Having been a big fan of the original Blue Dragon game for the Xbox 360 I was really looking forward to playing Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow for the Nintendo DS from D3 Publisher. The game takes place 2 years after the original and 1 year after Blue Dragon Plus. You begin the game with your character waking up in a dungeon with no recollection of his/her past. After some wandering around you end up in Neo Jibral Kingdom where everyone has lost the use of their shadow except, of course, for your character. Eventually you run into the original protagonist of the series who joins you in your mysterious quest.
Awakened Shadow makes a few changes from the previous games that actually help out the game instead of hindering your enjoyment of it. For starters, instead of playing as Shu, the protagonist of the first two games, you start the game off as a character that you can fully customize. You can choose everything from gender, to hair and even voice style. While Shu and his friends are still vital characters within the game it’s a nice change to have the story focus on someone else. It also makes it easier for people who never played the first two games to get into this game.
Secondly, unlike the previous games, this one offers you the opportunity to group up with friends via Wi-Fi or a local connection. The game will allow up to 3 friends to join up and complete quests together. Something I enjoyed about multiplayer was that the game doesn’t make it a necessity but does reward you for using it. Some of the bosses will drop higher level items if they are beaten using multiplayer and there are even some items that can only be attained through multiplayer.
Finally the biggest change in the game is the combat system. Instead of using a turn based system, like most RPG’s, this game uses a system closer to an action game. You attack your opponent by pressing the A button. If you hold the A button for a few seconds you will summon your shadow and be able to cast a spell. With the B button you can either block your opponents attack or dodge them. The game also differentiates itself by its leveling system. Instead of leveling up the characters, you level up your shadows. As your shadows level up you gain access to new spells. The great thing is that the shadows can easily be switched between party members so you never have to worry about power leveling a certain character.
You can play through game without doing all the side quests which can lead to about 30 hours and if you decide to complete all the quests, then the game can last about 45 hours. My only problem with the game is that you can easily forget about the over-all story by getting lost in the side quests and even then I can’t recommend this game enough. If you’re a fan of RPG’s and own a DS then you should definitely check out Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow.