Review by japanzaman

"You'll either love it or hate it."

Opening Confession:

Let me start by saying that I really do like this game. I've liked it from the moment I first rented it at my local video store back in elementary school all the way until now when I occasionally fire it up to kill time. However, I can understand why many would consider this to be the low point of the series so I will try to present this short review in a balanced manner. Still, the final score should indicate my overall feelings about the game.

Strong Points

1: Very balanced in terms of game mechanics. If you progress through the game as it was intended then the game stays challenging while not being too difficult (with the possible exception of two areas).

2: Lots of secrets! We all love these, even when they aren't so secret anymore. Rare enemies, powerful weapons, and even secret skills and spells: this game has it all, and was one of the first to do so. Half of the fun of this game is trying to collect all the rare equipment.

3. Good replay value. You can customize your town with all sorts of different designs and inhabitants that can dramatically change your game play experience. It can even have an effect on the final ending of the game.

Weak Points

1: There are two areas of the game where you could potentially find yourself stuck in. The first is when you fight solo with Sten and the second is when you fight solo with Nina. Both of these levels require you to fight with only one character and if you aren't leveled up enough or are under-prepared you will almost certainly fail.

2. Too many random encounters. It seems that in order to make up for the fact that you could avoid all random encounters in the first Breath of Fire,Capcom decided to put both games worth in this one. Seriously, the encounter rate is about one fight per 5 or 6 steps, which is just too high.

3. Translation issues. I've played through both the Japanese and English versions of this game and must say the English leaves a lot to be desired. Here's a note for future translators / fanslators: you don't have to translate everything word for word! We want the essence of what is being said, not the literal technical translation. This is what probably turned off many potential fans to this series.

Final Decision:

In general an overall improvement over the first in that the replay value is higher. However, they should have lowered the encounter rate to about half. By no means does this game warrant a top score, but it employs enough tricks and solid game mechanics to warrant a decent one.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/24/09

Game Release: Breath of Fire II (US, 12/31/95)

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