Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter for Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)
Despite the numerous changes the series has undergone since its inception in the 16-bit era, there remains one constant in the Breath of Fire universe: the lead character, Ryu, and his ability to transform into a powerful dragon-like entity. Along with companions Nina and Lin, Ryu makes his way from Deep Earth to the surface, learning of his destiny and the abilities bestowed upon him that seem far beyond what would be deemed worthy by his lowly D-Ratio status.
Combat in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is not random, allowing players to see enemies and thus avoid or engage them at will. The ability to see a foe also presents the player with a host of opportunities that include using weapons such as dynamite to weaken enemies before engaging them in combat, or setting traps and bait to lure them into smaller groups. Initiative can also be gained by striking a foe. Conversely, should the enemy gain the jump on you, it will have the first turn in battle. Ability points (AP) determine what the party can and cannot do in battle, with each action (item usage is exempt), be it movement or fighting, governed by the amount of AP you have available. Characters possess skills and abilities that can be assigned to three of the controller's face buttons. These can be pooled to perform devastating combos. Unlike past games in the series, Ryu is only capable of transforming into a single dragon entity, though there is a particular caveat associated with this power. Use of Ryu's dragon ability increases a "D-Counter." If it exceeds its capacity, Ryu dies and the game is, quite literally, over.
The save system in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is significantly different from many standard RPGs in that players are only allowed to save at specific locations, and only if they have a Save Coin handy. Temporary saves can be created, but these are removed as soon as they're loaded. Players will find that when they die, they're able to restart the game from a distant save point, or from the beginning with much of their experience and inventory intact. Choosing the latter will initiate additional scenes and encounters not experienced on previous play-throughs, which help flesh out the story.