Title: Breath of Fire 4   Developer: Capcom   Type: Strategy RPG
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Breath of Fire 4
"Using traditional attack commands combined with skills and dragon powers, Breath of Fire IV is an RPG done in classic and traditional style with flair of its own."
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PSone REVIEW:
 
As the game starts out we see Nina and Cray zooming across the desert in a sand flier. They are on a mission of rescue, no joy ride that\'s for sure. Coming across an overly aggressive and huge sand dragon, the sand flier is wrecked beyond repair.

As Cray stands guard over the broken shell of a sand flier, Nina sets out to find a near-by town, hoping to locate some sorely needed spare parts. Before long she stumbles across a very naked and confused young man called Ryu. Having lost his memory, they decide to travel together.

You see, the cities in this land have arranged a fragile, yet holding peace among each other, while one incident may throw all the efforts of the leaders into disarray. You see. Nina and Cray are searching for Nina\'s sister, Elena, who has disappeared without a trace. No big deal….except Elena is a princess.

More and more get revealed as you play Breath of Fire 4, but this is where my story ends. There is much more that awaits our group of would-be adventurers.


Almost every aspect of this has been improved over the last game... Let me run down a few of the aspects for those both familiar and unfamiliar with the series.

While playing, you can have up to six characters in your party at one time. The real stand out difference between this game and its peers is in the combat system, taking on a strategical-tactical scope. When you enter a battle, all characters are available to you. Three characters make up the front row and the remainders are in back. While in back, ability points, which are used to perform skills and magic, are regained according to the individual characters stats. The really nice part is that you have total control over who fights when. You choose the character to go first, second, and third. If one of the characters is in the back row, they move up front to replace whoever is in the front row and not being utilized. Neat huh?

A few fun and well playing features were retained from its predecessor. Fishing is still alive and well, and you can use the Agetec fishing controller to boot. The map is scattered with fishing spots and the act of fishing is more interactive than before. Also the Fairies are back too! Treat these magical creatures well and nothing but good things will come your way. Let\'s not forget about the Masters.

Throughout your journeys you will encounter characters that are willing to teach you some special skills that will come in handy. To learn these skills, you or your party must accomplish specific tasks. Another unique way to learn skills is to use the defend command in combat. Certain enemy skills, those listed in blue, can be learned with a certain probability if the enemy casts this skill while one or more of your party is defending.

When you get to areas on the map you have the option to camp (Do so often). When you are camped out all your characters in your party are there, and you can talk to them and see if any clues are given, in case you need a pointer or two. Also you can learn what the characters really may be thinking about the situation you\'re in. When camped out you can also Rest, which regains your health, or check on your Master list and skill list.

Breath of Fire 4 is entertainment packed and loaded with items, secrets and mini-games. The control is very user friendly and the story line, while classic in nature is fun to follow and done in cinematic flair.

All of the cut scene actions, with a very few minor exceptions, are done using the in-game real time engine. The beauty of this though is two fold. First of all, the camera work and presentation of the scenes is absolutely excellent. Secondly, even though you get the pixilated graphics in these scenes, the story is put forward in a way that brings out the mystery and gravity of the scene at hand. Great job.

The magic spells and dragon summons are all done very well. The game has a slight leaning toward the dreary side, but that\'s how the whole series has been done. While beautiful in design, and especially motion, color schemes are often muted and earthy. Bright colors need not apply.

There are two areas that concerned me while playing... The towns are great looking and loaded with life, don\'t get me wrong. The thing is, the camera view is too close to the characters, so the buildings are constantly blocking your view. Luckily you have full rotation of the camera, which you will use a lot to see about. Secondly is the world map. The map is done on a point-to-point type system. I always prefer to run around a real map when it comes to RPG\'s. This is no major gripe though, with over 80 locations to visit, a somewhat lacking world map can be overlooked.

The sound great. While touring the many locations and dungeon areas a wide variety of music is offered. Jungle beats to mystical harmonies await your journey. Also the enemies and characters in your party make grunts, screams and words (Japanese), which I loved.

The only drawback, and again it\'s minor to me, is the lack of any voice acting during cut-scenes. While this feature is nice to have, a quality sound track is much more important.

FEATURES:
 
Explore a huge world with over 80 locations.

More than 200 spells to chose from. Players learn magic from opponents.

360-degree camera control.

Loaded with mini-games and quests.

Two epic intertwining story lines, that of Fou-Lu and Ryu.

Take the power and form of many dragons.

OPTIONS:
 
• 1 Disk(s)
• CD Media
• 1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
• Up to 1 Players (without Multi-tap)
• Compatible accessories include: Agetec Fishing Rod
• Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
• Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
• Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility

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Review SUMMARY and SCORE
Robert Gibson  "Another great RPG by Capcom, BoF4 does the series proud. With tons of mini-games, great sound and high quality scenes this game has what it takes. The story is classic and the secrets are many. Battle control and ease of use only add to the value here.

All in all it is a solid, long lasting RPG, that can hold it\'s own against the heavy hitters in the industry. A must get for fans of the genre."
Graphics  18/20
Playability  47/50
Sound  8/10
Lastability  20/20
93%
This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
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REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:

OUR PLEDGE:

We promise that we have fully played 'Breath of Fire 4' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.

SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)

00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.

60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.

70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.

80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.

90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.

IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:

It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.

A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.


READERS REVIEWS:

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PSone Review SUMMARY and SCORE
Chris Brickwedde  "Well This Is The Fourth One In The Series...yawn...oh Wait Im Awake Now...
The Breath Of Fire Series Desperately Needed This Game. Once You Get Past The First Couple Of Hours Or So The Game Really Begins To Take Off And The Gameplay Is Non-stop Active In The Game (something Most Psx Rpgs Lack).

Once Again You Take The Control Of A Boy Named Ryu. He Is Summoned To The World By The Empire Of Fo-lou To Use Against The Alliance Of Nations To The East. His Sould Seperated By And Alter Ego By The Emporor Who Single Handedly Untited The Western Part Of The World Into The Fo-lou Empire.
Along His Journey He Meets A Girl Named Nina And With Her Companion Cray They Set Forth To Look For Her Missing Sister, The Princess Of Wyndia. This Chapter Of The Saga, Will Provide You With Hours Of Enertainment, And Enjoyment, So Far I Have The Clock At 20 Some Odd Hours And Still Ticking...

Despite The Tragedy That Was Bof3, This Game Refreshes The Ideals And Concepts Of This Series. The Story Is Diffrent And Much Darker Than The Previous 2 Titles (the Game Has Similar Elements To The Original Breath Of Fire) And The Combat System Introduces What I Think To Be One Of The Most Fluent Combo Attack Systems I Have Ever Seen In A Game. If It Got Better Then Bof4 Would Have Been A Fighting Game!!!

Many Mini Games And Plenty Of Places To Be Explored. This One Uses The Concept Of Ff8 And Does It Correctly, Not Making A Multi Character Senario's Bogg Down And Destroy Game Play. This Is A Must Play For All Bof Fans And And Something That Should At Least Be Rented By Most Other People To At Least See What The Game Has To Offer."
Graphics  11/20
Playability  33/50
Sound  8/10
Lastability  18/20
70%
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PSone Review SUMMARY and SCORE
Nick Masters  "I Think Its A Great Game And I'm Hooked To It. This Is A Game Where You Should Not Look At The Graphics Because They Have There Own Style I Guess And I Think It's Great. If You Ever Want To Feel Powerfull This Is Your Game Cause In The Skin Of Fou-lou Your Dame Strong And A God Sort Of.

I'm A Rpg Fan And One Of The Worst Kind But This Game Is Simply Cool.
The Intro Movie Is Great But I'm Not Yet Sure But I Think It's The Only One.
The Character Is For Some A Little Bit Like Bof3 Like Cray Who Looks Like Rei. Than You Have Ursela That May Look Differentt But She Has Long Ears And A Gun Like Momo. And Well We Al Know Ryu And Nina

The Dragonforms A Great. The Mini Games A Original And Fun To Play. The Story Is Up To Now Real Cool.

To Me The Game Is Great The Only Down Point Is A Litlle Bit Too Little Fmv But That's Not Why We Buy A Game. A Game Is To Play.

To Me A Must Have"
Graphics  15/20
Playability  48/50
Sound  10/10
Lastability  20/20
93%
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PSone Review SUMMARY and SCORE
Aaron Oberne  "Tis Good Game No Dought. Still It Lacks Optional Detailing And Hand Configuration Movement. The Minigames Are Quit Idealistic. But By All Means Why Am I Always At Level 29 When I Face The Main Boss. I Thought The Game Would Be Long Enouth That I Would Be At The Same Level As Fuo-lu. And Why Does Clay Learn Magic, It Sacks Up His Attack Power. Urlusa Or Nina Should Have The Earth Magics Not Clay. And Why Is There Only Six Playable Characters, And Why Isn't Tyr The Main Boss. And Why Is Ryu And Nina's Names Used In Every Bof. What Is Nina From Bof Iv Nina I, Bof I Nina Ii, Bof Ii Nina Iii, And Bof Iii Nina Iv. And What Reason Is That Were-fox Or Were-mink Trying To Create Gods. And Why Is Their No Fusions Like Their Is In The Other Games. And Why Doesn't Fou-lu Take Part In The Game As A Part Of The Party. This What I Say Would Inprove The Game Have Ryu's Name Be Shion, Let Nina's Name Be Arisu. Have Clay Not To Learn Magic. Let Their Be 9 Playable Characters, Shion(with Only Aura And Wyvern)(have His Dragon Use Explosion And Eruption Magics), Arisu, Ursula, Clay(without Earth Magic), Urshin(without Magic)(do Not Have Urshin Talk Until The Ending), Fou-lu (with Only Astral And Serpent(but Look Actually Like A Serpent)(and Have His Dragon Use Dysater And Effect Magics), Deis (with (my Opinion) A Teal Look Alike Of Astral/aura With A Thunderbird As Her Evolved Dragon (have Her Dragon Use Lightning And Cure Magics), Scias (without Curing Magics, But With The Ice Magics, Momo (hey She's In The Game And Appears Before The The Ending Unlike The Others)(let Her Have The Curing Magics And Earth Magics). Oh Yeah Let The Three Dragons Have The Fuse Option. Let Their Fuse Form Turn Into Kaiser Which Can Perform Both Kaiser's And Tyrant's Dragon Attacks, Aura Smash, And That Multi Weakness Attack, But Have It Not Be Functional Against Bosses And Have Their Highest Fire, Water, Wind, And Earth Spells So You Can Still Have The Spell Combo Magics. Have Shion (ryu) Met Arisu (nina At The Middle Of The Game. Have Shion (ryu) Meet Ursula Earlier And Scias Latter, But Before Meeting Arisu (nina) And Clay. Have Fou-lu And Momo Team Up Early In The Game But Before They Met Shion, Arisu, Ursula, Urshin, Deis, Skias, And Clay. Have Clay And Urshin Have Their Own Fusion. Have Momo, Arisu, Ursula, And Skias Have Their Own Fusion. I Bet This Version Wouldn't Be So Boring Aslong As They Have The Same Minigames And Other Characters In The Same Reactment. And Same Music And Graphics."
Graphics  15/20
Playability  48/50
Sound  10/10
Lastability  15/20
88%
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