Review by Psycho Penguin

"Why couldn't they all be this good?"

Introduction

I am a huge fan of RPGs. Ever since I first played Mystic Quest many a years ago (okay, one) I have been a huge fan. I have always seemed compelled by unique storylines, great battle system, and overall fun factor that a lot of RPGs offer. Only a few RPG’s that I have played up to this point have I not liked. The original Breath of Fire was one of them. The game had a pretty terrible fun factor in my opinion, and just was not very good and fun to play. Sure it had its good points but I was really let down by the whole experience.

So when my friend offered to let me borrow Breath of Fire 2, I debated. I heard bad things about Breath of Fire 2, but I decided to borrow it anymore. After playing it for a while, what was my opinion on the game? I had a lot of good feelings about the game, and I still feel that this is the best game in the entire series (yes, even better than parts 3 and 4). The change of menu system and battle system is a welcome sign to me, and I especially liked the changes to the overall gameplay.

Graphics (8.3/10)

The graphics in the game are much better than they are in Breath of Fire, in my opinion. The game seems to take full advantage of the Super Nintendo processing capabilities. The game uses a wide variety of colors and this leads to great enemy designs and some great character designs. This game really does feature great graphics. I think the graphics in this game are much better than the ones in the original Breath of Fire game for a few reasons, but the main one is that everything seems to be so much more animated and colorful in this game then they were in the original game.

Character designs in the game are pretty good, although not perfect. I like how there is a variety of character designs featured in the game, as all of the main characters in the game, from the wolf to the main character (human) all look great. Even the minor non-playable characters in the game, like shopkeepers and other minor people featured in towns, have great designs to them. Overall, the character designs in the game are great.

Enemy designs in the game are outstanding, and I especially like the enemy designs in this game much more than the ones in the prequel. They all look very nicely designed, as most of them are brightly colored and well animated. I especially like the boss designs in the game, as they are very well detailed. One of the problems featured in most role playing games are the fact that the same enemy likes to repeat itself, only with a different color. While this still plagues BOF2 to a certain extent, it is not as bad as I would have expected. Overall, the enemy designs in the game are great!

Backgrounds in the game are nicely done, as well. I especially enjoyed the look of the over world map, as it was very well detailed and nicely designed. The towns themselves also look great, whether you are looking at them from the outside (on the over world map) or from within (when you enter the town). All of the towns look nicely animated, and each of them have a different look. You can make out individual details in some of the towns in the game, especially later on in the game. You can make out details like waterfalls and little rocks stuck on the pathway. Overall, the backgrounds in the game are great.

Battle graphics in the game are fantastic. One of my complaints about the first Breath of Fire was the fact that the battle system looked rather plain, as it featured blue screens underneath and complicated and poorly designed logos. But in this game, it has all been improved, and definitely for the better. The blue screens of the first game have been replaced with brightly colored red screens, and the complicated logos have been replaced with words. I love the changes made to the battle graphics in the game. Overall, the battle graphics are superb.

Overall, the graphics in the game are simply well done. No other words could be used to describe the graphics better, because that’s what these graphics are. Well done. From the much improved battle graphics to the brightly animated and colorful backgrounds, Breath of Fire 2 is a graphical treat. I especially enjoyed the variety of enemy and character designs in the game, as I thought they were superb.

Music/Sound (9.1/10)

Well, the music and sound effects are very good as well, and again they’re very well done. The battle music and sound effects are great, and all the other music featured in the game features variety and consistency. Great music, even better sound effects. I definitely feel that the music and sound effects in the game are much better than the ones in the original Breath of Fire. I don’t know why, but I never really liked the music or sound effects in the other games in the series, but I happened to like the music and sound effects in this game.

Music in the game is top notch. As some of you may know, I did not really enjoy the music in parts 1 or 3 of the series. However, I am definitely a fan of the music in the second game in the series. Everything from the over world music to the music in the towns is great. However, I especially enjoyed two pieces of music in the game: the battle theme and the boss theme. I definitely liked both of these and felt they were much better than the battle theme and boss theme featured in the original game. I wanted to see a good battle theme in the game because if I get annoyed by the battle music in a game, chances are I would not want to play through the entire game, especially with the amount of battles featured in the game. Overall, the music in the game is great.

Sound effects wise, the sound effects in the game are also pretty good but I would have expected a bit more. Most of the sound effects in the game occur, as you might have guessed, during battle. Most of the sound effects during battle are your basic sounds like the sword hitting your enemy, the enemy dying and disappearing to another world, etc. There are some sound effects featured outside of battle, like the sound of the earth moving during an earthquake, etc. Overall, the sound effects in the game are above average.

Overall, the music and sound effects in the game are fantastic. I did not really enjoy the music and sound effects in the other games in the series, but that does not mean anything in this game, because I definitely enjoyed the music and sound effects in the game. I especially liked the battle theme and boss theme in the game. Capcom definitely has shown me they could make good music and sound effects in a role playing game, hopefully they will be able to again in the future.

Gameplay/Control (8.6/10)

The game is just like any other Role Playing game, but it is very long and featured a lot of battles. If that’s your cup and tea, then welcome to the world of Breath of Fire 2. If you’re not a fan of battles and prefer storyline, then this game may not be for you. I feel that Capcom made a lot of improvements to the series based on this game alone. First off, the battle system has improved greatly. Also, a lot of innovations are featured in the game, like a meter on the menu screen that shows you when a monster is near.

One of the biggest problems with this game, in my opinion, is the sheer number of battles you must fight in throughout the game. There are random battles, which means you do not actually see your enemies before going into battle. There is a little green enemy in the menu that is supposed to help by telling you when an enemy is near, but I still have yet to figure out the point of this. I mean, it really does not help much at all. And I hated the fact I would walk three steps in a dungeon and get into yet another battle. It got really annoying after a while.

Fortunately, the battle system in the game has improved a lot over the first game in the series. While the original Breath of Fire featured a rather unique battle system that featured confusing logos and basically a lack of fun, the sequel offers a revamped design that make battles much more fun as well as less complicated. First off, instead of using logos to help you pick an option, it gives you word. Instead of having a sword logo, it just says ''attack''. This is definitely a good thing in my opinion, because I quickly got annoyed by the logos featured in the battle system featured in the original Breath of Fire.

The menu system in the game has also improved greatly. Another failure in the original Breath of Fire was the fact that Capcom abbreviated a lot of the item names in the game, so it was quite difficult to figure out what item was with, especially with the lack of information in it. Also, the format of the menu system in the original featured those infamous logos, which automatically meant that it was more complicated to use it. However, the menu system in the sequel is much more friendly in terms of using, because it uses words instead of logos. It definitely is much more improved.

Another interesting feature in this game is the addition of an emotion meter. This is basically a logo that changes color depending on the emotion that the character shown is currently feeling. This logo is shown in the dialog and text boxes, and is very important because you can tell how characters are doing and whether they are being completely truthful with you or not.

Control: The control in the game is great, as I would expect from a Capcom game. I liked how you could assign certain features to each button. For instance, let’s say you wanted to go to the weapons screen. To do this normally, you would have to go to the option menu and then to the weapon screen. Well, what if you are so lazy and don’t want to go through all of that? Simple! Just assign a button like the L Button to the weapons menu, press L, and you’re at the weapons screen! Overall, the control in the game is great.

Overall, Breath of Fire is a very fun game that features outstanding control and a great battle system. Both the battle system and menu systems in the game have been much improved from the original game, and it shows, because I definitely had a very fun time playing through this game. I did not like the extreme amount of battles in the game, but the battle music was decent so I didn’t totally get annoyed by the battles in the game. Add to the gameplay, the classic music, awesome graphics, and great sound effects, and this is a classic Super Nintendo role playing game! Great, great, great. A very good rebound from a bad start to the series. I especially liked all the innovations to the game, and this is the way a sequel should be made.

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Other Important Scores
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Replay Value: Medium

The original Breath of Fire was a terrible game when it came to replay value, but the sequel improved in this category a lot. The main reason for this is because the music is generally not annoying, as it was much better than I would have expected. The storyline in the game is decent, as well. This is important because you will want to beat the game just to see what happened to the characters in the game. Overall, this game features decent replay value.

Challenge: Medium

This game is a decent challenge, although it is nothing special. The game is quite long, which could provide the player with a decent challenge in itself. Otherwise, most of the game is pretty easy, as the biggest two problems are the length of the game itself and the fact you have to go through so many battles in the game. Most of the battles are pretty easy, however, the basis of the fact that you have to go through so many is the challenge in itself. Overall, the game only has decent challenge, nothing more.


GOOD POINTS
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-The battle and menu systems have been much improved over the original.
-The graphics are colorful, animated, and well detailed.
-The music and sound effects in the game are great, especially the battle theme and boss theme.

BAD POINTS
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-There is a lot of battles in the game, and there are random battles.
-The game can get tedious at times because it takes so long to complete.
-The storyline is not the best ever in a role playing game.

Overall (8.8/10)

Overall, Breath of Fire is a very fun game that features outstanding control and a great battle system. Both the battle system and menu systems in the game have been much improved from the original game, and it shows, because I definitely had a very fun time playing through this game. I did not like the extreme amount of battles in the game, but the battle music was decent so, I didn’t totally get annoyed by the battles in the game. Add to the gameplay, the classic music, awesome graphics, and great sound effects, and this is a classic Super Nintendo role playing game! Great, great, great. A very good rebound from a bad start to the series. I especially liked all the innovations to the game, and this is the way a sequel should be made.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/00, Updated 07/16/01


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