BREATH OF FIRE 3
I will say this right away: Breath of Fire 3 is a fantastic RPG. It's developed by
Capcom, an company which you usually wouldn't associate with role-playing games. The
first and the second game of the series were released on the Super Nintendo years ago.
I liked both of them, but at that time, I was more attracted to games from Squaresoft
(Front Mission, Romacing Saga 2 and others). So when I first tried Breath of Fire 3,
I wasn't sure of what to expect. I wasn't even sure if buying the game was a smart thing
in the first place.
At the same time, Lei (a tigerman) was hunting in the forest. He saw a blue-haired child
beside a steel-cage being attacked by two wolves. Being a skilled hunter, he slayed the wolves with ease.
He brought the child home, where his friend Teepo was waiting. Later, it was found out that
the blue-haired child's name is Ryu, and the story goes on... the real fun starts!
It is a good thing that the characters are drawn in 2D. They look much more detailed that
way, and we all know what Capcom can do with 2D graphics. The characters look large and
have many expressions.
The characters have plenty of magic spells and special attacks. Some techniques are unique to a certain character, but later on, you will meet people who can teach you new techniques (which can be used by anyone). Some of these techniques are very effective, others are totally useless. If you want to learn techniques from a master, you need to be his apprentice. Being under a master will also affect your growth in abilities when you level up. Some masters will increase your attack and defense abililties, others can increase your magic power and speed.
The music is quite good. It is composed by Akari Kaida and Yoshino Aoki (my favourite composer ^_^).
Some of the melodies are quite nice. Each character has his/her
own voice-actor. When you perform a technique in battle, your character will say the name
of the technique (and there is over a hundred of techniques which can be used by every
Breath of Fire 3 has many unique features. For example, about halfway into the game, you will be granted access to a fairyland. And a bit later, you will be able to help the fairies to develop their homes. It's like a simulation game where you assign fairies to different tasks like hunting, construction, research, etc. Later, you can give them different occupations like being a shop-keeper, fortune-teller, treasure hunter and more. Some special items can only be found in the fairyland. Also, you can get a special music player here and listen to all the tracks of the game.
Another example, in an event late in the game, you must make sushi for a person before he will help you. To do that, you need to find all the ingredients yourself, so you have to go fishing, finding spice, getting special water and stuff. After that, you must make the sushi yourself by adding the right portions of the ingredients. If your sushi tastes good, that person will be so happy that he cries! In which other RPG can you do things like this?
I also liked the battle system. In order for Ryu to transform into a dragon, you need to acquire Dragon Genes. Combining different genes will result in different dragon forms. Some combinations will give you special forms which are more effective than others. Even though the battles occur frequently, you can usually set it on auto-fight, so it really didn't bothered me.
I can go on and on telling you how great this game is, but I don't want to spoil too much. This is an RPG I enjoyed playing no less than Final Fantasy VII. It took me 72 hours to beat it (including many hours spent on levelling up, finding secrets, learning special techniques, etc.). And like many other Japanese Capcom games, there's a great ending song during the staff roll.
For the Japanese version of Breath of Fire 3, I will give it a strong 9 out of 10. The US version should be out very soon. I hope that they haven't censored any parts of the game (some scenes may not be appropriate for the US market). Also, the previous English translations of the Breath of Fire games have been terrible, so I can't guarantee that the US version will be just as good as the Japanese one.
Reviewed by Joe Chan, email@example.com