Departure from the norm, but not all bad.
Let me start by saying that I hate cell shading with all my passion. That aside, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, is not all that bad with it, and after a few hours you don't really even notice it anymore. For those who have played the previous BoF games, brace yourselves. This is not very much of anything like them, and may turn you off for that reason. However, as a game in its own right, Dragon Quarter really does shine. The story, though convoluted, is actually quite moving, and actually gets deeper upon subsequent play-throughs due to the SOL system, which periodically adds actual story content to the game, showing previously unknown scenes. The battle system, while confusing and annoying at first, soon becomes second nature and reveals a clever tactical angle on battles. The underground world, while uncharacteristically dark and somewhat Kafkaesque, is very well handled, and leads the player to identify with the desire of the characters to escape their world and see the sky for the first time. While the greatest downside to the game, in my opinion, is its very short length of gameplay, the SOL system provides a very creative and profitable method of getting great (and even tactical) replay value out of the game. Overall, if you like RPGs, I'd suggest giving Dragon Quarter a shot, but since it's so different from standard fare, you may want to rent or borrow it before buying it.
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