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Breath of Fire 3
Review By: Joel Fajardo
Developer:   Capcom
Publisher:   Capcom
# of Players:   1
Genre:   RPG
ESRB:   Everyone

Capcom is a company that is usually secluded from the credibility of their non-fighting games. Most can agree that they are the one company that brings us the top-notch, state of the art arcade games that not many can compete with. Yet through all this chaotic mess of developing 2D brawlers, they manage to bring us something far from what they are accustomed too--an RPG.

Although the Breath of Fire series never took off quite the way that it was hoped too, it managed to make a name for itself that would be recognized by knowing gamers. Originally, BoF1 came out as a Squaresoft title, though believe it or not, this was not the truth of the matter. Capcom was the company to develop every BoF that we have seen and played. Why then, do you ask, was BoF1 brought to the US as a Square title? One reason--Capcom paid Square to bring out the title under a Square label, so that many devoted fans of Final Fantasy and other renowned RPGs might buy the game. When BoF2 was being developed, Capcom took full credit for the publishing and developing of the game, hoping to be successful in a title that Square once helped them promote. The game never got the scores that it was anticipated too (another loss for Capcom you could say). At the present time, BoF3 is out and is a huge leap from the first and second editions of the series. It brings forth every mechanic that they tried to unsuccessfully implement before and gives much more, but not quite as great as I was hoping. This game got noteworthy scores in many sources of video game info, though to be honest, it's just another run-of-the-mill RPG.

Breath of Fire 3 starts out in a small town, where miners are at work trying to excavate the essences of dead dragons in a distant cave. These small items are said to hold magical powers-- those not accessible to humans. Two miners proceed into the caves where they find a large crystal-like object, where a seemingly dead dragon is imprisoned in. As they set explosives around this crystal, and blow it up, the dragon awakens and comes to life. You are then forced to travel in the body of this tiny creature and basically kill every person that stands in you way. You are eventually captured and forced into a cage, where you are afterward taken to the local town. Shortly afterward, you leave on a train ride to somewhere far, far away, yet, you manage to break free and hence take a human form. Days later, a half-man, half-cat creature named Rei finds you, not as a dragon, but as a naked young boy named Ryu (I named mine Tolki.); here, the game begins.

Capcom is the god of 2D; nothing can compare with them. With that in mind, I have one question--What the heck were they thinking when they designed the latest edition to their RPG series? My goodness, I'll say one thing, and I'll say it now: The graphics bore me. Don't get me wrong, they aren't bad, but just not pleasing to the eye. The basic design is boring, and at the time that they made this, there definitely must have been a leak in their pool of creativity.

To give you an idea of what to expect, this is what you may notice: Early on in the game, enemies appear as the same enemy, but with just a different color; this is one aspect that I despise in an RPG. The towns are relatively nice, and play out the role of which they are suppose to fashionably. People look rather the same, and consistently walk back and forth, making them look as if they are robots. Dungeons are quite large, with many sprites of animation shown (the same can be said for the overhead map, as well).

Unlike most RPGs that are carefully designed to be balanced in every way, BoF3 diminishes its one hope of a great RPG with the bad soundtrack that is portrayed. Plain and clear, the music cursorily flows at a consistent rate with the excitement that you get by eating liver and cottage cheese. In a sense, some tunes are comparable to MIDI sounds, in the quality and texture, making it obvious that orchestra or CD music quality was not a major factor to Capcom. Town after town, dungeon after dungeon, everything sounds the same, making you forget if you've been there or not. An occasional 'Uuf' or 'oik' sound from a character is heard when they are hit, but if you are into the excitement of special sound effects, look elsewhere.

The control is just as bad as the sound, but not as good as the graphics. Each character has a special ability, vaguely comparable to Wild Arms, which they use during that course of the game. It's rather hard to position and line the characters to where you want them to hit. At times, it gets bothersome, but not frustrating, when you can't get the person right where you want them.

Another thing that was undesirable was the use of isometric changing camera angles. To find certain items and at different times of the game, you must make it a habit to focus the camera on different places, which is hard, because the camera isn't freely movable, meaning that you can only see certain places depending on where you stand. In doing this, you progress further into the game and ultimately find new items.

The game and story, in general, aren't as bad as the factors that make them up. The story flows considerably fine, and the characters have a bit of emotion. There hasn't been a point yet in the 20 hours of the game that I've been strongly anticipating what is coming next, but I play it every other day, slightly enjoying bits and pieces of the game, here and there.

One thing that is awesome in the game is the fishing. At little places on the main map, there are fishing locations, where you, well, go fishing. It's pretty cool, because you are required to buy supplies and such, making it somewhat realistic.

Overall, the game isn't bad, but I've seen, played and heard better. If you want an RPG to hold you off 'til Xenogears, or something, then feel free to pick up a copy.

Overall: 8
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