Despite being a significant improvement over its predecessor, Breath of Fire II is still far from perfect. While the plot is much better this time around, it's hampered by a poor translation and stilted dialogue. Furthermore, character development still isn't very great (barely present for some characters), though a sight better than the "You're fighting the Dark Dragons? So am I!" bilge in the first game. Still, a good deal of the cast is just...there. The graphics and sound are nothing special, the latter often being just plain bad, the pacing is slow, the dungeons long and tedious (requiring too much of the old leveling up) and the random enemy encounters far too frequent. The battle system is engaging enough, but not anything overly amazing, and with no real change from the one in the first game; as before, the best aspect remains Ryu's dragon powers. Another problem is the number of side quests - for instance, saving Jean the frog requires so many pointless, distantly related tasks that the reasons for doing them become hazy. The game starts out with a well constructed story/flashback sequence - such an auspicious start points to a great game that unfortunately never materializes, although there are flashes of inspiration here and there, mostly in the game's second half. (An example would be the Township, which preceded Suikoden by a couple of years.) Yes, there are some pretty damn good ideas being tossed around here, but none are actually developed enough to reach their full potential. Quite a few superior titles have accumulated since this game's release that do just that - hence, no real reason remains to play this game.