Minigames SUCK: A look back at Breath of Fire 3.

Hey look, new post series by me (ooooooohhh).

Tonight I will talk about one of the RPG's I reviewed and loved, Breath of Fire 3. But I will talk about the aspect that ultimately prevented BoFIII from being a really good game in my viewpoint. That would be the minigames.

Why Breath of Fire 3 first? Because a lot of the minigames in it are not optional. You need a certain item or place to go and you must do a minigame to get by. And a number of the minigames I found were quite frustrating.

The very first minigame of BoFIII happens when your party is captured by Bunyan (who is supposed to resemble folktale hero Paul Bunyan). He lets Rei go and keeps your kid characters (Ryu and Teepo) to do some man work. This is a very simple minigame but I had problems doing it. Teepo holds a log, and it tips over. That's when you hit the Triangle button to have Ryu slice it. Too early and you hit Teepo with the sword, and too late is, well too late. There's no rhythm which is why I hated it, plus I failed on my first go. Got 9 the first time, assuming the threshold for passing that game is 10 or something. This first minigame is required if you want to leave Bunyan's home.

Next up, Wyndia's game of Hide & Seek. This one was thankfully easy because they are all in town. Still, you need to do this for info about some of your lost characters, so you can't leave yet until you find them. But after several of your characters age, they do too. And they hide in just about any area of the world this time. Luckily, I found out this wasn't required, as all that you get are a few masters.

The next one isn't really a minigame, but I consider it one. At Rhapala, there's this librarian named Beyd who is competing against strongman Zig for the title of guildmaster. Problem is, Beyd's a total wimp, and the way to train him involves small battle sessions. Having him attack increases his power (up to a certain threshold, unfortunately). Healing him with items or healing spells allows him to gain more experience. To get the guy to defend, you have to damage him a lot so that he's in a defensive post, and hopefully weak attacks do no damage and increase his damage. Maybe this "minigame" isn't so annoying, but it really is time-consuming on my end. I needed the right party members for each session, and needed to balance both sides for as much as 20 turns. If Beyd loses all his HP or my party members lose all their HP, the session ends early. At least if you train him well, he can kick Zig's ass pretty quickly, and in that particular fight of Beyd vs. Zig you can interfere carefully. All this needed to get into the lighthouse

This next one definitely is a minigame. At Steel Beach, you need ship parts for crossing the sea, but also need a warrant for doing so. So putting Garr in your party and talking to the Ox-dude has this minigame. Again, this one involves balance. Garr and the Ox-dude are supposed to team up and pull some ropes to get something out of the beach. The little monkey dude holds up flags and whistles signaling whose turn to pull. You need to pull when it's your turn, or you have to start over. Also, the distance in rope lengths cannot be far apart. Why is this minigame so annoying? Sometimes the little monkey ass makes it one guy's turn to pull for a long time, and then I'm dangerously close to losing the game. And it takes a long time. Frustrating, time-consuming, and your reward for winning is actually a boss fight against the thing you pulled in.

The Shisu sidequest. I don't know why it's even called a sidequest if you have to do it to advance the plot. Four ingredients are required for making shisu, and thankfully only one is in a minigame. But unfortunately it's the most annoying minigame in all of BoFIII. To get vinegar, you need Garr for some rope pulling, and you need to go to the coffee shop well to get it. Tap the X button until you hear a splash, fiddle with the D-pad until the filling up stops. The final part of this minigame involves using the Triangle button to bring it all up, but YOU NEED TO PRESS THE TRIANGLE BUTTON THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIMES AS THE X BUTTON!!! Too little or too much and you lose the vinegar. Reading all about this minigame made me incredibly anxious to try it. I was surprised and very glad that I got it on my first try. Still, I'd rather avoid this game after finishing it once.

On sea, entering the crags means entering an area with changing tides. Without proper boating skills, it's really difficult to get anywhere in the allotted 25 seconds before being swept back. A lot of optional areas, but one is required (the legendary mariner's home).

The last real minigame is the trek across the Desert of Death. You get directions from some guy to help you, but I think they're rubbish, instead following a FAQ. There's three guiding stars, eight cardinal directions and some crazy things to discover. Walking takes place at night, and two things could happen. One is your throat gets dry, so a helping of water is needed to ensure that you don't get the MAX-HP down condition while walking. Thank god water is free at base camp. The other is a random battlefield. This is the most time-consuming minigame for me, and it was even moreso when some optional but totally badass equipment was available in the desert, like Ryu's strongest equipment.

So that's the main required minigames for this game. The fishing aspect still stands, in a new minigame. Although there's not many hints on what to do for it, it actually isn't too tough unless you're catching the big fishies. Of course, getting bait is one thing. There's only one point in the game where fishing is required though. The shisu recipe for that "sidequest" requires mackerel. There's a specific fishing spot to catch easy mackerel. I liked the fishing minigame here better than the one in BoFII, but I'm not a fan of fishing in general.

So there's me ranting about how annoying the minigames of BoFIII were. I didn't consider puzzles in dungeons when doing this, nor did I consider optional minigames or heck, the faerie village, because I only focused on plot-specific minigames. Still, minigame required to advance through a game are annoying as heck.