More than meets the eye… Review

Breath of Fire IV Info


  • N/A


  • 1 - 1


  • Capcom


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now


  • PS


More than meets the eye…

Growing up in the Berkeley area, I have seen my share of schizophrenics. On any

given day, I could see a bearded man dressed as a woman yelling at a crazy right-wing

Christian preaching to the masses through a bullhorn and not be fazed in the least.

However, a full-fledged transformation is something I have yet to see. (Unless

you count the thing that my mother would turn into when I returned home after

two days having not called and smelling of booze.)

But transformation is an everyday occurrence for our hero in the latest installment

of the Breath of Fire series. For Ryu, transforming into a dragon comes

naturally, as he is descendent of an ancient peoples who can turn into big freaky

lizards. Great party trick.

Breath of Fire IV is a classic RPG. It’s got a dramatic storyline linked

by cut scenes and progresses with turn-based fighting and exploration. And for

those of you with short attention spans, there are a few mini-games to keep

you distracted.

The story starts with our hero having lost his memory. While on a quest to

find her missing sister, Nina, the princess of Wyndia, finds Ryu butt nekkid

in a large crater. Ryu then joins the search for Nina’s missing sister and attempts

to rediscover his true self along the way. (I just wonder why Nina doesn’t recognize

Ryu from last time and fill him in on all the blanks…)

The fun factor here is high. The story is solid enough to keep you intrigued,

and character progression is always something to look forward to. Returning

from Breath of Fire 3 is the ability to learn

magic from the enemies you fight, so meeting new baddies has it’s own reward

other than the standard experience points and money.

The new high-resolution graphics are clean and the environments both in and

out of town look great. The animations for Ryu’s transformation have also taken

on a whole new look…very cool. I was happy to see that they left the original

Japanese intro intact, voices and all, the Japanese anime movie really sets

the stage for a great game.

The menus are intuitive. Some RPG’s get a bit technical and evoke bizarre

new magic/weapon systems (like FFVII). Balancing

materia, weapons, abilities, and such required serious dedication and attention

to detail – way too much for casual gaming. But then again, how many casual

gamers play RPGs to begin with? BoF IV manages to be deep but not at

all confusing or overly complex; there’s no mistaking what spell to use, or

confusion around which abilities to hone, so you can focus on playing the game.

The characters in BoF IV are standard RPG fare; little cartoon guys

cruising around with much more detailed faces in their dialog boxes than is

reflected in their character. And the monsters you come across have a very cartoonish

feel as well. The fact that you can actually take this game seriously with silly

little guys running around fighting big cartoon monsters attests to the strong

story and engrossing character design.

The battle system in BoF IV has received a slight overhaul. When there

are more than three people in your party, they are all selectable in battle.

The only catch is that you are limited to three active battlers per turn. The

serious advantage this holds is that you can rotate characters in and out of

battle, utilizing all of the abilities your party has to offer and pulling allies

aside to heal before they fall. The members that are resting also have support

abilities that kick in. From healing spells to attacks, your off-screen buddies

really come in handy during the heat of battle.

Sadly, the gene splicing system from BoF III is gone. In fact, this

time around Ryu can only transform into one dragon form whose abilities progress

and change, rather than possessing the ability to transform into any one of

hundreds of possible combinations like last time. As good as this game is, I

still miss creating different dragons to fit different situations.

However, the fishing mini-games are back, and I couldn’t be happier. These

little games can absorb hours, while providing characters with rare and valuable

items. Seriously, the fishing mini-game is as fun as any full-on console fishing

title I have played and the fish you catch prove to be some of the most useful

items in the game.

Some may also have a problem with the camera. The game is set in an isometric

perspective, so occasionally lining things up properly is awkward.

But as far as RPG’s go, Breath of Fire IV is no let down. The new battle

system and improved graphics mixed with solid features from the past make for

a seriously addictive game. Great for old school vets and newbies alike.


Improved Graphics
Tweaked battle System
Straightforward Menus
Solid fun
No more gene splicing :(