Author Topic: Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later  (Read 1021 times)

Offline Ben

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 249
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later
« on: February 08, 2015, 07:54:23 AM »
**TIP**
This post contains spoilers about a 26 year old game.  You've been warned, I don't think the [SPOILER] tag works on this board. 

I wanted to bring this up because I replayed Phantasy Star II recently, and it made me reflect back on the legacy of this game.  In particular, a lot of things credited to the Final Fantasy series seem to have shown up here first.  The storyline really is what strikes me as outstanding and groundbreaking. I see Final Fantasy VII recognized all the time for the serious storyline that involved protecting the planet and killed off a main character early on.  But, Phantasy Star II had a message about respecting nature and killed Nei off early on, then kept her dead.  It also had an open ended conclusion where the planet was - maybe - saved, but the fate of the main characters was left open.  This was in 1989, mind you, when Nintendo were still policing the content of their games.

The detail of the sprites, soundtrack and complex dungeons (the hardest of any RPG to date I think) also impress me to this day.  I know this board isn't as big on JRPGs as some, but I was curious about what others thought with 26 years between us and the release of this game.  When you compare it to anything else from 1989 it is just mind boggling to see how far ahead of its time it was, I'm pretty sure it's my favorite 16 bit game.

Online zapiy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13067
  • Country: england
  • Karma: 81
    • View Profile
Re: Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 09:31:50 AM »
This is a game I have little knowledge on, in terms gameplay at least.. However I can respect the quality of it from the videos I have watched in my time. 

The level of detail for the time is remarkable, wish I was into these games more as I am sure I am missing out but for some reason I just can't get into them.
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC

Offline Ben

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 249
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 00:55:27 AM »
One other thing I wanted to mention that I only now picked up on, this game has a tremendous amount of nuance.  For instance, Rolf starts as the weakest party member, but by the end is the strongest with both physical attacks and magic (the Neisword and Megid), and the uptick in his power comes (if you aren't cheating by over leveling) right after Nei's death, so he's rising to the occasion.  I have to think that is a first in an RPG.  Another thing is that it punishes you for over leveling early on - Shir is one of the best characters, but you get her at level 1 towards the end of the game, so if you already had everyone else over leveled you have to start over again with her or just not use her.

A few other things I wanted to post:
Here is a great interview with the developers - http://shmuplations.com/phantasystarii/
Many people don't know there was an alternative storyline proposed for this game, that was more tied in with PS I - http://www.pscave.com/other/worldofps/r ... line.shtml

Offline wyldephang

  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 305
  • Karma: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 02:35:26 AM »
Based on your avatar, I can tell you're enthusiastic about the series. The entire Phantasy Star "Algol saga" is interesting to me. It takes place over the span of a thousand years or more and deals with subjects that were (at least in gaming) ahead of its time. I'm not such a fan of the way leveling is handled. I dislike the fact that your later party members join at Level 1, and with not enough HP to survive the dungeons. It seems that you've got to spend a lot of time bringing their level up. That said, I haven't gotten very far in the game. Perhaps it's different later in the story. In Phantasy Star IV, whenever new characters join your party, they're more or less battle ready, so it was easier for me to get into PSIV.

In regard to PSII, I got eight hours into my first playthrough before my save file went bad. I guess it's a testament to how much I enjoyed those eight hours of gameplay that I actually started another playthrough. I should really get around to finishing it. It's one of the hardest RPGs I've played, but it had me hooked.
- Ryan

Offline Ben

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 249
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2015, 02:50:42 AM »
I actually changed my avatar after replaying it, but the Phantasy Star series are my favorite RPGs (although the Lunar games are a close second), so you have me pegged pretty well.  You are right about the leveling (and characters starting at 1), a lot of people are annoyed by it, I think that's something you have to be an old school RPG diehard to appreciate.  It's a way of punishing you for trying to break the game by over leveling, basically.  It's similar to the dungeons; they are incredibly difficult, which I like a lot, but many people are frustrated by.  There is a trick to bringing up someones level, though:  Just leave everyone else at home, and have a party with Rolf (or Eusis if you will) and that character, which gives them double the experience.

My main reason for making the thread is that, in going back and looking at the game, it seems to get short shrift compared to PSIV, but I think that II is probably the most revolutionary (if not graphically impressive) entry in the series.

Offline wyldephang

  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 305
  • Karma: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Assessing Phantasy Star II 1/4 Of A Century Later
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2015, 03:54:12 AM »
You're right, Ben. When I look at PSII, it really does stand out from the rest of the games of its time. So few people seem to recognize this today, but I think that's because the Final Fantasies and Dragon Quests caught up very fast to the standard set by the Phantasy Star series, and the power of the Super Nintendo didn't hurt. The early '90s were incredible years for RPG gaming. I think PSIV was revolutionary too, but in different ways, and perhaps not as noticeable since the RPG world was cast under the shadows of Square and Enix after 1990. One of the things I liked about PSIV was the combo tech abilities. It's an underutilized game mechanic that hasn't seen much use outside of PSIV and Chrono Trigger. I'll have to use your suggestion for leveling up characters in PSII, by the way. It might make the dungeons a bit easier.
- Ryan

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk