Review by taelusramza1337

Reviewed: 11/21/02 | Updated: 11/21/02

A true classic, and a worthy culmination of the series, albeit lightly flawed

Phantasy Star IV was my first RPG, along with Shining Force 2. I later played these series' prequels, and after playing the other three Phantasy Stars, I have to say that IV is the best. This is right up with my other favorite RPGs (being FF's, the Chrono series, the Wild Arms series, and Phantasy Star).

Control: 8
Nothing really wrong with it. It's an RPG... only gripe is that the cursor is a little slippy, but nothing that practice and time won't fix.

Music: 9
I loved the music in this game. I first played it way back in 1995, and now it's 2002-- I can still remember any song from the game. Not many games that I've played have done that. Some tracks are better than others, some are generic, but many of them are great.

Sound: 8
Nothing out of the ordinary. Can't really say much about the sound effects, because they never annoyed me, which is all I really worry about when it comes to SE.

Graphics: 10
I've read people who bash the game for palette swapping-- yes, this is a sin, nowadays. I've also read people that say Chaz and Hahn are palette-swapped. I ask these people to play the other 'amazing' RPG, FF6. That game also had palette-swapped monsters, although not as many as the PS series. Chaz and Hahn do not have the same, palette-swapped sprite-- notice the points on Chaz's suit and Hahn's soft, rounded shoulders. Settles it right there-- they are not the same sprite.
Anyway, now that the two obvious issues are out of the way, I must say ''WOW! IT HAS CUTSCENES!'' Now, these aren't Squaresoft CG scenes, but it has one of the more impressive plot devices that I've seen in early RPGs-- important scenes in the game are acted out, comic-book style. Think manga, and you have it. This was a great idea, and really helped the game come alive during important scenes (like the ending). Sprites are well-detailed, and for the most part, battle backgrounds are good, although re-used in some areas. Spell effects are neat, and the animation is pretty good. Overall, the game looks very good, and wouldn't be out of place on the SNES.

Gameplay: 9
I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the insane nostalgia effect, or the fact that this game hooked me on RPGs and, in my opinion, is still one of the best makes it fun. Battles, which are obviously where you spend quite a bit of time, are well-done. Although it gets irritating when you're trying to get through a dungeon and you repeatedly get random encounters (like, every 4 STEPS). That will drive you insane-- however, the battles are pretty fast-paced, and are usually over fairly quickly. You can use techs, which use up TP (MP), attack, defend, use items, or skills. The skill system is a cool idea, and it comes off pretty well. Basically, when you level up, sometimes you'll get techs (which use TP, as I said) and sometimes you'll get a skill. You can use this skill a set number of times, and when you level up, the number increases. Also, if you can figure them out (it's not that hard to do so), you can trigger certain combination attacks with the right combination of spells and skills. Imagine my surprise as a kid, having Hahn cast Wat, Alys cast Foi, and Chaz cast Tsu, and suddenly all three of them come up and blast my enemies with 'Triblaster,' doing a ton of damage and just generally thrilling me. Yay!

Story: 11
It's kind of cliche-- save the universe, but nowadays, everything has been done before, pretty much (unless you count Metal Gear Solid 2 ^ ^). So now, I judge stories based on the efficiency and originality with which they pull them off-- and this game does so in such a fashion that it is still one of my favorite stories ever. It feels so epic, so important, and you are truly happy when your characters are, and upset when they are (especially after a certain event in the upsetting...)

Overall: 9
The game is awesome, plain and simple. It's got flaws, but very few games don't. I don't see how someone couldn't enjoy this game, but then, I guess that's why reviews are personal opinions. My final thought:

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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