and is quite good. Auron is even better, probably because he's so stoic and you usually can't see his lips. Also because he is Auron, and Auron is the best.

There's really no contest here. Blue Dragon's voice acting isn't nearly as good as FFX's, although there are more characters that speak. Its music also leaves a lot to be desired. They're kind of tied in terms of how annoying the menu sound effects are, but on balance, FFX wins this easily.
Final Fantasy X leads 2-0

Game 3: Combat
So far I've fought a number of Poo Snakes (yes, really), and a boss that crushed me mercilessly. While the Poo Snakes do this funny thing where they call for allies and no one ever shows up, the extension of an already slow combat system is really not worth the humor. There's plenty of potential here, and the FFX-like turn order display definitely intrigues me, but so far I've literally done nothing but attack, almost always for 1-3 damage. Exciting it ain't.

It's kind of funny when you replay FFX and know what all the stuff in combat means, and realize that both of your characters start with 95% full Overdrive meters. It's a good thing, too, because Overdrives are the only thing you can really do other than attack early on. The turn order display is great, and monsters do a good job having tells that inform your strategy.

The truth is, both games' early combat is almost all just attacking. FFX just does a much better job of hiding that fact. Also, you're fighting off an invasion of insect guys in a city that's burning before your eyes, which is way cooler than fighting Poo Snakes guarding treasure chests. I mean, come on.
Final Fantasy X leads 3-0

Game 4: Advancement
I didn't gain any levels, but I'm somewhat impressed by how significant the few items I've found are. I've found accessories with +10 to both attack and defense, both of which hover around 3 on all my party members. The results are as significant as those numbers imply, too. I definitely need to see more, but so far it's not bad at all.

In FFX I literally did not advance in any way at all. I don't even think I gained sphere points, or whatever fuels the sphere grid, let alone getting any spheres. Auron did give me a sword, but that was before the first actual fight anyway. Hell, I didn't even get any items.

Blue Dragon wins this one by default, as FFX basically gets a 0 in the advancement department.
Final Fantasy X leads 3-1

Game 5: Characters
I actually kind of like the three main characters, although both Jiro and Kluke have hair that annoys me. Shu is fine except for the fact that he said "I won't give up!" at least half a dozen times in the half hour I played. The other characters are pretty lame, but most of them are villagers who appeared for all of thirty seconds. The villain, who I guess is Nene based on the fight with him, is incredibly lame. The guy kind of looks like Squidward but with thick-rimmed red hipster glasses. I mean, what? His annoying little shoulder monster guy is also, well, annoying. At least his robot henchmen seems pretty cool. And there's something inherently funny about a huge robot pulling out a tiny handgun to threaten people with.

Tidus is pretty cool, and it's not every day you get to play a popular sports star dealing with fans in an RPG, but let's be honest: he plays second-fiddle to Auron early on. For the uninformed, it's simple: Auron is the best. Knowing nothing, he appears to be a super badass samurai guy who's got an awesome voice, an appropriate amount of crypticness, and no fear of the heretofore unknown death god that's destroying the place. And when you know what's going on, it's actually even cooler than that. Also he has a huge jug of booze that he takes out at least once in the intro.

Shu may not give up, but Auron doesn't have to, because he's already the best. And winning. As in this game. And the match. And now he's going to have a drink.
Final Fantasy X wins 4-1

Conclusion
Blue Dragon may have fared better in the World and Story categories, because it was just starting to get interesting when time was up, but the truth is I just found the game way too bland and strangely annoying. FFX's intro is great, because it brings up a ton of questions that will remain mysteries throughout most of the game. (And thankfully all be resolved, some more weirdly than others.) Also, FFX never features hipster glasses.

Next Game: (12) Final Fantasy VII vs. (21) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: APFFRT 4 Round 1: (5) Final Fantasy X vs. (28) Blue Dragon – August 2, 2013 1:20 PM (edited 8/2/13 9:20 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I can't say this round surprised me at all. Blue Dragon was fun enough, but on the whole it was pretty bland through and through. It was an early release for the 360 and I think by and large it was pushed out just to say the 360 had RPGs at all. I will say that in the late game you get a truly inspired spell though. On the world map, you get to cast a protection spell around yourself and if you bump into enemies that would normally be a trivial fight with that spell up, you kill the monster on the world map without going into the fight, automatically getting all the exp and money as if you had the fight. Best RPG feature ever. But, again, that doesn't come till much later on in an otherwise fairly meh worthy game.

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