Breath of Fire II
Almost 2 years after Capcom released BOF 1, comes the long awaited sequel, Breath of Fire 2, also for the SNES. The sequel, IMHO, has a more indepth storyline, but the gameplay might be a bit difficult for novice RPG players. More on that to come.
The story in Breath of Fire 2 revolves around a character called Ryu, a young man that was orphaned from his mother when he was just a child. He and his childhood friend Bo grow up and hunt monsters together. In the beginning, you find yourself going on futile quests, but our heroes soon learn it is much more than that....Demons are ravaging the land, wanting to take over the world...The Great Dragon, which created a huge barrier to block out the evil is weakening in power. It is up to Ryu, a member of the Dragon Clan, and his companions to stop the Demons from spreading death and destruction!
Character development is pretty good without getting too technical or complicated. The game introduces each character without the player first knowing his/her background. In certain parts of the adventure, most characters will have their own quest to complete (and in turn helps accomplish your ultimate goal), in which case, you'll learn more about that particular character (like Rand, Sten, Spar and Nina). Each character has their own behavior quirks such as Katt's aggressive, "Low bull Sh*t" tolerance which is contrasted to Nina's more passive, and modest behavior, while Sten appears to be irresponsible, he is one to be taken seriously. Jean is carefree and somewhat dimwitted, but brave and kindhearted. Spar is emotionless and logical, while Rand is easy going, caring and friendly. Apart from their unique personality traits, each character has their own skills in battle (see battles below) and when walking on the world map. Some of these skills are essential for completing a dungeon, so choose your party members wisely.
The Battle system in Breath of Fire 2 is somewhat different than Breath of Fire 1. Magic is still a large part of combat, but there's more. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses plus a unique skill that they can use to get certain affects during battle. Collectioning Shamens allows you to combine characters into more powerful and unusual looking beings. And..yes, there are dragon spells which only the hero possesses. I didn't find the dragon spells useful this time around for many reasons. First, using the dragon spells lasts only one round and the hero changes back. Second, the spells uses up all Magic points (or remaining magic points). Lastly, the damage of the dragon spells is dependent on the current number of Magic points the hero has.
Frequency of battles is a real pain here. This is where the 'take two steps and fight' syndrome comes into play. Overmap encounters are bearable, but once you hit a dungeon, this is where you may want to hit your head on your SNES in fustration. Bring plenty of healing items with you. Bosses aren't too hard, compared to Breath of Fire 1, but there are a few bosses that are just plain annoying. One boss, if not beaten in a certain way will completely change the ending of the story. You have been warned ^_^
Graphically, Breath of Fire 2 has been enhanced since its predecessor since there's twice the memory (24 Megs as opposed to 12 Megs in the First Breath of Fire series). Character sprites in combat are large and colorful. Animation is lively and entertaining to watch, especially Katt's stylish staff attack. Exclaimation marks, question marks and sweat drops have been added to show a character's expression. The music, while the tunes are still catchy, falls a little short of Breath of Fire 1. Nonetheless, the music was energetic and sets the mood for the story at hand.
Aside from the absurd amount of battles you'll have to endure, Breath of Fire 2's gameplay is pretty good. Sometimes leveling up is a pain, since you tend to gain levels slowly, but you may want to experiment with magic, shamen combos and battle techniques just for fun while you're at it. After certain battles, you can go hunting for meat and antlers when you see tuffs of grass on the world map. If you're bored of fighting big bad demons for a while, just simply collect items for recipes or do a little fishing. ^^
It's actually quite high if you're up for the challenge again. After one point in the game, you get to choose different carpenters to build your town. Each carpenter has their own little quirks, you may want to replay the game just for that, otherwise, you may want to play the game for the 'alternate' ending.
Length of game
This is a long game. Many, many quests and a huge world makes for a 50+ hour
Breath of Fire 2 Reviews
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