| The Good
Easy to get into battle system
Lots of min-games, including hunting and fishing
| The Bad
High encounter rate
Doesn't look like more than a straight port
Breath of Fire 2's story starts out with the orphan
boy Ryu getting hints about the White and Black Dragon Clans,
something that won't come into play much later in the game.
Some time later, he and his friend Bow are working as Rangers
when Bow is framed for a theft. Ryu goes to find the woman
responsible for the theft. Along the way, he discovers a number
of people who are tainted and turn into demons. Once Bow is
cleared, Ryu, Bow and their fellow allies begin a trek to
discover where all of the demons are coming from. The story
does seem to take forever to develop, but I would have to
think that it's for the best as you're not beaten over the
head with the main story right away. A lot of time is spent
on giving many of the characters at least some development
time as to their history.
The battle system is straightforward and simple enough to
get into. Players will choose from Attack, Magic, Item and
a Special Move specific to each character. Hitting the Left
and Right buttons allows the player to change formation or
defend. From there, your team and the enemies attack, based
on how fast their speed is. Magic consists of a wide yet balanced
variety of attack, defense and status effecting spells. As
with other Breath of Fire titles, Ryu has the ability
to change into a dragon form for a turn, but it drains all
of his AP (which is used for magic). Each character in your
team is varied in terms of their ability to attack and defend.
The character specific abilites range from self healing to
mulitple target attacks to waking up sleeping allies.
While moving around on the world map, each of your allies
have certain abilites which can prove to be useful. You must
use the Left and Right buttons to rotate a certain character
to the front of the formation. Katt can hit rocks and obstacles,
Sten can reach over gorges, Spar can lead you through forests
and Jean allows you to swim across lakes and rivers. With
the variation in battle strengths and their abilities on the
field map, players will have to take into consideration how
they build their team.
Players will also have the ability to combine their characters
with elemental shamans to inscrease abilites or earn new spells.
While this feature is a nice augment to the standard magic
scheme, it tends to be left to the player as to how to use
it. You may have a fire or ice shaman who just doesn't mesh
with your characters and very little reason is given as to
why. It just is.
Along with the main story are some diversions, including
the standard fishing mini-game, a hunting mini-game and even
recruiting people for your town. Most of the mini-games are
fairly shallow and won't really add much more to the game,
outside of some items from the hunting and fishing games,
both of which you may grow tired of fairly fast.
Visually, the game feels like the original SNES version,
but with some graphical tweaks just for the GBA port. Character
and monster sprites during battles show a good bit of detail
and look fairly good. The color palette is varied and deep.
While the world map and most of the cities look fairly standard,
everything does have a level of quality to it, even though
it seems Capcom didn't spend a lot of time to try and do more
with the graphics. Compared to titles like Golden
Sun, Breath of Fire 2 doesn't look as crisp and
impressive, especially when it comes to spell effects.
Sound effects and music are fairly run of the mill. You won't
be impressed by either, but they won't detract from the game
too much. As with the graphics, they seem to be stuck in "straight
port mode" with maybe a little extra polish for good measure.
Breath of Fire 2 does manage to have some things that
can be of annoyance to gamers. The translation seems to be
a little iffy at times, leaving some of the script feeling
"off". Also, the limited text field size makes the menus a
bit of a chore as you almost have to decipher what menu and
item names are. On top of this is probably one of the most
sadistic encounter rates in random RPG encounter history.
Even using smoke bombs to lower the encounter rate doesn't
help much and heaven forbid if you have to leave the dungeon
for supplies and return to finish.
Fans of the RPG genre should look into this one, especially
Breath of Fire fans. It may not be perfect and it may
not be the best looking RPG on the GBA, but the story and
easy to use battle system will be more than enough to keep
you coming back for more. Plus, the adventure has a good bit
of length to it.