Breath of Fun... and some frustration too.
Breath of Fire III, the third in a series of role-playing games, has recently hit the PlayStation. The game is far from "classic" as the manual suggests, but it isn't all that bad. The graphics are pretty spectacular for an RPG, and the variety of things you are able to do is exciting.
What makes the game decent instead of classic is how frustrating the game can be -- to the point of pulling your hair out. Still, that only occurs a couple of times, and other than the few parts where this happens, Capcom's game is a solid and fun RPG.
The most important part of a role-playing game is the story, right? Breath of Fire III has a humdinger. There was once a clan of Dragon people roaming the land. Their power grew and grew until they became powerful enough to destroy the world. That's when they suddenly disappeared. Ryu (a reference to Street Fighter anyone?), the main character of the story, is a descendant of the Dragon Clan. You start out by joining two childish pranksters living a life of thievery. You are eventually turned in to the authorities, and that is when you embark on a journey to find out what Ryu's ancestry really is.
Your journey takes you down the path of knowledge, finding out about the Dragon Clan and what their secret power was. After being treated to an interesting story, you'll discover the equally cool graphics. They consist of sprite anime characters that are bright and detailed along with three-dimensional landscapes. The isometric view allows the developers to do some graphical tricks allowing more polygons to be on the screen than most games can - making Breath of Fire III a really good looking game.
The spell effects look really good as well. We're not talking Final Fantasy 7, but they aren't half bad. All in all the graphics eclipse many other RPG's.
The gameplay is more than just hack and slash. Besides general adventuring around the land, defeating monsters, you can partake in a great variety of activities. One of them is fishing - it may seem odd but it is actually one of the most useful things you can do in the game. By use of different lures and fishing rods, you can catch a variety of fish and aquatic life that give you various benefits when used during battle. Some can restore life while others can upgrade weapons and items.
Another activity in the game you can do involves splicing various dragon genes together to allow yourself to morph into different dragons with different abilities. These beasts have lots of destructive power and figuring out which genes go together is part of the strategy of the game.
The music is really bizarre. Throughout the game, music switches between light rock and jazz. I'm not sure exactly what this has to do with a role-playing game as most have orchestral scores, but it sure does sound weird. The sound on the other hand is standard, it doesn't stand out, nor does it suck.
Even after all these good things, there is still that small problem with some frustrating parts of the game. One such part comes early on - you have to break into the tax collectors manor, and must avoid the guards' lights. Even though there was a similar situation in Final Fantasy 7 (Shinra building), in Breath of Fire III it takes hours of attempts upon attempts to pass this seemingly unimportant stage in the game. Other than that,
Breath of Fire III is a decent RPG. Since no real role-playing games have been released since Final Fantasy 7, BOF III is sure to fill a void in many gamer's hearts. With good graphics and an interesting story, it's sure to please the anime / RPG addict.