Review by Calamity
"A major improvement from the first game, but still has a little while to go before it's excellent"
Breath of Fire II is the second game of the Breath of Fire series. It was a major improvement over the first game in my opinion, but it still has its problems. This GBA port of the game did enhance it a little, but the minor upgrades are nothing groundbreaking really. However, the game is still a definite improvement over the first Breath of Fire in almost every single way. With that being said, onto the review.
Graphics:8/10:The graphics aren't too bad. They're pretty decent, but really I've seen far better Graphics on the SNES/GBA before. Unfortunately, the graphics are slightly toned down compared on the GBA version to the SNES original Breath of Fire II. Meanwhile, character designs are fine. Area designs could use a little more work in my opinion, but they are pretty good. Despite that though, at times areas looked bland or often repeated boring patterns. Which really brought down the area design at times. Enemy designs are pretty good and boss designs are extremely impressive meanwhile. Pure quality wise, the graphics are a great improvement over the first game's graphics. However, better graphics have been seen on the SNES/GBA. Despite that though, the graphics score a 8/10. With graphics out of the way, it's onto the gameplay of Breath of Fire II.
Gameplay:9/10:Breath of Fire II is a RPG. Battles and exploration are done with a three man party. Battles are randomly initiated. You take a few steps in a dungeon and then a battle will randomly occur. Aside from that, as with most RPG's, you follow the common pattern of going from town to dungeon. Upgrading equipment, buying items and resting at the Inn in town. Then triggering the next Storyline event if needed or just moving onto the next dungeon. Progressing through the dungeon and usually fighting a boss at the end. Beating the boss and then most likely exiting the dungeon and moving to the next town. Exploration outside of towns/dungeons is done in a old-school World Map way. You walk across a map to locations and get a few vehicles over the course of the game. Now, allow me to talk about the minor upgrades this port brought and the difficulty balance.
The minor upgrades are the translation is better and the menus in battle look more stylish. Plus, enemies give a little more EXP/Gold from battles. Another nice feature is the ability to run out of battle. It makes traveling MUCH QUICKER compared to the SNES original. As for the difficulty balance in Breath Of Fire II...It begins rather fairly challenging, but as the game proceeds on it gets dramatically easier. Even the end of the game was easy and the final boss put up little of a fight. Not too much else to say about the difficulty. Fortunately though, the game remains fun despite it's lack of challenge. Which is the most important thing. Now, let me get onto my two minor problems with this game.
One problem is that at certain points, you are forced to use certain party members. Which is not awesome. It's like trying to eat soup with a spoon, but then someone takes the spoon away from you and gives you a fork and tells you to eat the soup with a fork. Fortunately, the game makes those dungeons where party members are forced a little easier compared to previous ones. So, it's not too huge of a issue. My other problem is the game at times does drag on a little. Sometimes, it just feels like the game isn't really going anywhere. Despite that though, the game still has fairly good pacing. Overall though, the gameplay received a major overhaul from the first game. It's significantly improved and is a lot better compared to the first game. Yet, strangely I still had more fun with the first game. So, gameplay gets a 9/10. Next up, is the storyline of Breath of Fire II. Something that also greatly improved in comparison to the first game.
Storyline:8.5/10:The Storyline in Breath of Fire II is FAR BETTER then its predecessor. There is more character development, a actual plot and decent dialogue. The scene direction is pretty good as well too. In Breath Of Fire II, the Storyline is that Ryu and Bo(Two friends. Ryu is the protagonist and Bo is his friend) as kids sneak out of their hometown and go into a cave due to rain beginning to pour down upon them leaving. There, they encounter a ferocious beast named Barbury who annihilates Ryu and Bo. However, they were not killed miraculously. You then learn a little backstory to the overall plot of the game and the game truly begins from there. The game skips ahead a few years to when Ryu and his friend Bo are a lot older. From there, the game takes off as Ryu and Bo inevitably embark on a journey that results in a quest to save the world. Despite the generic plot, the game saves itself by having good characters.
Throughout the game, you learn a lot about all of the characters. Furthermore, there's a pretty good amount of plot twists that occur as the game goes on. You'll find that the game is packed with a lot of interesting twists and turns as you get towards the end of the game where you encounter a lot of the game's plot twists. By the end, you'll learn about each of the character's back-stories and their aspirations. Aside from that, the game's dialogue is pretty good. Everything seems to work correctly for the most part in each of the scenes throughout the game. The dialogue fits and nothing seems out of place. However, despite that the storyline does have some flaws...
In my opinion, the problem with the storyline occurs towards the end. Character development kind of takes a backseat to the main storyline towards the end of the game. Plus, some of the characters have rather boring personalities to begin with and they could be a little more interesting. Despite that though, they all are developed over the course of the game and you learn about every character. Especially, the protagonist Ryu. Not to mention, the game has one of the absolute coolest scenes in any RPG ever during the confrontation with the final boss. Overall, the storyline gets a 8.5/10. It was a major improvement over the first game though. Last, is the Music.
Music:8.5/10:The Music is mixed in Breath of Fire II. Some aspects the music improved. Such as the battle and boss themes. However, aside from that...Breath of Fire II's soundtrack pales in comparison to the first. Breath of Fire I had amazing town and dungeon songs. Meanwhile, Breath of Fire II tends to have average town songs and pretty crappy dungeon songs. Only a few dungeon songs really stand out as exceptional and worth listening to. So, Music gets a 8.5/10. Is Breath of Fire II worth your time overall?
Overall:9/10:Breath of Fire II is a major improvement over the first game. Both the storyline and gameplay were completely improved over the original. Although, I think the first game is a little fun for some odd bizarre reason. As for the Music...It was improved in some aspects, but worse in some areas too. So, it's really mixed as far as the soundtrack goes. The graphics themselves are a lot better then the first game's graphics, but they look worse on the GBA port compared to the SNES original. It has its problems, but Breath of Fire II is well worth a playthrough. It's a great game that improves upon it's predecessor in almost every single way. Overall, it gets a 9/10. If you were skeptical of giving this game a try because you didn't like the first, then give this a shot. Since, it greatly improves upon the original. Despite that, I still had a little more fun with the first game and I liked the soundtrack of Breath of Fire 1 more. In conclusion though, a 9/10. Breath of Fire II is definitely worth anyone's time and is a great game.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/08, Updated 08/19/11
Game Release: Breath of Fire II (US, 04/16/02)
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