Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow preview – – Preview

After a successful launch on the Xbox360 and the mild reception on the Nintendo DS, the Blue Dragon series is back again with a full-on sequel on the DS titled Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow.

GameZone sat down with with Joe Fletcher, the producer on Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow, and was able to learn the ins and outs of the upcoming RPG that pits players in the role of a new lead character that is fully customizable.

The list of customization options include:

* Facial features
* Combat voice
* Natural voice
* Hair style
* Emblem

The emblem is unique in the fact that, later on in the game, players will receive buffs from the emblem they pick for their family crest. For the hair styles, players are able to switch out their hair style mid-game by visiting barbershops.

There isn’t full-on voice acting, but all the key quests and scenes are fully voice acted. Many of the side-quests are voice acted too, so players shouldn’t expect a lot of text when adventuring aside from the central story. Some fans may want more text than sound when it comes to listening to Marumaro’s painful nasally voice.

Changing the basics of combat, players now are able to switch shadows assigned to each party character. The explanation behind this, storyline wise, is that everyone in the world had their shadow removed, besides the main character of course. The main character now shares his/her shadow powers with the party members – all the original characters return – so Shu isn’t left powerless in his journey to save the world.

He’s back!

Designs and all the concepts are straight from the owner of the intellectual property, Mistwalker, while Tri-Crescendo has taken over development and programming of the title. With that said, multiplayer is being implemented in the form of both local and wi-fi battles with bosses that were defeated in the single-player.

Since Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow continues the canon – as opposed to Blue Dragon Plus, which was non-canonical – fans will want to purchase the handheld title to learn what happens to the gang from the original. Containing close to 20-30 hours of gameplay, with a reported 60-80 hours in total for all the side-missions, fans will have a lot of replay value when it comes to the length of the game.

If that doesn’t entice them, then perhaps the 250 weapons and armor count will bring them to the fold. Different weapon types, such as single-handed, martial arts, two-handed, and the like are included in the bunch while the armor distinctly changes the look of the characters when equipped. Players can return to boss fights to continue to level up their shadows and earn new weapons through the unique loot the bosses drop.

Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow fits nicely on 1 gig DS cart, one of the largest of its kind, and is set to debut May 2010.