First off, this game is nothing like any RPG out there. The plot of the game, the style, the replay, and the fighting are all unique (or were upon release) and the designers deserve huge credit for this game's creation.
Secondly, I understand the critisism of this game because it should not have been given a Breath of Fire title, it will probably drive away many people from trusting another game with the BoF title.
Enough justifying, on to the review:
The game is very short the first time you play it through, and many doors are barred and areas and items are not obtainable. They do this by initially assigning you an initial potential of 1024, meaning that only doors with a rank of 1024 or higher can be accessed. This means that on replay you can access more and more areas, learning more about the story and gaining new weapons and fighting new enemies.
The story revolves around a futuristic world that is completely underground because the world above has been sealed in. The underground is brutally regimented and people are ruled by a military force that will stop at nothing to maintain power.
A young girl is found early in the game that is dying because of the pollution of the underworld, so the hero sets out to bring her up to the highest levels of the underground and hopefully to the world outside. You are given a limted ammount of time or perhaps energy to make it to the outside before your group succumbs to the pollution.
Many reviews critisize that "going dragon" too often will mean that you succumb to the pollution too easily and that you have to restart the game. I found this method of conservation to be very interesting, because it meant that you really had to decide if it was worth it to go dragon in order to survive a fight.
The game is so cheap now that not picking it up is a huge mistake.