|Amazon Link:||Buy from Amazon.com|
You don't have to be a hard-core gamer to notice that innumerable--not to mention impressive--role-playing games (RPGs) have been released for the Sony PlayStation. Although the fourth installment in the Breath of Fire series is a fine RPG, it's doesn't quite hold a flame to the best of the aforementioned alternatives.
Breath of Fire IV is a single-player game that continues the story with these "dragon people," who gave their lives to eradicate the evil goddess and restore peace in their world. This time around, battle has broken out between two powerful continents, and the fair Princess Elena has disappeared during a tour of the war-torn region. The princess's sister, Nina, who reigns o'er the Windia Kingdom, vows to retrieve her missing sibling. She meets Ryu along the way, who joins the epic quest.
Breath of Fire IV's gameplay is refreshingly simple, with only a few minor additions to its predecessor's battle system. Most noticeably, a new combo system lets spells dish out more damage than when cast alone, by working in conjunction with other spells. As before, Ryu can transform into a dragon or hybrid half-human, half-dragon creature to gain special attack powers. The party will pick up other drifters throughout the game, some of whom have the power to transform.
Each town opens up a new set of subquests and minigames (yup--there's another fishing game here, folks), both of which add longevity and replayability to Breath of Fire IV, although not everyone will appreciate the mandatory nature of these diversions.
Like many Japanese-bred RPGs, the musical score and crisp sound effects are excellent, but there is very little voice talent in the game. In all, Breath of Fire IV is a solid, although not fantastic, RPG. --Todd Mowatt
- Solid story
- Effective battle system
- Extraordinary musical score
- Average graphics
- Sometimes-awkward control and camera angles