From Gaming-Age Forum; I omitted the spoilers all together:
Update: Added an “extra stuff” question?
Update: Added more to the “Is this a repetitive dungeon hack?” question and added, “Should I check it out?” question.
Ooooookay! There seems to be as much confusion over this game as there was when it released in Japan at first. Don’t know whether you want to play it or should try it? Wondering about all the conflicting reports? Why are some people reporting different elements than others? Don’t understand some aspect of the game? Want to know what the hell is going on?
While many of our kind forum members have graciously explained the game well, there are a host of other issues and such it would be nice to have in one place so we can reduce questions and the vast majority of “huh?”'s in the coming days and weeks as people pick up the game or at least look into doing so. So if people want to contribute, or ask more questions, I’ll edit and incorporate into the FAQ. Sound good? Cool.
Its rather long, so you might just skip to the bold question that applies to you.
What is this game about?
Its about a group of people who are trying to get to the top of a surface in an underground world where no one has ever seen the sun. Its a very hard life under the surface, so the game tries to reflect that. It is neither story-oriented, nor gameplay-oriented, it has a nice mix of both tied in well with each other and shouldn’t disappoint fans of either slant.
This game sounds so new, is it really Breath of Fire?
Definitely. A dragon is central to the plot and Ryu and Nina both appear. Other game elements, less large, but nevertheless there in past games also show up and there are scads of references to the earlier games. Ryu talks this time though. Unfortunately, there is no fishing, but it has been replaced with something very cool.
Should I check this out even if I hate RPGs?
Whether you like RPGS, hate them, think they have potential, but are boring, never played one, are a fan of BoF or not, you should definitely try it out. Its games like this that could really have an impact on influencing design decisions for the better, if it were only more popular and supported. Its not just fun and great, you also support the advancement of RPGs! The power of Kitsune compells you!
Is this game really only 10 hours long?
NO! It will take you longer than 10 hours to complete. In the event you are some sort of mastermind genius, a disclaimer to say maybe 1% of the population will be able to win it the first time through without restarting, and with a lot of help from others and basically being walked through everything. It isn’t likely.
So how long is it?
I’d estimate from square one beginning to the last screen, an average of about 18 hours your first time through. Depending on how much you restart and how much you realize what’s going on, it may take anywhere from 14 to 20 hours. This does not include time restarted, its one playthrough from start to finish, restarted or restored or not.
The lowest time for a playthrough has been around 7 or 8 hours. This takes mounds of practice, an intimate knowledge of the game and an amazing amount of good thinking to accomplish. You won’t be able to do that the first time through, most likely.
Is this a repetitive dungeon hack?
Kinda, sorta, maybe, but I imagine if you’ve an open mind it will appeal to more than fans of just dungeon hacks. There is a story to follow, and its a rather well-done one that isn’t skimped on. I found the gameplay much more compelling than the story, but that’s not to say this is a game that only has gameplay.
Miraculously, it doesn’t feel very repetitive. Since you’re always working on improving your chances at survival and since there’s always new elements, and the battle system and gameplay really does continue to expand, you can always count on something to hold your interest. Think of it as how a good platform or adventure game will introduce a puzzle or a move, and your understanding of that will grow more complex and more tested as the game goes on, with new quirks and additions and challenges to the formula. Plus, replaying is as smooth as Capcom could possibly make it.
So starting over is necessary and a part of the game?
Yes, think of the plot and gameplay as a book you start reading in the middle. Some pages are invisible until you see others parts of the book and start over from the beginning. You just have to skip those pages until you can read them. You won’t understand a good chunk of the plot or the gameplay your first time through. Some things won’t become apparent until you win it. This is the way its supposed to work. Don’t think of the beginning as the true beginning or the ending as the true end. Seeing everything in the game (reading the entire book) will take you as long as any other normal, relatively long RPG you’ve played. A good third or maybe even more of the game lies behind restarting and winning, including an amazing extra I’ll keep my lips shut about. ~_^ All I’ll say is Lufia fans should rejoice.
What should I understand the first time around?
This question naturally implies that there are things you shouldn’t or won’t completely come to grips with at first. Here are things you a) shouldn’t look up in a FAQ or ask for help with if you want to play the game legitimately, or b) its fine if you don’t understand at first, the game itself will open up situations that make learning them absolutely necessary and its a great amount of the fun to be found in it. When asked about this element, one of the Capcom developers said they wanted people to figure it out for themselves.
-Traps. Some traps don’t seem to work the way you think they will and there are a lot more than you start with. Don’t worry about that.
-Combos and skills. Where do I get them? How did I get them? Why are some of them like this? And I don’t really understand the combo system? In time, you will. You should think of it as a puzzle though. There are boss battles and difficulties as such that you should really figure out on your own, and if you try something unconvential you’ll be rewarding by understanding another nuance of the game.
-Some of these gauges and counters are confusing. Ignore that at first, you’ll understand them after you win the game. D-Ratio and D-Counter are only things you need to understand.
-Some of these chests won’t open, and neither will some doors. Do they ever open? Yes they do. Don’t worry about it. Sometimes its random too, it will be different for some people.
-Okaaaay, an ant colony. What the hell? My thoughts exactly, but you know what I’m going to say, don’t you? You just don’t know what you should/can be doing until you win the game the first time.
If you do understand this things already, good for you, smartie. Plus the game should make everything eventually apparent as you play it. If you’re really really confused and you never figured it out, even after winning the game, by then, you should ask. Think of your first time through the game as a massive tutorial that prepares for the rest.
How does the save system work?
You can quicksave any time you need to leave the game. This will disappear once you start over again. You cannot depend on this as a save you can resort to, its just for convenience.
Any time you want to save with a save token, think of this as a marvelous little advantage or item in the gameplay, not as the typical interface/configuration element it is in most all other games. Saving with a token is like creating a base, that base will become your safe point and should be somewhere where your D-Counter is low enough. Look at how much of the surface you’ve climbed and compare it to your D-Counter, that should be a good indication of whether it is a good save spot.
When you die, or your D-Counter goes to 100%, or you give up, you have several options that are very important. First of all, quitting to the starting screen will always make sure you can just restore or restart like a normal RPG, that is, you get nothing new, and you just start again at whatever point you saved at to try again.
If you choose to restore a save, you will lose all items you were carrying, but keep all those that were sealed away in chests. You will keep all party experience, which is found on the menu screen and is separate from the normal personal experience. You will then get to dole it out to whoever and however you want to increase levels. Skills and armor you are actually equipped with carry over. There penalties toward experience depending on what you chose, restarting or restoring. Furthermore, some things are random, such as skills you get, where treasure chests appear and where enemies appear, and thus items as well. As far as I know, despite months of analyzing it, there isn’t any way to tell how this algorhythm works. shrugs
New scenes and new stuff open up mostly through restarting the game, not restoring a save. Though you may find somethings in restoring a save, restarting is the principal way of finding new stuff. You can skip the new scenes or the old, it doesn’t matter.
Now then, contrary to popular litany, your D-Ratio does not increase by restarting the game, at least it didn’t in the Japanese version. There is another way to increase it.
What’s this about deleting saves?
Apparently, the game deletes saves if you try to cheat. I haven’t experienced this, as I haven’t tried to cheat, so I can’t tell you for sure whether its true and what exactly happens. I do know “cheating” in this case means either leaving the game on in one place for hours and hours so you needn’t save (rather stupid since it doesn’t really gain you anything) or using a cheating device. You should be safe, don’t worry.
What’s D-Rank about?
Err, sorry. I thought they’d changed the name from D-Ratio to D-Rank for the English translation. Apparently its still D-Ratio. Sorry, sorry! Ignore the word “D-Rank” then.
Okay, so what’s D-Ratio about?
D-Ratio is a measure of one’s status in the world of Dragon Quarter. See how Ryu is called Ryu 1/8192? That means he is at a very low level in society. You’ll find other characters who are essentially higher in rank by having a lower D-Ratio. Higher ranks give you more access to the world and also in some cases give you more story. You do not access secrets through this, it is not a side element, you access more of the game through it. Its part of the game. How do you D-Ratio if you don’t do it by restarting then?
Well, if you’re not planning on spoiling the game for yourself, I’m not telling. However, if you really want to know, I’ll put it in spoiler text below. Each block is more explicit than the last. Don’t look at it if you can think you can figure it out for yourself. Remember, increasing D-Ratio is rather like solving puzzles in an adventure game, what fun is it to have a walkthrough in hand and rob that sense of excitement?
C’mon, give me a hint about the D-Ratio!
Okay, this is rather harmless to know. You know how sometimes you get an extra chance at the beginning of battles? That is largely dependent on when you hit the enemy and what traps you use. Well, you need to begin each battle with a preemptive strike as much as you can. This are EX’s and will help increase your D-Ratio. Also, raising levels of each character helps. These are the only things you’ll probably be able to have any control over the first time you win the game.
Okay, so how about the D-Counter?
This one is easy. Once you come into a certain point in the game, you’ll get something so unreasonably powerful it can pretty much solve any problem and destroy any thing in its path. Think of it as your wild card in a card game. Every time you decide to start using it a percentage will go up by quite a large amount, and every time you use one of its abilities, this percentage will rise even faster than normal. Faster than normal means that every few steps you take from this point on will make it rise. You can’t do anything about this percentage, which is called the D-Counter or D-Level, unless you restart the game. Restarting a save will only put it back to what it was when you saved, and in some cases, not even that will happen. So be careful. Basically, measure every decision you make.
So all this about D-Ratio and restarting is extra stuff, right?
No, no, no. It as much a part of the game as magic spells and inns are a part of other RPGs. It is not an extra or an easter egg or a nice plus, its part of the basic game system.
There are extras and secrets more in line with a normal RPG, but these aren’t it.
Hmmm, you’re not telling me something.
Bingo! There’s a rather nasty surprise in store for you later on in the game. All I’ll say is D-Counter is not something to be toyed, it isn’t a normal system that is just balanced with a good penalty, it really is something you shouldn’t use unless you absolutely need it. Think of it as not raising the fire alarm in unless there really is a fire. It might be fun, but you’ll pay for it. Especially at the end. If you don’t understand the gist of my hints, then there’s no hope for you. And if you get there and start whining, just stop and remind yourself its just a game, its not unfair, they warned you at the start, you should have heeded it.
Okay, okay, I think I get it. This game is a test of your skill and critical thinking, its like a combination of an oldskool style never-ending arcade challenge with an RPG. I shouldn’t view it as a game that is short but has many extras, but rather as a collection of stuff that gradually opens up and unlocks. The save system and D-Counter are not simply faults in the game, but deliberately made that way and its alright if I don’t understand some other elements at first.
Yup, that’s all there is to it.
Will we ever see another game like this again?
Not likely. Capcom’s development team almost literally got reamed by rabid Japanese BoF fans and I doubt the US reception will be any different. They left a rather cryptic message about being more serious next time around and reflecting on what they’ve done that makes me think they thought this game was a mistake. It sold far worse than any other BoF as well. Critical reception is probably not going too great because its such a new system and not easy to understand at first.
That’s a pity. This game’s brilliant, anything we can do about this?
Yeah, I agree with you. Of course, buying it is always a good idea. Another thing is to leave a message in this forum and label “For Kitsune’s E-Mail.” I’ll translate it into Japanese and relay it to Capcom. In the past, Capcom and quite a few other companies have responded to a surprisingly small base of fan comment and demand when a game has tanked both ways. You can also e-mail Capcom USA, but if you give it to me, it should closer to the people who do the decisions. The list of games that this worked on before are as follows:
Seven ----> Venus & Braves
Atelier Lily ----> Its sequels
Gyakuten Saiban ----> Its continuation and success, and almost guarantee of a third game.
Generations of Chaos ----> The survival of the series.
So as you can see, it does work and if you’d like to see RPGs continue down this path, some support of the poor developers who dared to try something new would be a good idea.
Do you work for Capcom?
Can’t someone just like a game and want to see it flourish?
Anything I need to add/you want to add? Anything I’m wrong about (I’m working on memory here). Feel free to add your strategies to this thread if you like.
Make sure your game is true.