#257 Breath of Fire II

Posted: 25th June 2021 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

971st played so far

Genre: Role-Playing
Platform: SNES
Year of Release: 1994
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

In the list of RPGs, the Breath of Fire series feels like an also-ran – a decently successful series that never quite got the traction Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest did. It had six entries – one of which mobile – but without gaining quite as much traction. And that’s the downside now – I can’t tell you what makes the series special in comparison to these other entries. I hope I can figure it out today. I generally enjoy JRPGs enough anyway, so I’m sure that’ll be fine.

Our Thoughts

It’s hard to say, at this time, what really sets Breath of Fire II apart. For a large part of it, it is a standard JRPG, albeit with possibly a slightly more hub based approach of going out somewhere, doing some quests, then returning to an ever growing base. It’s pretty well executed, but a formula that I know well, and so far the main change in mechanics are the use of hunting and fishing and some other field effects – a nice idea to give you a bit more to do, but their reliance on items you buy makes them somewhat more awkward than they should be. That and them appearing only after battle, at which point you need to chase them and hope you don’t end up in another random encounter as the encounter rate is sky high… That and the rather mediocre translation gets off putting.

And it’s a fine game beyond that – I did enjoy playing it despite most of it. There’s a decent story here and the grinding was workable enough, especially as the Switch port meant I could play through them with TV on in the background. Some interesting areas come into play, similar to Final Fantasy VI‘s missions, albeit missing some of that title’s subtleties.

Final Thoughts

It’s not that Breath of Fire II is a bad RPG – it really shows some of the strengths of the genre in the SNES era. At the same time, though, that’s all it does, and there’s little here that feels innovative or new. It’s a decent example of the genre, and good to play because of that reason, but I struggle to find much to recommend this over others of the time.