Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 06/07/2003


Capcom once again presents to us another installment to the beloved Breath of Fire series with Dragon Quarter. But this game is much different than its older counterparts. When you first play the game, you’ll think that the creators woke up one morning in “PMS” mode. Dragon Quarter‘s game has a much darker look. The story starts off with two friends, Ryu and Bosch, on a mission to guard some cargo being transferred by train. The two friends get separated when the female warrior attacks the train with a rocket launcher and it drops down into darkness with Ryu on it. Not knowing where to go and what to do next, Ryu runs into a mysterious girl (Nina) that is being held captive by a genic (the evil monsters in this game) He volunteers to save her and teaches the monster a lesson. What happens next? Well, play the game and see for yourself!

Screen Shot
“Let’s kick some butt!”

From BoF I TO IV, capcom has used the traditional RPG style in this series. But now in Dragon Quarter, the developers of this game decided to go another path. Dragon Quarter uses a RPG method similar to such games like Evolution, in that the main hero is put into a 3D world with the setup mainly being like a dungeon runner. But this game is not like your typical runner. It is loaded with a lot of new gameplay mechanics. All the genics are on screen and when you slice, kick, or shoot at them first you get the first turn in battle. The battles in this game mimic games like Parasite Eve. The camera is placed in an overhead view and everyone looks smaller. Here is a list of the new things implemented into the game:

[APS] Active Points System:

In Dragon Quarter this is the core of the battle system. Master this and you’ll be unstoppable. In battle you have a specific amount of AP, and this determines what moves you can do and how much times you can do it, even how far you can walk. As you plan a strategy of attack the AP drains until it reaches zero off of every command you take. All the players have three sets of moves that vary in strength and take up 10, 20, or 30 AP depending on attack chosen. When you chain together certain attacks you can implement combos that do extra damage or status effects. Learning to master that can make you really damage the bad guys.

[PETS] Positive Encounter & Tactics System:

Not a lot to explain here. But it is a very important part of the game. This is your radar system on the map. The white glowing zone around you can locate if there is genics close to you.

Screen Shot
From the opening movie

[SOL] Scenario Overlay System:

This system boosts the replay value through the roof. At certain points of the game during cinematic’s the word “SOL” flashs. This indicates that there is another hidden cinematic scene happening at that same point. The only way to access this is by going into the options menu and picking “give up” then you can do a SOL restart and play from your last save point to unlock the new cinematic cut scene. Another way to do it is to pass the game and then restart the whole game with a SOL start and watch the new cinematic’s unfold. This system makes the player learn more about Dragon Quarter in detail but can be a very tedious process.


What’s this mean you say? Well when Ryu begins his quest he has a D-Ratio of 1/8192. This is looked at as a status. Kind of like a class system in skill. People look at this as how skilled you are depending on how high you’re D-Ratio is. In Dragon Quarter every time you pass the game your D-Ratio rises and this gives you access to different parts of the areas you explore giving you a different feel each time through.


This is a timer that Ryu gets for his dragon form. The sad news about Dragon Quarter is the fact that Ryu has only one dragon form…how silly is that? Also every time you transform into this dragon identity your D-Counter raises which is a bad thing, not a good thing. Even though the process is pretty slow, when the counter reaches to one hundred percent you lose. There is also no way of slowing down or stopping this process meaning you have to rush threw the game at an considerable pace or else. Ryu’s dragon form is unstoppable but it raises the D-Counter every time you use it so the game actually makes you not want to use his powers for fear of making Ryu completely insane, and losing.

Sceen Shot
You see! Now he’s mad!

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has some nice visuals. The opening CG anime cut-scene is very cool looking and opens the game with a bang. But in the graphics department that’s the only part that really shines. The game itself is really dark. So the worlds don’t really explode with excitement and color because of the settings of the game and where it takes place. Since you’re in an underground world with no sunlight, there’s not too much to expect for bright and detailed landscapes. The characters in dragon quarter are Cell-shaded and have nice outfits but because of the darkness in the game it doesn’t shine too well. The music in this game however matches the environments quite well and serves as a great background tune. It helps out in setting the mood for the game really well.

Dragon Quarter is an RPG you should certainly check out. It brings out a welcome change to the BoF series, with innovative features and loads of replay value! If you know Japanese check out this official Japanese site. Unfortunately I don’t but the pics there are very cool.

-Q Jets

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Very Good
Story Very Good
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Good
Replay Value Excellent
The Verdict: 8