SuperDerek continues his 5-part Breath of Fire retrospective by reviewing Breath of Fire 3, one of the best JRPGs on the PlayStation! Did Capcom create a masterpiece with their followup to Breath of Fire 2?
Breath of fire is a game that won my heart years ago. Capcom improved upon the formula a year later with the release of Breath of Fire 2. Three years later, Capcom outdid themselves yet again. But is it a masterpiece?
Capcom released Breath of Fire 3 in 1998 on the Sony PlayStation. In similar fashion to Breath of Fire 2, you don’t need to have played the previous games in the series to understand what’s going on, but in order to pick up on some references to the past, or appreciate cameos from characters from previous titles, it’s recommended, but not likely game-changing.
In Breath of Fire 3, you play as a child named Ryu, the last remnant of The Brood, who were all but wiped out in a great war, 500 years earlier. After a couple of thieving orphans take him in, they find themselves in a heap of trouble. This sends Ryu on a meandering journey that explores the shades of grey between right and wrong, self-actualization, and the search for God. If the Narrative of Breath of fire 2 was a movie, the story of Breath of Fire 3 is a novel — An epic quest that sees our heroes travel through molten volcanos, across wide oceans and vast deserts.
If that sounds a bit lofty for a game, rest assured that Breath of Fire 3 doesn’t take the ham-fisted approach. It’s a nuanced allegory that can either be enjoyed for what it presents to you at face value, or it can be open to interpretation. This game was dedicated to the Dragons. This dedication alone can be interpreted a couple of different ways. My first thought was that it was simply a dedication to the players of their previous games. Then later maybe the victims of oppression. However as the game progressed the dedication seems to shift to people with the will to change the world for the better.