|Platform:||Game Boy Advance|
|Amazon Link:||Buy from Amazon.com|
Larger in scope than its predecessor and better in almost every way, Breath of Fire II is a perfect port of the original SNES game, and will leave role-playing fans begging for more.
The game starts out, dreamlike, in a small border village 500 years after the events of the first game. You play a small boy named Ryu (ring a bell?) who is looking for his lost sister. After finding his sister and reuniting her with pops, Ryu wanders around a bit and returns home--and that's when things really start to get interesting. To go further than that would risk spoiling the story, but we can say that the plot is really topnotch this time around and has three alternate endings.
Graphically, the game is a huge jump from the original. The towns are larger, the character sprites are more detailed, and the field map is gorgeous. You see weather effects such as rain and drifting clouds, wandering animals and jumping fish, and plants blowing in the breeze. If you have any experience with the best 16-bit RPGs for the SNES, like Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger, you get the idea.
The characters are completely new in the series, and have brand-new skills. The only exception is Ryu (who isn't the original Ryu, but basically has the same skills). Like the original Breath of Fire, certain areas of the game are only accessible by using the skills of your party members. For example, one of your members can turn into a frog, and can ferry you across rivers and streams.
Among the changes to Breath of Fire II is that fishing and hunting have bigger roles; they're now minigames that require technique and reward with items that can advance the story. An animated monster image shows up on the field menu to give you an idea how often you'll encounter the baddies--nice for avoiding all those random battles. There's also the new Guts stat, which will sometimes allow a character to fight even when he should be knocked out. The two coolest additions are town creation (where you get to build and populate your own town), and the new fusion system, which allows your characters to "fuse" with shamans that you encounter, thus joining and augmenting their powers. In a nutshell, this game improves upon the best parts of the original. --Bryan Karsh
- Character fusion
- Fishing and hunting minigames
- Town creation
- Save anywhere
- Trade items via link cable
- Improved graphics, sound, and music
- Ryu doesn't actually make contact when he attacks