adebisistyle's Breath of Death VII (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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I'll Buy That For a Dollar!

BoDVIII is set in a world where war has killed off all the humans and left the planet populated with the undead. The hero is a skeleton named Dem (as in "dem bones," I assume) who doesn't speak, though we do get to hear his thoughts thanks to the narrator, and he is joined by a ghost, a vampire and a zombie on his quest. A quest that starts out with his pushy new ghost companion Sara wanting to explore some ruins and ends up turning into a mission to save the world!

There are references to other games everywhere, which is not as tiresome as you might expect. It's fun to hear the characters or narrator make a joke and immediately think "that's from Castlevania" or see the words "giant sword" and remember every Final Fantasy game ever. The one thing they don't do is running jokes, so once you've seen one reference to a game or movie, you're not likely to see another. This is a good thing, because there's nothing like beating a joke into the ground to ruin a gaming session.

Combat is classic turn-based RPG with HP and MP, but it differs from most in that at the end of every battle your HP is automatically restored and your defeated characters brought back to life. Save points will replenish your MP but they're few and far between, and there are no elixirs or spells to do it for you so you learn quickly that grinding is a gamble unless you're right beside a save point.

One of the things I really loved was that after you've fought a specific number of battles in a certain area, you don't have to fight any more unless you want to. This balances out the usual random encounter frustrations nicely, and I would often stay in the area around a save point and instigate fights so I could get them over with and explore freely. The final boss fight took more planning and strategy than I've had to exert in a while, so it was true to the old genre in that respect.

All in all, I recommend BoDVII if you're looking for a short, amusing game. I put in about 9 or 10 hours and beat it in two days, which was perfect to take care of my Chrono Cross withdrawals. If you're not into random encounters, dungeon crawling, or grinding to level up it may not be the game for you but if you're looking for a SNES-inspired RPG you're probably okay with it.


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