A Wizard has Turned You Into a Whale

After the opening, which we've heard so much about, Breath of Fire 2 drops you in a town, with you and your friend Bow trying to find work. You end up doing a number of odd jobs as mercenaries, before eventually traveling out to a town where a gladiatorial competition is being held, where you unearth an attempt to fix the fights. Right about here, the game just kind of... breaks down. One of the good organizational parties behind the fights gives some speech, aided by your characters, realizing that some sort of black tide is growing, because you fought a bunch of demons in various places, which he may or may not relate to some ancient prophecy.

Personally, I think this sucks as much as it sounds like it sucks. It gives me the impression that somebody came up with the general overlay of demons coming back, dragons being fated to battle them, your main character being a dragon, and so forth, and then came up with the opening, but kind of fell asleep at the wheel for connecting the dots.

Okay, reader poll: That was the best metaphor ever: (Y/Y)

Seriously though, I remember finally putting the game down for good when I was in a cave below a town, trying to kill a fish that was causing earthquakes, when I stopped and thought “Why the hell am I doing this?” I mean, I was doing it cause Ryu is a generally nice guy who doesn't turn down people who need saving from earthquake fish, but for the life of me, I couldn't see why it mattered for the main plot. I guess earthquake fish messing up towns is also part of that amorphous black tide, but I felt like I had sunk nigh onto ten hours into that game, and still had no idea what I should be doing or where I should be going in the long run. I've pushed through moments like that before in games, but every time a player thinks that, I'd say it represents a significant failure on the part of the writers.

I'll be picking up on that one early December. Back to our regularly scheduled program.


General Viagra said...

I haven't played Breath of Fire 2, but I heard from some friend that it wasn't so bad. I didn't expect that game broke down in the beginning.

sorrowtoserenity said...

Okay, I realize this is kind of an old post, but I can't help but feel that your view of Breath of Fire 2 and its plot is entirely fair.

The biggest issue that plagued this game was its translation; it was the first text-heavy game Capcom tried to translate on their own(part 1 was localized and published internationally by Squaresoft), and it shows, badly. The game is notorious for the low quality of its translation, which often makes certain plot elements murkier than they should be.

The plot of BoF2 is more complex than it seems, and it all ties together with the first and third(and possibly 4th) games in the series. But that translation makes this hard to see. If you bother with emulators, I'd recommend looking up the terms "breath of fire 2" "ryusei" and "water crown." In 2009, a modder by the screen name of Ryusei worked to completely and entirely re-translate Breath of Fire 2, and it breathed new life into the game.

I can't help but feel that if you got to play -that- version, your opinion of this game might be better. It was probably the first RPG I ever personally played, and it's still in my top 10 list to this day.

sorrowtoserenity said...

*Isn't entirely fair, I meant.