Beginning of The End: Review of “Phantasy Star IV: The End of The Millenium”October 15, 2009
In terms of video games, I sometimes feel like I am a very sheltered gamer. Switching to and forth between a Gameboy game, then switching to a SNES Game and then finally switching to a Gameboy Advance game, and the cycle starts again, but I say no more! No more shall I turn to familiar namesakes and boldly go into the unknown and review something entirely different from another system! Which, thanks to the advice of malachitedragon, I have decided to review this game known as “Phantasy IV: The End of The Millenium”*
(*: To some die-hard Phantasy fans, this is known as Phantasy Star: The Apology, due to the third installment being pretty much forgotten about.)
The plot starts off in the year AW 2284( 1,000 years after the events of Phantasy Star II, and further corroborating that the creators of the game knew 3 bombed badly) where you control a young bounty hunter named Chaz Ashley who later becomes, along with his friends, the saviors of the Algol solar system, and is a pretty clear example of the archetypical RPGs that most people are normally acquainted to, mostly the fact of “Young Boy who saves world” and other things like being at the wrong place in the wrong time.
Gameplay is decidedly and strikingly old-school, as it mostly turn-based combat with random encounters while walking around in a top-down overworld, so this brings back old memories of RPGs and the frustration of not being able to take two steps without being beset by roving mutations of monsters. Some rather innovative touches are added to this fourth installment, such as pre-programmable combat strategies, called “Macros”, combination attacks between two characters, and manga-style illustration panels for the major cutscenes and it is also the first game in the series to have really in-depth character interaction and development, so it’s nice to see a change rather than nearly non-descript protagonists.
While the graphics a re little bit toned down when entering a town or walking in the overworld, the animations and the design for the monsters and the characters themselves are very thorough and very smooth. I was honestly surprised by the manga-style panels that happened during some cutscenes, not to mention that the monsters are actually animated and not look like simple cardboard cut-outs like some other RPGs apparently go for, so I was pleasantly surprised.
In terms of music, I could not help but feel that it was either me, the emulator itself, or the game itself that sounded very tinny in some areas, but that slight mishap does not necessarily detract from the overall experience with the music, as it was catchy and memorable. Im sometimes a bit of a stickler when it comes to music (I’m used to hearing actually composed music, not music made with a synthesizer) so this was a nice change of pace.
Overall, it can be clearly shown why a lot of critics have universally applauded this game as being great, both by hardcore fans and newcomers alike, and needless to say, I was won over. It’s very rare for me to actually be won over by an RPG, so this is very surprising for me, and needless to say, a nice start for my love of Genesis games. I really need to download more of these…