An evil emperor is trying to unseal the Goddess of Destruction, Tyr, to destroy his sworn enemy, the Light Dragons.
The Dark Dragons attack a village in which resides a young man named Ryu, a boy who contains secret powers unknown to himself. In what starts as a quest of revenge, he discovers the Dark Dragons' plot and soon searches for aid in his mission to destroy them. He later discovers that the power he contains is that of the Light Dragons and may transform into different elemental dragons, necessary to defeat the Dark Dragons.
Ryu then sets out to end the reign of the empire of Dark Dragons and kill their leader, Zog, before they successfully release Tyr from her seal. Along the journey will be hardship, discovery, puzzles and conflict, but Ryu and company will have to work together to best it all.
Good: Lengthy adventure with a good story * Large world to explore * Interesting and sometimes fun Easter eggs * Great usage of new RPG elements * Enemies have a revealed life bar
Bad: Some undesirable grinding * Overall gameplay seems tried and done * Feels basic for its time * No way to find out how much EXP is required to level up * Swapping characters to the front of the party to perform specific functions can be frustrating
Graphics: At the time of its release, there were already superior RPGs available like Final Fantasy IV and VI (II and III in America) and Secret of Mana. But that doesn't necessarily mean Breath of Fire has bad graphics, not by a long-shot. The details, while basic, are still pretty good and not at all an eyestrain. The 3D perspective of the battle scenes were pulled off nicely and animations flow well. It would be an overstatement, however, to say that the graphics were amazing.
Sound/Music: When playing an RPG, it is to be accepted you'll be hearing a certain song loop over and over again while grinding and exploring out there in the big world. That goes without saying here, and the music was composed actually pretty well. At times, there are certain parts of the soundtrack that seem less memorable than others. As the player progresses through the story, the overworld music may change to a different tune every now and then which adds for a neat little twist. As far as the sound effects, they're about average for an RPG of this time and fit well for their situations.
Difficulty: The only difficult portions of this game consist of either getting lost, being stumped or dealing with a tough boss fight. All in all, the game remains fairly simple. There may be a couple of parts where a guide or some help would be desired.
Gameplay: After playing Breath of Fire for awhile, I was reminded of the original Dragon Quest games. The truth is, it feels much like a traditional, classic RPG of that type, just with its own little twists and turns. The battles and setup is the exact same as nearly every RPG seen before, but there are a few things that make it unique at the same time. First of all, the ability to transform into a dragon was a great idea and it was pulled off very well. It is also possible, along the way, to merge several characters into one massive beast that can pack quite a powerful punch. Last, but not least, almost every character plays his, or her, own role. For example, a thief will be discovered along the adventure and when he is put in the lead of the party, he may pick locks. A hunter can be also put in the front of the party and can hunt with his bow, killing animals found on the world map and being able to take their remains to be used as an item. There are several possibilties to gameplay and there is enough to keep you busy.
Control: A really nice part about this game is that the majority of the controls can be set for comfort by the player. There are prime functions that cannot be changed, such as an action, menu and map button (the map is found later in the game), but seperate functions of the menu may be set to different buttons that aren't used otherwise via the "options" menu, giving the ability to push a button as a shortcut to whatever that button was set to, such as being able to quickly use an item, or check the status of characters in an instant, or maybe to swap a character from and to the current party.
Overall: It may have turned out to be a short review, but there really isn't a whole lot to explain about Breath of Fire. It is a great game with an excellent story and has some fun moments and plot twists, but it still feels like an RPG that's been done before. It did, however, start some interesting and effective elements that are beneficial to playing this game and make it worth the while. It has its ups and downs, but it really is worth spending time on and finishing. No experience exists quite like Breath of Fire.