Review by Zylo the wolf
"The end of the classic Phantasy Star series."
During the early 90's, RPGs on consoles weren't half as a popular type of games as they are today. However the era is still considered as the golden age of japanese RPGs, much thanks to Final Fantasy IV-VI, the Mana games, Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire I and II, The Lufia games and so on. What all these have in common is that they were all released on SNES. However there was one series on Sega's own machine that was as good, or even better than most of those games. Three games in that series was released on Sega Mega Drive, and that series was Phantasy Star.
Unlike Phantasy Star III which was about the people who evacuated Parma before it explode and had to find a new planet that they could call home, Phantasy Star IV takes place back at the Algol Solar System. Since the heroes in Phantasy Star II destroyed Mother Brain, the planet Motavia has now the same desert climatic it had in the first Phantasy Star.
In this game the two main characters are the famous hunter Alys, and her younger sidekick Chaz, they got a job from the principal of the Piata Academy. Their job is to investigate why there are bio monsters in the basement of the academy. Our two heroes finds out that a man named Zio is behind it while they feel that they have no reason to bother about Zio they will during the adventure find out more and more about him and soon they just have to defeat him.
Something that bothered many while they played the two first Phantasy Star games were that it was easy to get lost in the dungeons. However just like in Phantasy Star III, that problem is fixed here. Many other complained that the battle system in Phantasy Star III was a much more simple and boring than in Phantasy Star II. In this game, it's much more like Phantasy Star II, the enemies are much better animated and you once again see pictures of the characters in your party.
However to avoid that the battle system would just be a better version of the previous ones, Sega introduced a new type of special attacks. It's called skills, and instead of taking MP you can use them a number of times. The higher level a character are, the more times he or she can use that skill. It's also possible to make combo attacks.
Another thing that has been improved from the other games in the series is the story. Now the heroes have a reason to go were they go, you will find out why each member wants to join your party and such things. The game also has many beautiful cut-scenes which should give a Animefan or Mangafan an extra little bonus, since unlike Phantasy Star 3 were everything tried to look realisticit now looks more like an anime.
Those who played the previous games in the series will notice that Sega has included a lot of things that flirts with the previous games in the series. For example it's once again possible to ride cool vehicles that are needed to reach places which would be impossible to reach by foot. Another thing is that a villain from one of the previous games returns to once again cause problem for Algol. However that doesn't mean that it's hard for anyone who hasn't played the previous games to enjoy this game.
This game does however have two small flaws. The first flaw is a classic flaw that are included in many RPGs. Since the game only allows five characters to be in a battle, almost all of your companions will at one point leave you and most of them doesn't return until the final battle, however there are two character that will never leave your team once they join you (and to flirt with Phantasy Star 3, it's one healer who use claws as weapon, and the other is a cyborg which huge guns). The other flaw is that there's one small place in the game where you have no idea were to go and the new places you can go to during that time is many which you have never been to. While you will sooner or later find the place, it just feels like the game developers couldn't figure out a good way at that time to make the story to go on.
All in all, Sega has made one of the best RPGs that has ever been made. It has some really challenging places where you have to have a strategy to win a battle, and sometimes the only way to have a chance to get progress in the game is to level up your characters a few levels. This game could be compared to Snes's Chrono Trigger in excellence, the final journey in the Algol Solar System couldn't have been much better.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 02/20/07
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