Saturday, August 28, 2010

Phantasy Star II (1989, Sega, Genesis)

I'm not really a big fan of RPG games. I seldom play them due to their tendency to require you to grind for hours and hours. Yeah, not fun. Anyway, that's not to say that I don't enjoy an "epic" quest once in a while. A few weeks ago, I purchased a compilation for my PS3 called Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. I may cover it in a later post. There are several RPG games on the collection, one of which being my favorite RPG: Phantasy Star IV. But I'm not here to review that game. I'm actually reviewing another game in the Phantasy Star series, one I actually never played before: Phantasy Star II.

In 1989, Phantasy Star II was released shortly after the console launched in the U.S, and was toted as being a video game so advanced, that not even a computer could run it.

The plot of the game is simple, seeing that this is a early RPG. You are Rolf, a agent in the town of Paseo (?)
who has to fix a sentient overlord called Mother Brain (Yes, Mother Brain.). The story is a little deeper than that, but I really haven't gotten far enough to see any details (more on that later.)

The graphics are decently good for the time. Nice colors and detailed anime-like character portraits are the name of the game here, along with creepy looking monsters and bosses. Music seems to get the job done trying to convey the whole "futuristic Sci-fi" setting of the game. I really had some confusion with the whole theme, being a futuristic RPG with weapons like swords and steel bars. Yes, I am aware that there are more modern weapons in this game, such as guns, but the point stays the same.

The gameplay is standard RPG fair, overworld and dungeon exploring with turn-based random battles.
The battle screen is always the same: a blue laser grid-type background with your characters facing forward towards whatever monster your fighting. This is underwhelming compared to PSIV's changing backgrounds, but that game came out in 1994, so I guess it isn't anything I can complain about.

But if you are new to this kind of game, I suggest you stay away. Because PSII's dungeons are excruciatingly difficult. The overworld gameplay isn't too difficult if you are used to RPGs, but the game's dungeon areas will put even the most skilled RPG players in the fetal position. But don't be too scared, a little grinding action will get you through to the game's supposedly awesome ending, although I don't really know because I haven't beaten it just yet.

In general, for a early Genesis title, the game is quite good. Not up to PSIV's standards to be sure, but still a awesome RPG all the same. The brutal nature of the game's dungeons and the need of excessive level grinding is a negative for me, but it isn't a bad way to kill a few weeks.


+ Colorful graphics.
+ Decent in-game tunes.
+ Tried-and-true classic RPG style.


- Tiresome battle background graphics.
- Controller-throwingily difficult dungeons.

Overall: ***7.8 out of 10***

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