Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter - Fantastic so far

Got this game today and played it most of tonight. FINALLY have a firm grasp on the combat system, skill system, and weapon system.

The first thing ya gotta remember is that this isn’t Final Fantasy, Lunar, or most any other RPG out there. This title exists in the same strange realm of RPGs as Valkyrie Profile and Vagrant Story. An RPG that works hard to present new ideas to the genre while still presenting some solid gaming.

In reality, BoFV is more of a tactical strategy title, along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics. Dungeon Crawling is what you do here. Sure, there’s story, but the bulk of the game is a series of dungeons. While the Dungeons aren’t random, Monster placement and item placement are. So even if you know the way, you can’t always be sure what’s behind the next door. IGN says its about 10 hours long, but I think they, like many others are missing the point.

Your goal is not to finish the game, but to explore it. Dying and restarting is a fundamental aspect of BoFV. Raising your D-Rank is also important. The higher your rank, new sub quests open, new cut-scenes, more story, and new conversations. Your rank represents your status in the game world. As you play through multiple times you learn more about the main character and the world they adventure in. Plus you get PHAT l00t and cool fights.

Speaking of fighting system, BoFV’s fighting system is Ace. When you start out the game lets you get a firm grasp of combos. As it progresses new characters are introduced that offer up some new possibilities. For example, the frail looking magic casting girl. She can create ‘zones’ of magic based off of elements n such. I’ve used her to create two zones near a wall, and then had the main character use his Kick skill (throws an opponent back) on the enemy, throwing them into the first magic circle for high damage, then bouncing them off the wall into the next magic circle for even more damage. Nothing about that kind of action is said directly in the tutorial or instruction book, its just the kind of strategic stuff you can explore on your own.

You can gather skills by killing mid-boss type monsters in a dungeon and getting the key to the locked chessts that are on various floors of every dungeon. You can also steal skills using the steal skill. Also, weapons/shields only hold so many slots for skill usage. So you cant just pack a character with every skill. You have to decide which you want equipped cause each skill has very different effects.

So far i’ve restarted 4 times. Im getting further in the game now, and more story is being revealed along with some somewhat tough encounters, but smart use of my entire team’s abilities has been instrumental to my success.

So far this game gets a thumbs up from me.

Odd that we have such different impressions! I agree about the battle system (it’s first-rate) but the save system had me throwing controllers at the wall last night.

Having to find save tokens and then find one of the very sparsely spread save points is driving me insane. I’m not normally a save-anywhere nazi, but this system seems ill-considered.

After spending a few hours getting to the point where the game stops holding your hand and starts getting fun, the last thing I want to do is to go back to the beginning and fight my way through the same three monster types for another few hours.

It’s a shame, because the battle system is great, and the plot is passably interesting. There’s much more thought and strategy is needed than with your typical J-RPG. I’d like to be able to enjoy it without the prospect of an untimely death sending me back hours.

Well as I said above, the game isnt about being finished. Its about getting your rank up and tweaking your characters into killing machines. If you restart you get to keep your skills, party exp, equipment, and other things. The party exp will let you get to level 6 from the get go, the equipment no doubt helps, and the skills are always good.

If you think of your goal a bit differently its easier to deal with restarting or dying. How many times did I run through the Hell act in Diablo II? The Ruins in Phantasy Star Online?

Yeah, that sounds like the key. My goals in playing an RPG are to explore the world and discover the plot, to kill new and interesting monsters, to improve my characters, and to master the game’s “numbers”.

So far it’s failing on the first two counts. The monsters aren’t new and/or interesting, and although the added scenes when you replay are nice, I really don’t see why I couldn’t have had them the first time through. I feel like I’m being forced to play the same chunk of game over and over, and that isn’t much fun, especially when you consider that combat doesn’t get interesting for the first few hours.

I got to joypad-throwing before I really got a handle on what is kept when you restart and what isn’t.

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the music is fantastic, but the footstep sound bugs me.

What do you think of the save system? My wife was quite taken aback when I started threatening to skullfuck the individual who thought that one up.

I didn’t have the same problem with Diablo – God knows, I made a few Meph runs back in the days. But that game didn’t have a plot to speak of, and death was no big deal (until you started playing hardcore, but that’s another story). PSO didn’t grab me, mostly thanks to being stuck on a modem at the time. Looking forward to playing it on XBL though.

Well the diablo thing was just to put the whole thing in perspective. We do the same thing with other games every year. The more recent RPGs for consoles have focused more on story and movies, leaving what some to consider a tedious task of leveling up in the dust.

Thing is, with an interesting enough combat system and character development leveling up and running around the same dungeons (to me) isn’t that bad.

Opinion on the save system? I don’t think it’s cruel or unfair. It definitely presents its own kind of challenge. Something im not used to, but after the waves of same-y rpgs I sort of welcome it. I do think, however, that they could have done a better job naming. There are maybe five different ways to quite, each one doing almost the same thing save one important aspect. It’s just never explained as well as I would like in the manual or tutorial. I myself have restarted 4 times. 2 times were out of my control, 2 others were out of choice.

All good points. The save system is definitely worded badly, and in fact the documentation is lacking on a number of points. There seems to be some contradiction between the manual and the in-game help text too.

I’ll sit down with it tonight again, and try to think of my progress in the game as being the advancement of my character rather than my point in the storyline. We’ll see.

Above guest is me, btw.

Im getting pretty far in the game right now. But I do a lot of sneaking around and running away. You can buy items in the second town, which helps a lot. The story’s pretty good so far.

I’m picking up a copy of this in just a few hours.

The premise sounds extremely unique, and there seems to be a nice amount of variety that unlocks or magically ‘appears’ with each successive restart (Assuming there actually ARE enough differences here to warrant a desire to replay from scratch). I can see myself becoming the sheer completist addict here, as I strive to masterfully unlock the most amount of material and routes the game can offer. There seems to be a logical balance in how you distribute your findings and micromanage those limitations instilled on your party. If anything the combat system really sounds fresh.

The whole save debacle can be rather irritating though. I only have so many hours to game, I have never pro-actively supported losing massive amounts of progress in a bid to heighten difficulty. I like to be punished for poor play, but not in such a way that disrupts the flow. I’d hate to spend a few hours hacking away only to discover my time with the title was a fruitless endeavor without that save oppoirtunity.

Yet, you say there are multiple choices offered at a restart junction? If you have cracked the code that the manual/in-game descriptions fail to properly describe, I’d really appreciate the explanations so I have a proper basis to utilizing them when I do pick up a copy. Anything to help alleviate the frustration that Mike above seems to be tempered with and can surely infuriate me. Otherwise, it seems like just the kind of title to preoccupy myself with for the time being.

You can quit a game and it will save a temp file so when you come back later you can start from that point. The save token saves serve a different purpose.

Temp file?

Is this the sort of temp file that will remain on your mem card even after power off only to dissapear altogether once you reload forcing you to create a new temp file between permanant saves?

What are the restrictions and limitations here for temp saving? I mean I just want to know how much the game forces me to sit and play before I can actively participate in my life schedule?

System kind of reminds me of Steel Battalion on Xbox. In that game, death in a mission meant death to your entire progress forcing you to restart from scratch with a brand new pilot. You do have the option to actively eject from the battlefield just before death occurs but with the penalty of paying for a brand new mech and parts if you havew the money. Kept the game at premium tension levels, but can be absolutely infuriating at the same time.

basically when you quit it makes a file. So next time you quit, it will make a new temp file.

So you shouldnt have a problem unless your ps2 blows up mid game. Or you die, in which case you must choose from the given quit options.

So where ever you quit, assuming there isnt an enemy, the temp file will save your spot. When you fire up the ps2 again you load the temp file. It is gone now, but the next time you choose to quit it will create a nother.

Prem Saves made with Save Tokens serve to aid players when killed. You can choose to start from the Perm save with a bit of a penalty for dying of course.

I’d be very happy to pick up a copy of this game that I’ve heard so many good things about. I’d also be very happy to pick up a copy of Dark Cloud 2 which I’ve also heard very good things about.


File another reason for the “Why Europeans hate us” thread: Americans get all the good games first! :x

Sorry to hear it Christoph. None of the publishers do a good job of serving Europe. I think PAL compatibility is what you’ve got to thank for that.


Delays are the norm, but it’s even worse than usual with these two games. Breath of Fire III was the last iteration Capcom has released in Europe, and copies of Dark Cloud are so rare that they’re collectors items. It seems as if these games are considered unsuitable for the European market for whatever reason. At least War of the Monsters will be released in April… finally.

Delays are the norm, but it’s even worse than usual with these two games. Breath of Fire III was the last iteration Capcom has released in Europe, and copies of Dark Cloud are so rare that they’re collectors items. It seems as if these games are considered unsuitable for the European market for whatever reason. At least War of the Monsters will be released in April… finally.[/quote]

Not true. You guys got 1503AD first. Europa 1400: The Guild and a patch. Why, that’s two whole games right there right off the top of my head. Oh and then there is 1602AD. Now look at that. You should feel bad for us. :wink:

Wow, I didn’t know this had come out yet. I almost saddened because I think Dark Cloud 2 just came out also. I plan to get both games but I still have other games to play first (plus the money thing). Dynasty Warriors 4 is also supposed to come out in March and then Gladius won’t be far behind.

aaahhhh…it’s going to be a nice year for consoles.

From Gaming-Age Forum; I omitted the spoilers all together:

Author: Kitsune

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.

-Dark Kitsune

Yep, both yesterday. And Yu-Gi-Oh which is getting praise for it’s strategy/card angle. Xenosaga next week. Everblue 2 next week too. .hack just came out which I am still interested in. What to do?

At least .hack//INFECTION is pretty short. I beat it in about 12 hours of play… just in time to jump into Dark Cloud 2. :-)

This game is great fun! The battle system is very well designed, very reminiscent of a few other RPG games I have spent time with in the past(Very tactical in its use of ability points to essentially govern whatever actions you can or cannot do in each turn). The ability to set various types of traps and/or bait to distract or gain an advantage in enemy encounters is a surprisingly fresh twist, and the combo system works quite well after a bit of rough practice. (I doubt anyone whom visits a board such as this would have much trouble getting accustomed to the various ‘systems’, but it still would have been nice had Capcom crafted an expansive tutorial tucked into the game menus ala the beautifully crafted one in Dark Cloud 2)

Truly a lot of imagination went into the creation of this game and Capcom needn’t really have bothered utilizing the Breath of Fire franchise to help solidify a userbase, but much like the development team for Chrono Cross, I have the utmost repsect for them to branch out with such a novel twist despite the possibly of tarnishing the expectations of a large portion of the fanbase. I’m not sure how the whole will pan out, but early in I am quite impressed.

Dark Cloud 2 also has really put a smile on my face. I had decent fun with the first title, despite a few nagging problems. This sequel just oozes with improvement. Sure the usual features(synthesizing weapons, georama mode) were broadened or expanded upon for the better, but it’s really the new features that shine through here.

Some of my favorite new additions are medal hunting in the dungeon floors(rewards for accomplishing specific goals when facing each and every dungeon environment beyond the expected treasure hoarding and stat crunching that goes on). Long range attacks to complement the short range melee, the ridepod(a mecha tank that can be retrofitted with unique parts and weaponry earned throughout the quest and is required to taking down certain foes). Oh and cutting down the mostly worthless cast of 6 in the original game to specifically 2 useful yet unique charatcers is a massive show of throughtful improvement.

Oh and both games support the ability to skip cutscenes if you so desire. About time console developers wisen up!

My only real complaint thus far for Breath of Fire involves the camera. Once again we are faced with another 3D engine that refuses to eliminate walls and barriers that block the gamers perception of on screen action directly from view. Considering most of the environments I’ve seen so far are set in claustrophobic underground tunnels, you can expect more than a good deal of camera babysitting than you may tend to like, sometimes resulting in unfair disadvantages when trying to tactically evade or approach foes. Transparency is truly an underrated technical effect.

Dark Cloud hasn’t really given me a headscratcher yet. I mean essentially hunting for invention ideas can be a ridiculous and tedious task, but it’s forward thinking for this genre and presented quite well.