Review by rokon37

"The Most Criminally Underrated RPG Ever"

I am writing this review out of pure disgust. The general consensus of this game's quality is appalling to me.

Why, in the name of all that is decent, do people insist that this game is ''average'', or just a good time killer between Final Fantasies? Pure mental fallacy could never account for the sheer amount of unjust reviews I have heard for this game, or for that matter, explain other people's ideas of the ''perfect game'' itself. Two large mistakes were made in nearly every unfair review: comparing this game to its predecessors, and passing judgment merely on a few factors (sound in particular). To simplify, this game is not only better than most people claim, but may be one of the most defining examples of RPGs ever.

Characters 10/10
Never has an RPG had such a variety of characters as this one. Not since the first Final Fantasy have we seen characters that totally compliment others in terms of ability. To name a few, you have Rei, the model thief, who is quick, yet physically weak; Nina, who has low defense but high magic; and Garr, who has low speed yet very high attack power. Just enough are added to give the story flair, but not so much as to clutter it with useless or meaningless characters that actually hurt the game more than aid it (A folly Capcom has made on more than one occasion, mind you). All the characters interact with each other greatly, giving you quite a nice insight of their own specific traits. Seriously, I wish more games had such an emphasis on characters as this.

Sound 9/10
This just has to be addressed. As stated above, the sound is often what most people use to bash the game much more than needed. Capcom made this game during its ''jazz'' period; other such examples include Mega Man Legends and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The majority of gamers nowadays expect RPGs to be filled with stirring orchestral overtures and the occasional bouncy techno theme just for variety's sake. This is not saying they are bad, not at all. You see, games today demand some sort of gimmick or quirk to set them apart from others, especially RPGs, whose originality has nearly been sucked dry as it is. When I heard the music at first, yes, I thought it was different and misplaced, but then I realized just how much it made the game what it is. Every scene is complimented beautifully by each track, (the number of them exceeds most single CD RPGs by the way) and would actually make the game worse if they had not been left in their original form. The only downfall in the music in any way was the lack of variety of instruments, some which seemed to be found in more than a couple songs.

I may just be ranting here, but the soundtrack did have too many tracks left out. I was a disappointed when I found out the OST didn't even have half of the original game music on it, but the arrangements were a nice touch.

Control 10/10
This game has excellent control. Characters can move in eight directions, which make exploring all the more fun, and menus respond to all button commands flawlessly. It would have been nice to have Dual Shock support, but the game was released before such technology was fully implemented.

Story 9/10
Original? No, not quite. Probably the second most unfairly judged aspect of this game is its story, which by all means showcases some very memorable moments. Bits and pieces were indeed seemingly snatched from other games, but the same could be said for every other game released after 1996. It's the same old song and dance we've seen before: Ryu, dragon warrior elite, must take up arms against an unknown evil to save (or rather, ''free'') the world, but this game proves that it's not the story being told, but how the story is told. The characters move the scenes along wonderfully, and every person introduced has a role to play. I could go into much more expansive detail but GameFAQs duefully rejects spoilers. Even Square would have a hard time topping this one.

As far as tying up loose ends from previous games, Breath of Fire 3 merely touches the surface. No real interactions between this and the first two games are made besides a similar goal, and Breath of Fire 2 is hardly mentioned at all. This is actually a good thing since it allows this chapter of the series to be all the more different on a new console.

Graphics 10/10
During this time, RPGs were still using the same old modified 16-bit sprites moving around on pre-rendered backgrounds in an attempt to look ''with the times''. Breath of Fire not only crossed the graphic boundary, but shattered it. We were treated to a brilliant display of eye candy rivaled only by then-modern PC games. Sprites were colored in shades Amano would have killed for, and the number of animations per character was unlike anything anyone had seen. Games that came out up to two years later still had trouble keeping up, and only Breath of Fire 4 has done any better 2D wise.

The 3D spell animation are equally amazing. The seamless interaction between both dimensions is what really makes this game's battles so enjoyable. Graphics like these make spells all the more thrilling to learn and watch.

Fun 10/10
Ah, the almighty tilt. This game was set apart from so many others by the large number of things to do in it. You had fairy villages with mini-games, sound rooms, and fortune tellers. You had numerous masters to train under and enemy skills to learn, not to mention mini games and puzzles littered around the world map. Speaking of which, you could even move around the world map and not fight a single battle if you so choose, once again helping the game's level of depth and exploration. Replay value? You got it. With masters and stat changes and numerous side quests, you always had more than one reason to play again. More games today really need these options, “Save Game +” just isnt enough anymore.

Total 10/10
Saying Breath of Fire 3 is a great RPG would be a gross understatement. This game is what other RPGs should be trying to emulate. Yes, even Breath of Fire 4 pales in comparison. Capcom has really outdone themselves this time.

Others may not share my view, and that's fine; judge how you will. I'm by no means a professional gamer (whatever that is), but I have played enough to know that this game could be one of the finest released.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/23/02, Updated 04/23/02

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