The Breath of Fire series is hands down one of my favorite videogame series of all time. It honestly could even be my number one favorite RPG series ever created! It brings almost everything to the table I could ever hope to find in a videogame experience.
The original Breath of Fire was released for the Super Nintendo back in 1993 during the peak growing popularity of traditional turn-based RPGs after the success of Final Fantasy. This game was far ahead of it’s time in many aspects which have remained fairly consistent through most of the titles that followed.
The games two main characters, Ryu and Nina, are the only two whose names and likenesses remained constant throughout the series. They are in no way supposed to always be the same person as the games progress but rather “incarnations” if you will. Ryu always being a male character with blue hair having the ability to transform into various dragon forms. While, Nina is always portrayed as a blonde female having wings for different reasons. Many of the other characters often share resemblances to other characters but with none of them having this same exact relevance.
Most of the games involve what you would expect from traditional style RPGs being story driven, consisting of fairly linear game-play leading you to explore various towns/dungeons and having a turn based combat system. Many aspects of the games entail elements that have always set this series apart from others in a number of ways! One of the most notable being that every character is completely unique not only in style but also their skill sets both in and outside of combat.
I’ve always enjoyed games that give characters various abilities/items that they use to complete puzzles and interact with the environment outside of battle. I think this is one of the coolest things a typical game in this genre can implement to add to the game’s experience. This was something even the original Breath of Fire achieved, which in many ways was “ground-breaking” in it’s own way for what games like this had achieved and experimented with up to this point.
The abilities that each character has in battle throughout the series is a whole other aspect in and of itself. As I previously mentioned, the main character, Ryu, is able to transform into different dragon forms which is achieved in a completely different manner in almost every single game. He alone is not the only character with the ability to transform without spoiling anything for anyone who has yet to try or experience all the games in the series. I can’t think of many other games that have such a wide range of different styles and abilities in the way this series accomplishes. This has always been something that can make or break a game for me honestly!
(One of the main reasons I’m not all that big a fan of Final Fantasy 7 for example…simply because you can essentially make every character exactly the same minus their “limit breaks” but this is a topic left for another day, ha ha!)
The story and themes of all the games are inherently linked in a number of ways while also not explicitly stating so. A number of stories and histories are shared throughout the series that reveal information about the varying races and the progression of the world over time. These can range from the history of the dragon clan or the winged race that Nina descends from slowly losing their ability to both fly and shape-shift into birds. Also, in the last “true game” of the series, society has shifted to living underground which is only mildly elaborated upon as the story progresses.
My favorite game in the series will always be the third for me personally. Breath of Fire 3 was my first introduction to the series which probably leaves me slightly bias. Overall, I just can’t think of one aspect about it I didn’t simply fall completely in love with! The story-line, the graphics, the characters, and above all the particular way the dragon transformations are implemented will always leave it having a special place in my heart! Potentially, my favorite game of all time if I had to solely pick one.
Most seem to prefer the fourth from what I have read which is honestly probably my least favorite even though I enjoy many things about it that set it apart like all of the games in the series. I even enjoyed the fifth game which receives more mixed reviews than any other completely changing up almost every aspect of the original four.
A sixth was technically created as a mobile game never becoming successful enough to even be deemed worthy of a release in English. I would still love to try it someday being such a fan but to most it marked the “final nail in the coffin” for the series…
Capcom, the creators of the games, have been quoted as saying they wouldn’t completely rule out potentially making another game in the future but most have come to accept the series will never rise again.
I highly recommend trying any of the existing games if you enjoy turn-based RPGs!
Who knows what the future may hold for one of my favorite videogame series of all time?
I know I will never stop looking it up on occasion in hopes of seeing it’s revival one day in the future.
Only time will tell!
Thank you so much for Reading!
“Dragon’s Breath”by Mr Noded is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Nina – Breath Of Fire III”by qiqo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0