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   Breath of Fire IV - Retroview  

In the Breath of Fire, we Burn Brightly.
by Rachel 'DekaRed' Steiner

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
MODERATE
COMPLETION TIME
36 Hours
OVERALL

3.5/5

Rating definitions 

   We go on so many adventures these days that it is quite hard to differentiate one from another. Breath of Fire IV gave a breath of fresh air. The graphics, story, and even the will keep one entertained. Come and feel the turmoil of a world in peril in Breath of Fire IV.

   The story starts off, not with Ryu as in the other games but from the perspective of Nina. Her sister has gone missing and she is trying to find her when her vehicle crashes in the desert. Here in the desert is where she meets Ryu, a young man with no memory of who he is or where he came from. He possesses something powerful and although they do not know it, they are about to be swept into a quest to save the world as they know it. While the story seems like others in the Breath of Fire series, it quickly takes a deviation. Especially when the perspective shifts to Fou-Lu. This is a game where people can relate to the characters. Things happening in this fantasy world and the feelings after innocent dies ring true.

   The interactivity is good. Finding out more about the world of Breath of Fire IV was great. The fishing mini-game stayed entertaining for hours on end. There are a couple of mini-games, only one of which was entertaining. There are thirty different types of fish. Fishing can be done in a forest, beach, or any other environment that boasts a fishing spot on the map. If one is stuck on a certain aspect of the game, fishing can provide a welcome break to figure things out. Fishing is also a great source of money in order to buy the needed equipment for the next section of the game.

Caption Awww...how cute.

   The battles are typical turn based battles with each character having his or her own strengths and weakness. Nina for example, was the healer, and Ryu was the muscle of the group. There are gauges that determine HP, MP, and when Ryu shifts to dragon form, how much longer he could stay that way. The battles are from a top down perspective and the party leaps towards the enemy and poses as they cast their spells.

   The music is what fuels emotions in the game. If there is something tragic going on, then the music is slow and mournful. If there is suspense, then the music tells you that something might pop out at you. The graphics are good and in the battles, the use of magic was short but amazing. Fire exploding, winds blowing, and storms brewing.

Caption Zoooooooooom!

   The game's originality mostly comes from its character driven plot. We begin with Nina's quest to find her sister but this leads into another larger plot that involves the whole world. The game also has a world that is singular to the Breath of Fire series and while this series has its own repeatition in characters, this game makes the characters themselves different from previous incarnations.

   The difficulty can range anywhere from medium to hard depending on how you level your characters and what kind of battle strategies to use. It is also easy to get lost on some of the maps and not be able to find where you need to go. It was also easy to leave most areas and do side-quests, such as fishing, in order to think and to also just give your mind a break from battle.

   This is a story that one can relate to each one of the characters in even the smallest way. Nina's sister going missing and Ryu's search for his identity help players to feel that they are on a quest. It all pulls players into a magical world and sometimes we too feel like we are a part of the adventure. The difficulty is not too hard but challenging enough for most and even those who do not find the game hard enough will be caught in the story.

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