Day 69: Breath of Death VII

Posted: 2011/01/17 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #69, and today’s game is “Breath of Death VII”.

I’ve been waiting for this one. I’ve wanted to pick up Breath of Death VII since I began this project, but it was always well represented in the top-50 list on the dashboard. With the recent flood of quality games, thanks to the Indie Games Winter Uprising as well as some great titles from other developers, BoD slipped out of the top 50 and I jumped at the chance to review it.

What can I say about Breath of Death VII that hasn’t already been said? Universally heralded for its combo-based battle system, its branching leveling-up system, and its innovations surrounding its treatment of random battles, it’s widely considered insanely good value for 80 Microsoft Points ($1 or so, depending on local currency). This game has an awful lot of gameplay for such a low price, a lot of humour, and a lot of video game references that even some casual fans will appreciate. One of the very best deals on the entire Xbox Dashboard.

The game is a parody of Dragon Quest 7 (or so I’m told, I have never played DQ7). While that was a straight-up fantasy game, this game is set in a post-apocalyptic setting befitting the classic Wasteland (a game I played on the Commodore 64 in the ’80s, and that I remember fondly).

I’m now going to turn it over to mayfaire who was good enough to give me a review. As someone who had played some North American/European RPGs (Wasteland, classic Bard’s Tale, Ultima, Morrowind, Oblivion, etc.), but who had never played a Japanese RPG, I was concerned I wouldn’t get the humour, or wouldn’t appreciate all the references, in the game. He was quick to reassure me:

Hmm… Well, not all the in-jokes are JRPG specific (there are quite a lot of just general video game references, including one to Fallout in the opening credits). But, if you’ve never played a JRPG, it’s hard to say. I guess it’s got similarities to old school RPGs like Ultima, but only at its most basic.

It’s quite funny, I think, even without the game references. I found the gameplay actually quite addictive, partly because the battles can be quite short (or at least, you can make them shorter depending on what magic or attacks you use), and the next level up is always reasonably within your grasp.

The battles are menu-based, like many JRPGs (and some of the older Ultima types, if I’m not mistaken). If you don’t mind tapping through menus to grind for XP, or having your exploration interrupted by random battles, then I reckon you’ll enjoy it. Having said that, I found the battles challenging enough to be engaging, but not so difficult that I couldn’t just skip through them quickly if I couldn’t be bothered to think too tactically (or just wanted to level up). You heal fully at the end of each encounter, so fighting near-the-knuckle isn’t quite such a drain, but you don’t regenenerate MP the same way.

For 80 MS points it’s certainly a good introduction to JRPGs, but I would highly recommend playing the trial first. Will you enjoy it? I’d wager you probably will. Just don’t expect the depth of Ultima or Wasteland in a JRPG like this one

If you have any interest in RPGs whatsoever, if you think you might appreciate the humour, or really for any other reason at all, you owe it to yourself to purchase this 80 MSP game.

For a second opinion, check out Kobun’s review of Breath of Death VII.

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