With the summer comes a lack of time spent wondering how to spend it whilst sitting in a college computer lab inbetween classes, and thus, I'm gonna cut my rants back to just Mondays for the season. Yes, yes, I'm sure you're all devastated.
Anyways. I've always been a big fan of the Breath of Fire series--bigger than the good-but-not-fantastic series might warrent, even. One thing I've heard from a lot of people who've played some/most/all of the series, though, is that BoF3 is the low point of it. This is simply just not true. (Spoilers ahead, like, of the whole game).
Now, I can understand where this comes from. People I've encountered largely criticize it as seeming pointless, a long adventure without any satisfying aim or conclusion. The reason for this is that Breath of Fire 3 isn't your standard, shallow save-the-world deal. It's not a typical world-spanning quest ending with a climactic showdown with whatever mentally-imbalanced villain with unspeakably destructive powers is threatening the planet/universe for reasons one can only describe as "stupid." In fact, the conclusion of the game has your actions putting the planet's people in more jeopardy than ever, because you choose to kill the goddess who holds a slowly spreading, all-engulfing desert at bay, giving it no obstacle to continue its expansion into the last untouched continent of the planet, where almost all of the world's civilzation is gathered.
The problem is that people don't approach the game with an open mind. They go into the game expecting what they do from almost all RPGs--an eventual happy ending with the world safe and sound and evil banished forever, with several aspects of human nature and interaction having been examined along the way. Well, with Breath of Fire 3, the philosophy IS the plot. The whole quest is just a series of events and characters that all build up to the moment at the end when you confront the goddess who watches over the world, protecting it from the danger of the desert, but stinting its growth and freedom. This moment, in which the main character Ryu must choose whether or not he'll submit to the goddess and allow her to keep coddling the world's people and restricting their advancement, or trust in the determination and strength of the world's people and strike her down to free them to live life as it should be lived--with freedom and choice, even if having those important qualities brings danger, is the defining point of the game, everything it's built up to. It's not MEANT to be a climactic battle showing that Good will overcome Evil. What it's meant to be is a moment showing that despite the dangers and hardships that come with it, people need to have their freedom to live as they wish to, without a parental entity holding them back to protect them from the harsh realities of the world. It's an excellent and thought-provoking message of hope, freedom, and individualism all wrapped into one, but it nonetheless does mean an ending of uncertainty rather than happy security, and that's just not what most people expect from a video game. It's certainly not an inferior method, but if you can't appreciate this original twist on RPG story-telling, then the game will, indeed, seem as empty and disappointing as its detractors claim.