Phantasy Star IV
Is this game as easy as they say?
Back in the day Phantasy Star was like Jesus to me. It was the greatest game of all time. I worshiped it. PS2 then became the most highly anticipated game of my life, and when I finally got it, it lived up to my expectations and more. PS2 was epic and had a hardcore challenge that I loved. Then PS3 came out and I was massively disappointed at how easy the game was.
By the time PS4 came out I had lost interest in the series somewhat and had moved on to the SNES and the Final Fantasy games. Now, many years later, I'm getting back into the Genesis and playing all the games I missed out on back in the day, and PS4 has been at the top of my list of games to play, not only because it used to be my favorite series, but also because I've been wanting to play a challenging old-school RPG again. But now, having done some research on the game, I've been hearing how easy it is and it worries me. Is it true that it's really easy? Should I even bother with it? Or should I just play through PS2 again?
Modern video games are for losers.
Phantasy Star 4 does everything Phantasy Stars 1 and 2 did right, in a shinier package with an excellent story that builds on the stories of 1 and 2. Do not judge it on your experience with Phantasy Star 3; that was done by a different team, and only loosely alluded to in 4 in an optional sidequest. If you loved 1 and 2, you'll extra double love 4.
Difficulty-wise, it's middle-of-the-road to easy, although definitely not a cakewalk. You can make it harder by not going out of your way to level up, or easier by leveling up and collecting optional weapons and armor via sidequests.
Lots of people I know find this game really hard actually. I never found it that hard but it all depends how well you use what tools are at your disposal and if you power level at all.
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I still die sometimes, but then again it's pretty much always after I've done something stupid.
I'd say this game's difficulty is a little higher than FF6 and 7, maybe about the same as FF4. I wouldn't say it's hard.
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This game is as easy or difficult as you want to make it really. If you just play through the game without grinding for levels or exploring the optional areas, it will be pretty hard. If you take your time and try to get everything, there will still be a challenge but it won't be brutal. The only area that pretty much everyone agrees is really difficult and may require some grinding is a dungon about 2/3s of the way through the game.
"Never give up. Trust your instincts"- James McCloud
Well, I decided to try it out for myself and played a few minutes of it on an emulator last night, and I have to say, so far I'm disappointed. All I played was the first dungeon, the basement of the University, or whatever it was, though, and I'm sure the difficulty picks up some later on, but I just get the feeling it's not going to pick up enough for my liking.
Now I understand this is just the very beginning of the game and all, but to me it's probably a sign of things to come. The first two PS games didn't hold your hand like this one does, and that's what I loved about them. The first two games played almost like survival horror games, in that they gave you limited resources and you have to manage those resources well and use strategy to survive. But this PS4, much like most modern RPGs, seems to be more interested in tucking me into bed at night and reading me a bedtime story. I don't want that. I want excitement. I want danger. I want my heart to be pounding and sweat dripping down my face. I want a game that's out to destroy me!
That's what I love about old-school games... they want to beat me and they dare me to fight back with everything I have. But this PS4... I don't think it works that way. I was going to buy the game to add to my collection, but now I think I'll just emulate it.
Modern video games are for losers.
Unless you play a low level game, PS IV is easy for an experienced RPG player. It's not as ridiculously easy as say Suikoden and Wild Arms, but it's definitely easy.
The biggest challenge I faced was making it to the bosses of the dungeons with enough healing items and TP to beat them. Regular enemies can hit pretty hard, so you have to choose between using offensive techs and skills to end a battle quickly, healing any damage you suffer during a battle, or running away every time you get in a random encounter. Relying too much on any one of these three options means you face the bosses at a disadvantage.
My solution? Run through the dungeon once, mapping a route to the boss, killing all the enemies and collecting all the treasure I find, then use Hinas or an Escapipe to escape the dungeon and go straight for the boss after resting at an inn. Yes, it's time-consuming, but it keeps the game reasonably challenging and stops every dungeon crawl from turning into a battle of resource conservation.
"There truly is no dignity in death." -Prince Sandor, Vay
Thing is, PSIV was one of the first RPGs to really break that conservation mentality, something I've always praised the game for. Skills really go a long way in giving you options, stuff there's no real point in holding on to and that you might as well splurge on random encounters. Additionally, the resident mage Rune is so loaded with TP that I regularly give him two shields and just nuke all-day, every day. If you don't spam the Gra family (and sometimes even if you do), he'll still have plenty of firepower left over for the resident boss. Another thing that helps is a bunch of people getting the healing spells; splitting up the post-battle healing really gives you a lot more leeway on in-combat casting.
It's not the best, sure, not even close. Especially at the start, where your skills are few and your Res's are invaluable. But it's a damn sight better than most RPGs of the era or before, and I loves it.
We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. - Mark Twain
~ The Planeswalker ~ Delusion of Stability
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