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Breath Of Fire II back to reviews
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The ideal turn-based game
Warning: There's a strong possibility of nostalgia bias here. Played GBA version as a kid.

Back in the 90s before Capcom became the troll playground it is now, they put out a fun if unintuitive little gem called Breath of Fire. That game was a modest hit, hence this one was to follow. And follow it did.

The first thing to note about this game, especially in comparison to its predecessor and other turn-based games of the time is that it achieves balance in a way that few ever do. Every party member has some kind of clear strategic use, since all have unique spell sets (though some are similar), personal actions, and (excepting Ryu and Bleu) shaman transformations. Even the seemingly useless Jean can become a powerhouse if you fuse him with a late-game shaman (though granted, if you've been neglecting him up to that point, you'd probably avoid him anyway so as not to have to grind. Not to mention that the shaman in question is critical for two other characters as well). Because of this, you have a lot more options than most other turn-based games.

Presentation-wise, it's what you might expect out of an SNES RPG in terms of graphics. Music, on the other hand, while usually decent, often tends toward "amazing".

In terms of plot, the game lies at the nexus of really good story and really bad translation with interesting results. You'll get the gist of what's going on most of the time, and sometimes it's even worded well enough to be vaguely moving, but usually, the broken English and serious punctuation problems are distracting. Even still, I was able to understand it as a kid, and I still think it holds up today despite the translation problems. The plot touches on the theme of religious fanaticism and gives it due weight. There's definite structure, with each party member (excepting Bleu) recieving their own arc in linear fashion. Interestingly, within their respective arcs, the characters usually aren't developed so much as they are examined, with a few exceptions. It isn't quite Shin Megami Tensei, but it was more than enough to get me invested.

There are plenty of secrets and sidequests with useful rewards, and none ever overstay their welcome.

All in all, a great title from beginning to end. Play it if you can.
If this game didn't have a Path Of Inspiration as the main villains, I might actually want to try this out.
comment #17514 doctrainAUM 1st Jan 13
They don't have too big of a presence for the first half of the game. Besides, what a lot of people fail to bring up (perhaps because it isn't as prominent) is that the heroes actually have a somewhat religious element to them as well. Many of them follow the Dragon God. Hell, making a prayer to a statue of the Dragon God is how you save your game. Stuff like that helps keep the ambiguity instead of thinking along the lines that "all gods are evil" or something like that.
comment #17519 DeviousRecital 1st Jan 13
This is one of my top 10 SNES games. Awesome review.
comment #17531 protomanx 3rd Jan 13
Erm, I probably wouldn't play the SNES version. Even though it doesn't have the character limitations the GBA version has, that doubled zenny and tripled experience for every battle is really attractive... The relatively small amount of grinding required helps the pace immensly. Even if the levels you get your characters at would make far more sense otherwise. Seriously, when you get your final required party member in the GBA version and find it's level 12 at a point where at least your go-to team should be at least twice that, it's a little jarring.
comment #17542 DeviousRecital 4th Jan 13
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