January 05, 2010

Breath of Fire IV - PC
AdminJanuary 05, 2010 4 comments

 Breath of Fire IV 

The story starts off with a couple of characters, Nina and her friend Cray, travelling across the desert in search of Nina's sister, Elena, whom had disappeared many days ago. During their trek through the desert, Nina discovered Ryu, a mysterious person who has no memory of his past. Ryu also mysteriously have the power of a dragon. With Ryu tagging along, the three characters continue along their journey across the world in search of Elena. In the meantime, a long dead emperor god has been resurrected. This emperor is Fou-Lou. Fou-Lou then begins his journey back to his empire to reclaim the empire that he built many years ago. This is where the story branches off now and then. On one hand, you get the story of Ryu and his group on a quest to search for Nina's sister as well as learn more about Ryu past and his relations to the dragons. On the other hand, you have the story of Fou-Lou and his quest to reclaim his empire. Both story will slowly intertwine with one another. 
While the story overrall has a goal and a developing plotline, it lacks a general evil bad guy, a good cast, and some emotion. A story is only as good as the cast itself. The focal point of the story is the search for Elena, but the problem is that it doesn't explain or gives us much of who Elena is. The story doesn't explain to us why we should even care about Elena. Oh, eventually you do find Elena and it's quite a sad part when you do find her but that's only because you feel sorry for Cray at the moment. In fact that's the only time in the story where's there's an emotional moment. The rest of the story is just plain. Maybe even boring. Another problem is that throughout the story, you will have a chance to control the so called bad guy, Fou-Lou. Now to be a bad guy, you have to do something bad, right? What bad things has Fou-Lou actually done in this game?? Nothing. All he's done since his resurrection is to try and protect himself from a bunch of evil people that are trying to capture him to steal his god like power. By this definition, how can Fou-Lou be a bad guy. By the end of the story, you have to fight a guy whom haven't really done anything bad except for self protection and to retailate against those that try to do him harm. The story is upside down here. Most of the time it's just plain boring going across the world searching for a missing person and when it does get exciting, you end up fighting the wrong person. Well it's this reviewer's opinion anyways. 


Score: 7/10 

CHARACTERS 
The characters in the game are focus on your 6 key party members with of course the usual one bad guy. In this case the bad guy is Fou-Lou. Overrall this is a very uninteresting and lacklustre cast here. You have a main hero in Ryu who doesn't speak at all. Now a hero that doesn't speak is quite common in rpgs but when a hero doesn't speak, you need a strong supporting cast members to help bring life to the hero which this game failed to do. The basic key characters are Ryu, Nina, and Cray, followed by the other 3. Your Kirk, McCoy, and Mr. Spock of Breath of Fire IV. The problem here is that none of the cast members have any strong background or key personnality that stand out with the exception of Dias. Dias is the only one that looks alive in the game. Ryu background is a mystery as part of the story and since his character doesn't talk, you can't expect much there. Nina is a princess but you don't really know much about her at all or her past and family. You only get a glimpse of what her family is like as oppose to the Nina in Part 3. Cray is the leader of his people but you don't know anything more about him except there's a hint that he's in love with Nina sister. Scias has a personality of a wall. Ursula is a tag along. That leaves only Ershin/Dias as the only one with a unique and colorful personality. To top it off, the so called main bad guy, Fou-Lou doesn't even pull off the bad guy image at all. You'll be playing the game asking yourself, "Why am I even fighting this guy?" This is probably one of the few games that gamers will probably have a hard time picking a favorite out of the bunch as all of them are quite uninteresting. Hell, I personnally find the bad guy more interesting and want to help him more than fighting him. It's not a good sign if you don't care about the characters in a game. 


Score: 6/10 

GRAPHICS 
The one thing about the graphics is that it's 3-D. That's the first thing that pops in your mind. In fact the 3-Dness of the graphics tend to bother you quite a bit during the gameplay. More on that in the gameplay section. Basically what you have is a 3-D rendered polygon background with handdrawn sprites for characters. To be honest the graphics doesn't really blow you away. Saying that it's only average doesn't really do it justice and can be considered unfair but the graphics isn't exactly the thing that impress you and gives you a lasting impression as compare to the other top notch rpg game such as Final Fantasy IX. The colors in this game isn't good too. It's not bad but it could be better for a polygon background world. I guess an 8 or 7 would be inorder. 


Score: 8/10 

MUSIC 
The music feature in this game is quite good. Very good to be exact. While not one particular score of the music blow you away, overrall it's very good and compliment the game. What I like about the music the most is that there's an asian or oriental feel to it. In fact a couple of the scores themselves originated from the asian, mostly the chinese I think, musical scene. And I like that. They also kept in all the japanese original musical scores such as the last end game musical song. Unfortunately I don't read or speak japanese so I have no idea what the song is about. Still I quite enjoy the music in this game. 


Score: 8/10 

GAMEPLAY 
The gameplay is very similar to Breath of Fire III gameplay. There's been an improvement here and there but overrall it's pretty much the same. The game itself is pretty big if you're trying to get everything. Where to begin?? Well, this game is very straight forward and uses quite alot of mini games doing the quest. In fact almost every step forward to a new area or plotline, brings you a new mini games. These mini games are to help you not get too bored of the same old regular gameplay stuff. This is a pretty good idea but note that sometimes too many mini games can be over doing it. Just like Part 3, Part 4 uses the Masters and skills system. Throughout the world, you can find Masters. These masters will teach your members special skills that will help them during fights or battles. Inorder for the masters to begin teaching you, you must first meet certain requirements. Once that's done, you can then select which of your party members you want to become an apprentice to that master. Now you can also learn skills from your enemies. Unlike Part 3 where you have an exam icon to try and learn enemy skills, here in Part 4 you would only need to defend inorder to learn enemy skills. This pretty much explain the basic gameplay without going into the battle system. 
Now for the battle system itself. The game uses a random encounter rate with a three party turn base battle system. Note that unlike most of today's rpgs, Breath of Fire IV does not use real time battles. A couple of key things here. First, even though you can only have 3 party taking part in fights in the front lines, you also have your other 3 party members in the back lines. What this means is that you have 3 starters with 3 bench warmers. During battles, only the starters can fight and get hit but during the battles if one of your starters is low on magic points or health points, you can immediately replace your starter with a bench warmer. This is great. What this also means is that your back up members will also gain experience points. I am tired of other rpgs where only your fighting members gain experience points while your back up members get none. Bottomline is that you can only fight with 3 at a time but have the resources of all 6 party members at your disposal. The second thing that was introduce in Part 4 is the use of combos and different elemental magic joining to become a higher level magic. A combo attack is when one person does a successful attack and the next person follow it up with another successful attack. A combo can be combine with a magic to special skills attack to a dragon attack. What are these combos really for?? Basically two of your master will require you to do a certain number of combos inorder for you to learn their skills. Another type of combos is elemental magic combos to form a stronger magic attack. For example, a fire magic attack followed by a wind magic attack will form a high level elemental magic attack where the element of that magic attack consist of the elements of both fire and wind. There are of course different combination of elemental magic attack but you'll have to figure them out yourself. Now Ryu once again will have his transformation dragon attack where he will transform into a dragon. I don't need to go into detail for that. However I would like to point out that besides the usual dragon transform abilities, Ryu can cast dragon summon magic attack too which are outside of his usual dragon transformation. This of course can't be done in Part 3. Note that inorder for Ryu to cast dragon summons magic, he must first find the dragon. 
That's about sums up the gameplay of Breath of Fire IV. In a nutshell, the gameplay is pretty much the same as with Breath of Fire III with the exception of combos, dragon summon magic, and the use of back up members during battles. The gameplay is okay but I was hoping for something that would be a step forward from Part 3. This is where the disappointment lies. 


Score: 7/10 

EXTRAS/REPLAY 
There's quite alot of extras in this game including mini games and extra little secret stuff. First off, aside from the mini-games galore that is incorporated throughout the game, you have extra mini games or the return of extra mini games that appeared in Breath of Fire III. Once again the return of the fishing game. Like with the last Breath of Fire game, this game uses a fishing game where you can catch numerous different fishes and turn them into points. The points can then be turn into stamps which inturn can be exchange for items and weapons that you cannot normally buy from stores. The fishing game have been upgraded a little in Part 4 but in most part, it's still very similar to Part 3. The game also reintroduce the Fairy World from Part 3. Much like the Fairy World in Part 3, in Part 4 you have to help numerous fairies build their world/village. As your Fairy World start to grow, you can then assign your fairies to numerous different jobs including opening up a weapon shop, a mini game shop, going out into the world to search for items, ect. The point of the Fairy World is to get certain items that are only available from the Fairy World. Again there are many little extras throughout the game but the Fishing game and the Fairy World is the main focal point here. 
Replay is there but not much. Basically after finishing a game, you can make a clear game save that will allow you to start a second game at the very last stage of the game. This will allow you to get the second ending that you didn't get in your first game as Breath of Fire IV gives you two different endings. One good and one bad. It also gives you access to Rei and Teepo shop. As you already know, Rei and Teepo are characters from Breath of Fire III. 
Extras and replay value is pretty strong in this game. There's actually quite alot to do in this game and one would have to spend an enormous amount of time to get a complete game. 


Score: 9/10 
I generally quite enjoy Breath of Fire IV. It really is a good rpg but yet at the sametime, I'm also disappointed in it. The reasons for the disappointment is that everything is pretty much the same as the last one. There's no real improvement in the game overrall. Well you can say that Suikoden 2 is pretty much the same as Suikoden 1 and that's very true but Suikoden 2 is a direct sequel and provide a better storyline. Here Breath of Fire IV isn't a direct sequel and it's story isn't that great. When you are playing this game, it just feels like you're playing Breath of Fire III again. To quote Momo,"This feels like a parallel dimension." That's exactly what it is. When playing this game, you feel like playing a parallel dimension of Breath of Fire III. 

Screenshots: 
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Final Score: 8/10 
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4 comments:

  1. it's not working in my windows vista..i already tried to run it as an administrator and even in compatible mode to xp but everytime i run the program there is an error- APPLCRASH - please help me to solve this issue....tnx

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  2. pc store- please reduce your resolution and and play in xp compatible mode

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  3. thank u for this game and other ones tooo -robert

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