Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter - Review  

It's all about the Dragon.
by kupomogli

Moderate - Hard
11 - 20 hours


Rating definitions 

   The fifth in a series created by Capcom, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is a tactical RPG dungeon crawler of sorts. Ryu and Bosch are rangers, sent to defend a train from a terrorist group known as Trinity. After getting to the train which is told to carry a powerful weapon, it's attacked, and Ryu is thrown far underground and surviving only because of a chance encounter he had a dragon. Finding and protecting a young girl named Nina, he finds out she's this ultimate weapon and that staying underground will kill her. The game itself does have a unique storyline, although, it is pretty short, and only shows you a few extra parts each additional time you complete it, which does give you a reason to play through it multiple times. Although, because of the length of storyline, it'd be hard to find any grammar or spelling errors, and this is always nice.

Then the blue haired boy turned into a dragon! Then the blue haired boy turned into a dragon!

   You end up getting in encounters like Chrono Cross, or the SaGa Frontier titles, in which the map itself where you're attacked is the battlefield. Battles are like those done in Arc the Lad Twilight of Spirits and Xenogears combined, except with some actual strategy involved. Characters start with 100AP each turn, and can skip a turn or preserve their AP to get another 100, the max being 200. When attacking, you can choose level 1, level 2, or level 3 attacks, which your weapons either start with a few, or you have to equip them by going into your menu. Using an attack on level 1 you can combo it to the next attack, or even a level higher up, raising the damage percentage. There are multiple abilities, and up to three weapons can be equipped at a time during battle, so you can mix and match abilities to take massive damage off enemies. There are defensive abilities that can be equipped also, although, only a single defensive ability can be equipped at time, which ranges from stealing items from enemies, to countering, or raising defense. Although, one thing about battles that did make it a bit easy, which was that healing items had no limit to how far away they could be used, or how many could be used in a row, as they cost no AP. Transforming into a dragon is a bit different as it is in the other Breath of Fire titles, as you now have a meter that can go up to 100%. While at the beggining of the game it's non existant, it does show up once Ryu changes into a dragon the first time, where the more he uses his powers as a dragon or the longer it takes you to finish the game, the closer it becomes to 100%, or in other words, the end of the game. It ends up actually giving the player a choice on taking the easy way out, or using Ryu's dragon power at only certain times which you are in dire need, but always with a consequence.

   Going through the game itself, is more like a massive dungeon crawler though. You find a few towns throughout the game, but there really is no need to buy any of the weapons when enemies drop ones that outclass them by far, sometimes even before you get to the area you can purchase the newer weapons at. If you pick up weapons for the money, they do need to be identified to be sold or even used, and every time you remove a weapon and re-equip it, you have to then re-equip all the abilties that were on the weapon, as they are automatically removed. Also, if you've ever played any of the other Breath of Fire titles, and you enjoy creating your own town, you'll be happy to find that it wasn't removed and creating your own town is one of the things you can do as a sidequest.

I'll hide down here. You shoot people. I'll hide down here. You shoot people.

   The game features cel-shaded graphics and areas very similar to, but not as well done as something you'd see in Wild ARMs 3, and although the cel-shaded graphics are very nice, most character and monster designs kindof suck. The music is from Hitoshi Sakimoto, and it's really good infact, but his style is very repetitive, and uses alot of the same sounds as he did in Final Fantasy Tactics or Vagrant Story, making the music sound like it's borrowed rather than original. But the sound effects are great, where although gunshots in the game are kindof bland and sound low quality, the multiple sword slashes and magic effects are excellent.

   Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is an excellent title, and uses the gameplay borrowed from Xenogears perfectly along with a sortof tactical RPG like system. While it is a difficult game, you have an option to restart anywhere that you want, making it easier as you can use collected Party EXP to start at higher levels at the very beggining of the game. So in all, it provides lots of difficulty, but still helps out those people who aren't that good, so I'm sure most people would like it.

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