Breath of Fire is a instant classic in which all RPG and Breath of Fire Series fans should get!
System: Super Nintendo (SNES)
Total Score: 83/100
Value Score: 8.3/10
• Story: 9/10
o Breath of Fire's story is pretty simple and straightforward compared to most other RPGs such as Final Fantasy, however unlike other RPGs, the storyline's main point is given immediately at the beginning but the progression of the storyline does not pick up until after the first 3-4 hours. You play as a young man named Ryu who is a descendent of a long line of dragons and is a member of the Light Dragon Clan which is one of the clans of old times who fought against the evil Goddess of War Tyr. Now only two tribes remain, the Dark Dragons who are on a warpath and are attacking the Light Dragons whom live on peace and are nothing but a shell of what they used to be in ancient times. Ryu's journey begins as soon as his sister is lost to the Dark Dragons, he journeys to find her and to defeat Zog, along the way he meets several people who share his ideals on saving the world, as he progresses through his journey he soon realizes that the Dark Dragons are trying to resurrect the evil Goddess of War Tyr.
• Characters: 8/10
o Capcom was terrible during the 1990s when it comes to character development, focusing mostly on gameplay and not on storyline substance especially seen in Darkstalkers, Street Fighter and other games that they made during the 1990s, Breath of Fire is no exception to that, however fares better than the previously mentioned games. Although character development isnt as rich as seen in other RPGs, the characters do develop, albeit slowly in the beginning, they do flesh out later parts in the game especially the characters of Nina, Karn and Bleu. There are alot of characters for a new RPG that at first seems like generic, there are also many designs on monsters, more than you would usually see in the early RPGs of the late 80s and early 90s, with a few alternate designs graphically. The villains themselves are as shallow as the characters in the beginning but they too flesh out as the storyline progresses.
• GamePlay: 8/10
o Breath of Fire's gameplay is based upon traditional JRPG style, where the battle system is turned based and is based on simple stats such as AGI/ACT for whoever attacks first, there is no real time like in other RPGs, the whole game is paced slowly on turns. You have a few options during battle, you can activate battle mode and do a single physical attack, defend, use magic, use items or use AB which means autobattle to skip all the turns and go on ahead in default attack mode. You also have the ability to switch rows, run from battle and even switching characters during battle. One of the bad points in Breath of Fire which at first seems a bit not too serious but can be straining to the player is the fact that there is no way to check how much exp you need to level up nor how much you gained. Another downfall is the overall interface, the interface seems like it's from a NES or Sega Genesis RPG and the health bars look like they were created from sheer laziness. You can use magic, however not as effective in the beginning parts of the game, it does get better however you would only want to use healing magic from Nina and offensive magic from Bleu. Item wise, the amount of items that are usable is far less than the usual RPG, it is as if items were just thrown in there, however you might not worry much as you will probably not use much items in battle but outside of battle, another downfall about items is the fact that there is no way you can tell what a item does unless you actually use it, as there is absolutely no explanation on items. Gameplay wise outside of battles is like any other RPG, you travel through a world map, go through towns and cities, through dungeons and fortresses, fight bosses and find certain items, skills and power ups through side quests. Karn has the special ability to fuse with other characters (which in the end makes all the other characters who he can fuse with pretty useless, Nina can be used to fly around the world but that is near the end, Ryu can transform into Dragons which he can use to deal massive amount of damage. Other than that in battle, all sorts of strategies become non-existent once you get Agni which is the most powerful dragon form for Ryu.
• Graphics: 8/10
o Breath of Fire's graphics are similar to the typical Capcom fighting/beat em up game such as Street Fighter and Final Fight during the early 1990s, although despite that fact the amount of detail is a bit higher than those games. If you are a fan of that type of graphic style than you will surely love it simply because of nostalgia, although despite being full of nostalgia, the game's graphics pale in comparison to its sequels and other RPGs.
• Sound: 8/10
o Breath of Fire uses simplistic sounds, some of which were recycled from Capcom's previous games, but of course this doesn't lower the quality of the overall sound as each sound seems like its nicely placed and does not seem to be out of place at all.
• Music: 10/10
o Possibly the best aspect of the entire game, Breath of Fire's OST is simply gorgeous and although not as dramatic as Final Fantasy or other RPGs, BoF's OST brings out a unique different tune than most RPGs, it is worth listening to and worth getting if you can get the chance to do so. Each tune is specifically made and does not seem to be a repeat of any other song.
• Length: 7/10
o Breath of Fire's length is the typical length of a RPG during the SNES Golden era, the sidequests and the storyline overall should take you at least 20 hours and no more than 25 hours.
• Replay Value: 5/10
o Breath of Fire lacks the replay value that other games that Capcom made, this is due to the fact that it is a RPG genre game, games of the genre lacked replay value back in the 1990s however BoF offers a few extra things that most RPGs do not include such as multiple endings.
• Player Value: 10/10
o Overall Breath of Fire is a unique experience, mixture of Western and Easter influences, Breath of Fire plays well as a standalone RPG, although the quality and design is not as developed as most other RPGs, BoF will deliver with its simple story, simple and unique gameplay and amazing music. Make sure you get this classic as it is heavily recommended especially if you played other games in the series but never got the chance to play this classic.