Bernhardt Jan 23, 2011 (edited Jan 23, 2011)
Breath of Fire II
Finally downloaded this on Wii VC, since I've always heard Ash reminiscing about it so much, and I ended up craving the game myself...
The large blocky text, and poor translation (original script?) are stinted more than all get-out, and will always get to me, but it doesn't completely destroy enjoyment of the game.
The world map's kind of strange, if not uninspired; it's essentially one large land bridge that goes around the entire perimeter of the world, with a few islands in the central ocean.
What I always REALLY disliked about the game, was how much of a level-grinder it was, and how the levels of enemies jumped exponentially between different regions.
In the beginning, enemies don't give you a whole of money, either, and they rather expect you to upgrade to new weapons before facing the first non-scripted boss battle in the game; you're completely toasted if you don't. Also a good idea to gain some levels, too, but that goes without saying.
Selling fish you catch, and animals you hunt, is definitely a good way to gain money quickly, until later in the game, when monsters drop more cash than you can get from selling game animals.
What's more, is that the total amount of EXP you gain from a battle is divided amongst your party members...ever notice that?!
What I've noticed about enemies, is that different enemies really aren't all that different from each other; they mostly spam physical attacks, sometimes they land criticals, sometimes they miss, and sometimes you dodge; enemies that can use Magic usually beat you within an inch of your life every time, if not outright kill you.
As for your own characters' attacks, each character has their own special battle ability (think Final Fantasy VI), but most of the time, those abilities are very worthless.
Ryu, you main character, is mostly if not always an attacker, interrupting physical attacks only for Dragon summons that hit for big damage, but drain all your MP/AP.
Bow's your first additional character; physical attacker, he does have some cure and support spells, but after he's out of your group, you don't see him until after you're a half, maybe one-third through the game, and characters don't level up when they're out of your party. In other words, fun levelling him up ten or more levels, not that it's going to be worth it.
Katt's "Dare" ability is risky, seeing as how it makes enemies focus their attacks on her, but she doesn't have much HP or Defense; use her Dare ability, and you're basically sacrificing her. Use her for attacking, or maybe using her to cure with items, since she's usually the fastest and first to attack.
Rand's "Wake" ability awakens sleeping party members, and I've heard tell that it can even revive fallen party members, but I've never seen that work; he's otherwise a heavy hitter, and he has a few spells, mostly Cures, and a Thunder spell; he has a decent magic rating, and enough AP/MP, but he still essentially uses physical attacks only.
Nina's basically the only consistent magic user in the game, focusing solely on ata tack magic, with a few support spells thrown in. She gets spells of all 4 elements, not that I've seen monsters have any consistent weakness to any particular element. Nina has poor defense, agility, and AP; she's essentially a powerful cannon turret that can get taken down in one hit, and when she's out of ammo (MP/AP), she's useless. Though, she can recover her own AP/MP with her "Will" ability, but that's like trying to reload shells in a hurry in the heat of battle. Let's also not forget: There's absolutely no point in updating her weapon, either; it's weak no matter what you do.
It's interesting, though, how each character is some kind of demi-human; Ryu is essentially human, but can transform into a dragon (or maybe he's a dragon that's better able to maintain a human form?), Bow is a dog man, Rand, some combination of a rhino and an armadillo, Katt's a tiger girl, Nina's an angel, Sten is a monkey man, Jean is a frog man, and Spar is a vegetable man.
The action abilities your characters can use, kind of like Wild Arms, is always what helped this game stick out from the crowd; kind of gave it a Zelda flair: You needed a certain character with certain abilities to pass by certain obstacles in the game.
That, and the Shaman Fusions which change your characters' abilities and looks; must've spent hours experimenting with that stuff back in the day, but thankfully, there're FAQs a person can look up for that info, now.
The town-building element, they could've allowed a lot more freedom, allowing you to build as many houses as you wanted, where to put them, and which people you ended up housing, but no...they only give you 6 houses, and certain people will only occupy certain houses. So choose wisely...led to me experimenting with practically each person I could find, to figure out what they do. A surprising number of people had absolutely nothing to offer you...but the whole thing is, why did you end up building a town, anyway? The carpenter just got carried away with building houses...?
That's another thing about the game:
They try to squeak in comedy at practically every turn. Ever fought for you life against a pack of roaches? How about a trio of harpy sisters who'd be threatening, if only they could stop beating each other up, instead of you? Or a wild cat man who tries duping you into cooking you alive in a man-sized oven? Oh yes, let's not forget drunken witches!
And sometimes, they try condemning the vices of humanity when they can. What with the coliseum being all about blood shed, or the carnival being about capturing and imprisoning animals, and making them perform. Oh, and let's not forget: 1/3, maybe 1/2 of the game is spent trying to track down the person who framed Bow for a crime he didn't commit.
After all's said and done, the game's only real point is that they think The Church is evil, as it ends up being a front for a demon to draw strength from humanity.
I know I always sound extremely critical, but despite the game's myriad flaws, I'm still quite enjoying it, and looking forward to actually finishing it this time around; I got stuck at quite a few places in this game back in the day, with solutions in places that made me RAGE when I found out how easy they were.
But Anfini? That's what made me give up, when I couldn't figure out how to choose one of my party members to sacrifice.
Other points I got stuck at? Whale Cape, trying to figure out how to enter the whale: Smash the gate with Katt's action ability.