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Formations are battle formations used in the game when fighting monsters. Formations can be changed in the middle of a battle in Breath of Fire and Breath of Fire II via the battle menu. In Breath of Fire III and IV, however, the player must select the formation before entering a battle, as it is impossible to change the formation during the battle. Therefore, special boss fights allow to choose the party and battle formation before starting the battle.

Breath of Fire II Edit

In Breath of Fire II the player has four formations to choose from: normal, scramble, defense, and parallel. Each has a modifier to damage dealt and damage received. Damage dealt by magic is not affected by formation modifiers in any way. The changes are only uneven if its a negative modifier (ex: -1 bonus = 95% Damage Dealt and 90% Damage Received) all positive modifiers are even (ex: +1 bonus = 120% Damage Dealt and 120% Damage Received). Formation modifiers and availability is determined by how many members are in the active party. Formations can be changed when a new party is selected, through the menu or holding down the left bumper during battle.

Character Classifications Edit

Each character in Breath of Fire II can be classified into one of three categories: Attacker, Magician, and Hybrid.

  • Attackers are characters who mainly deal physical damage and excel in either strength or stamina.
  • Magicians are characters who can cast a wide variety of spells and excel in AP and wisdom.
  • Hybrids are characters who have a more balanced set of attributes, not excessively powerful or weak in any particular area. Their true potential lies in their abilities (either field or battle) and alternate forms that they gain through shaman uniting.
ATTACKERS Edit
  1. Ryu is a very balanced character in most respects and could arguably fit into the hybrid category, but his higher strength and stamina toward the end of the game, and the fact that his dragon spells consume all of his AP while doing a percentage of damage based on the percentage of his max AP consumed, nudges him into the attacker category for me. Outside of his dragon spells, he learns TimeWarp, which alternates between night and day, Cure 1, Cure 2, and Smoke, which reduces the chance of random encounters. His Guts ability allows him to recover HP with increasing effectiveness with at higher % missing health. Ryu is completely incapable of uniting with shamans. On the field, Ryu is able to utilize rods and bait in fishing spots.
  2. Rand is a very HP and stamina heavy character, capable of taking a good deal of punishment on the front line of your party before going down. He doesn't have very high AP, but he does learn potent healing magic and two attack spells, as well. His Wake ability is an attack on an ally that only does 1 damage, and is meant to wake up sleeping characters, just as the name implies. On the field, Rand is able to break crumbling walls by rolling into them, but only in his basic form.
  3. Katt is the textbook definition of a glass cannon. Her strength and agility are incredible, and she has a high luck as well, so she can critically strike fairly often, but her defense is low and her HP isn't great, either. She learns some of the stronger attack spells in the game very early on, but her laughably low AP guarantees that you won't be able to use them for quite some time. Her Dare ability taunts enemies and inclines them to physically attack her, which may seem odd, but her high agility and luck give her pretty decent evasion and counter-attack rates. In her Demon Katt form, this ability is replaced with Keep, which causes her to charge for one turn, then attack her target with between 200% to 300% attack power, breaking the attack cap. On the field, Katt is able to attack enemies with her staff in the hunting grounds, and she is also able to break boulders, but only in her basic form.
MAGICIANS Edit
  1. Nina has an abundance of AP and wisdom, as well as a vast array of attack and negative status inflicting spells to choose from, but she has very low defense and HP. She is also capable of restoring her own AP using her Will ability. In her Angel form, this ability is replaced with Banish, which causes all enemies to flee. On the field, Nina has the ability the party around the map after a certain point in the story.
  2. Bleu, like Nina, has an abundance of AP and wisdom and potent attack magic, but is stronger and more durable than Nina physically. Her shed ability also allows her to completely restore her HP for free. Bleu is completely incapable of uniting with shamans. Bleu is also unable to learn the spell Angel, which destroys all undead enemies when cast. On the field, Bleu can nuke all creatures on screen in the hunting grounds with her magic, turning them into charcoal.
HYBRIDS Edit
  1. Bow is well rounded in most aspects, and is able to use the strongest healing magic in the game. When he uses his Shot ability, he either does 1 damage to his target or instantly kills it. The success rate of this ability changes depending on the enemy it is used on. This ability naturally has no effect on bosses. When he is in his Robot Cannon Dog form (yes, it exists, and yes, it is as funny as you think it will be), this ability is replaced with Spry, which damages all enemies at 100% attack power. On the field, Bow can fire projectiles at prey in the hunting grounds. The projectiles are faster and fly further in his Robot Cannon Dog form.
  2. Sten is a frail but agile and decently powerful fighter who can cast a variety of fire and wind spells. When he is not alone in the party, his Rip ability will cause him to feign death, reducing his chances of being hit while still making a physical attack on his turn. If he is the only available target when he uses this ability, he will still be attacked and take increased damage. In his Fire Djinn form, this ability is replaced by Sweh, which changes the enemies faced in a random encounter to different ones. On the field, Sten can extend his arms between two poles across a short gap to cross it, but only in his basic form.
  3. Jean is, well, Jean. He has decent strength and stamina and a very unique variety of spells to choose from. His special ability, Jab, allows him to attack all enemies at reduced power. His true power lies in his Frog Prince form (which I have dubbed as such to play off of that joke even more), which increases his stats and replaces Jab with the Chop ability, which instantly kills all enemies after a turn of charging with a fairly reliable success rate. This ability naturally has no effect on bosses. On the field, Jean can turn into a giant frog that can swim in ponds and moves two steps at a time.
  4. Spar is able to cause chaos among the enemy ranks while providing beneficial effects to their allies, since his spells consist mainly of power enhancement, power reducing, and status inflicting spells. Spar is able to cast healing spells and harness the power of ice magic, as well. Spar's Ntre can create a variety of different effects based on the area it is used in, but it only works in areas of nature. Spar is especially unique in the sense that they have three different forms they can take through shaman uniting: a mushroom sprite Magician with the Spor ability (puts all enemies to sleep, has a chance to backfire), a plant bud Attacker with the Bud ability (charges for one turn then attacks at double power for the next four turns), and a Hybrid flying serpent with high agility which retains the Ntre ability. On the field, Spar has no active ability, but can instead walk through forest areas as if it were normal terrain.

Normal Edit

Normal is the standard default formation. It can be selected with either one, two, three, or all four characters are in the party. The bonus given is dependent on how many are in the players party as well.  With all four members this formation brings down the damage dealt by the members by a chunk the farther down the line they are, but offers a substantial amount of damage reduction in exchange.

  • In a party of three, the first position should be filled by either Ryu or Rand, and the last position should be filled by the character with the lowest HP or defense.
  • In a full party, a party consisting of two attackers and either Nina and Bleu or a hybrid and a magician.
One Member: Normal
Party Bonus Percent
Leader 0 100%

Two Members: Normal
Party Bonus Percent
Leader 0 100%
2nd 0 100%

Three Members: Normal
Party Bonus Percent
Leader +1 120%
2nd -1 95/90%
3rd -1 95/90%

Four Members: Normal
Party Bonus Percent
Leader +2 130%
2nd -1 95/90%
3rd -2 90/85%
4th -4 75/70%

ScrambleEdit

Scramble becomes available after obtaining a second party member. It is a very physically offensive formation when there are three or four members in the party while being more balanced in a party of two.

  • In a party of two, the second position is better filled by a hybrid or magician.
  • In a party of three, a group consisting of Ryu and either Rand and Katt or one attacker and one hybrid or magician is recommended.
  • In a full party, a group consisting of Ryu, Rand, Katt, and one hybrid is recommended. Using a magician in this formation isn't recommended because it still leaves them very vulnerable to physical attack.
Two Members: Scramble
Party Bonus Percent
Leader +2 130%
2nd -2 90/85%

Three Members: Scramble
Party Bonus Percent
Leader +2 130%
2nd +2 130%
3rd -2 90/85%

Four Members: Scramble
Party Bonus Percent
Leader +1 120%
2nd +1 120%
3rd 0 100%
4th -1

95/90%

DefenseEdit

The defense formation is only available when the player obtains four party members, and is solely for reducing the physical damage dealt to your team. This formation is best when used for a temporary change during combat to give you some breathing room while you heal up as well as for grinding experience to power level weaker characters.

This formation can also be exceedingly useful for a Boss Fight, but the requirements are very specific.

  • Position 1: Ryu or Katt
  • Position 2: Ryu, Nina, Sten, Spar, or Bleu for Attack and/or Support Magic. Nina isn't ideal because of the chance she'll be targeted by enemies in this position. If Ryu is in this position, rotate between using his dragon power and having him restore his own AP with WiseBLs.
  • Position 3: Bow, Rand, or Spar for Healing Magic. Rand isn't ideal because of his low AP and lack of protection and attribute enhancing spells. If Ryu is in position 2 and needs more AP than the WiseBL provides, supplement him with a WFruit as long as nobody needs healing. (This shouldn't be needed until about level 67.)
  • Position 4: Nina or Bleu for Potent Attack Magic.

Katt is the absolute worst choice for this formation unless you put her in position one and have Ryu in position 2, rotating between using his dragon spells and restoring his AP. Jean should not be considered for this formation at all if you intend to use it in a boss fight. If you use him against tough/hard hitting enemies or for the purpose of leveling up in this formation, it's best to either have him spam cast Ag Up/Pwr Down and Death/Angel or just defend, unless he is in his Frog Prince form with Chop available.)

Four Members: Defense
Party Bonus Percent
Leader 0 100%
2nd -3 83/80%
3rd -3 83/80%
4th -4 75/70%

ParallelEdit

The parallel formation becomes available to when the player obtains a party of four members. The formation is very balanced between offensive and defensive modifiers, and as such is very well suited to a team composition consisting of either two attackers, one hybrid, and a mage, two attackers and two hybrids, or Ryu and three hybrids.

Four Members
Party Bonus Percent
Leader +1 120%
2nd 0 100%
3rd -2 90/85%
4th -3 83/80%

Breath of Fire IIIEdit

In Breath of Fire III the player starts with three normal formations and can obtain up to three more via the master system. The formation can be changed in the "Tactics"-screen of the main menu, where the player can set the desired formation and the battle position of the party members. The character they're controlling while out of combat does not determine the positions when entering battle, the order will always be the one they've chosen on the formation screen. When their party has only one member the player obviously cannot select any formation. In this cases the "Normal" formation will always be active.

NormalEdit

The most basic formation with no special effects at all. It doesn't enhance your stats, but it also doesn't hinder any stats either. Unless you are really worried about your stats getting decreased you should always use any other than the normal formation.

  • obtained from: beginning of the game
  • effects: none
  • probability of being attacked:
    • Position 1: 33%
    • Position 2: 33%
    • Position 3: 33%

AttackEdit

With this formation the front member of your party gets more physical attack power, but also receives more damage. Useful if you have a member with high physical attack power, like Garr, Rei (early in the game) or Ryu (later in the game).

  • obtained from: beginning of the game
  • effects:
    • Power: +70% (position 1)
    • Defense: -20% (position 1)
  • probability of being attacked:
    • Position 1: 50%
    • Position 2: 25%
    • Position 3: 25%

DefenseEdit

This formation grants all party members a defense boost, but also slows them down. Works best in parts of the game, where all members already are slow (like when you start the game). This formation is counterproductive when going against magicians, because magic ignores defense and the formation slows you down, resulting most likely in not getting EX-turns.

  • obtained from: beginning of the game
  • effects:
    • Defense: +25% (whole party)
    • Agility: -33% (whole party)
  • probability of being attacked:
    • Position 1: 33%
    • Position 2: 33%
    • Position 3: 33%

MagicEdit

A formation designed for spellcasters like Nina or Momo. The mage will be protected from most damage because only 1/5 of all attacks target him/her and the spells are far more effective due to the increased intelligence. This formation should not be used with more than 1 mage since the other party members have reduced intelligence.

  • obtained from: Wynn
  • effects:
    • Intelligence: +50% (position 3)
    • Intelligence: -25% (positions 1 + 2)
  • probability of being attacked:
    • Position 1: 40%
    • Position 2: 40%
    • Position 3: 20%

RefugeEdit

This formation is not very different from the normal formation as it has no stat changes and the recovery rate of 1HP/round is negligible in the parts of the game where you can use this formation. The only other difference is the attack distribution, which makes the point member take the majority of the attacks.

  • obtained from: Lee
  • effects: +1 HP/round (whole party)
  • probability of being attacked:
    • Position 1: 50%
    • Position 2: 25%
    • Position 3: 25%

ChainEdit

The chain formation has a very unique way to provide the agility-stat benefit: the characters on positions 2 and 3 have the same agility as the front member. This formation is designed to be led by members with very high agility (read: Rei). But all your party members potentially having ludicrous speed takes a high price: your shredded defense (cut in half), which makes you take huge damage from physical attacks. If the Enemy gets a chance to attack, that is.

  • obtained from: Bais
  • effects:
    • Agility: same agility as position 1 (positions 2 + 3)
    • Defense: -50% (whole party)
  • probability of being attacked:
    • Position 1: 50%
    • Position 2: 30%
    • Position 3: 20%

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