Review by Mr. RPG

"Dedicated to the 17 hours I spent looking for the ultra rare negro Slime"

When this game first came out in stores I was very hesitant to buy it because I had heard legends spoken of the games lengthy quest taking 100 + hours to beat. It wasn’t until little over a month ago I finally decided to pick the game up because I was in desperate need of a new RPG to play. But I never expected that I would actually end up beating it.

Gameplay:10 I felt the gameplay of this game was very similar to that of the original Phantasy Star for the Master System, minus the dungeons being in a first person view though.
In fact I could almost say that it is a greatly advanced version of Phantasy Star. It was the battle system mostly that reminded me of PS. Because like in PS you fight battles in a first person perspective and when you attack a group you are not able to designate which enemy in that group you attack, which is exactly the same as in PS. Except that this time if you attack a group the characters are a bit more intelligent because instead of just attacking any enemy at random like they did in PS, they will almost always go after the enemy that is the weakest.

What you are doing for most of game is finding lost shards, and with these lost shards you are able to travel to lands in the past that no longer exist in the present. Your job when in those lands is to prevent whatever it is that caused it to no longer exist in the present time from happening. In most of the lands that you save the people are usually very grateful for you saving their land, praising and thanking you for your efforts. I’ve always loved it when things like this happen in games because it makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.
The only thing that really bugs me about it, is that in most places in the game nobody in the present will know who you are because what you did happened so long ago.

My favorite thing about this game was probably the class system. It will take awhile before you are able to get to Dharma Temple, the place where you change classes. It took me like 30 hours before I was finally able to change classes and I was very impatient to do so, because I love it when you get lots of ways to customize your characters.
The class system works like this: You pick a class and each class has 8 levels to it. Your class level goes up by fighting a certain amount of battles, but if you are fighting enemies that are too weak for you, it will not count for it.
When you gain a class level you will usually learn either a spell or a skill. When you switch over to another class you will keep all of the skills that you have learned from any previous classes, so even a weakling like a Mage can still have some kick ass physical attacks to back up their spell casting.
You originally start out with only 10 classes to choose from, but there are quite few more. Some you earn by mastering multiple classes, while others you get by finding monster hearts
A lot of the time I got in my game is from mastering classes in hopes of earning new ones.
My personal favorites classes are Godhand and Pirate.

And aside from the main quest, there a decent amount of things you can do on the side. You can find Medals for the Medal King and get some very spiffy equipment in the process.
Or you could visit a Casino and blow all of your gold in not time flat^_^ If you want to make anything in the Casinos stick to Poker. You usually wont win too big, but if you win you can keep doubling it up if you manage to keep guessing cards right. I once earned 6400 coins from doubling up from just 10.
There’s also a Monster Park that you can gather monsters for and find blueprints to add extensions to it. While I don’t think there are any really benefits for this, I spent a lot of time doing it.
Lastly there is a town that you will find early on in game. And when you visit towns you can find people there and tell them about it and they’ll go and live there. The more people you find, the bigger the town will get.

Remember to keep in mind that this game is monstrous in length. I had well over 130 hours when I finally beat it, and that was in a period of 4 weeks.

Story:9 You start out in the village of Fishbel a small fishing village in the kingdom of Estard, which happens to be the only piece of land left in a vast ocean.
You, the hero are a son of Borkano, a well known fisherman.
When you and your friends Kiefer and Maribel stumble upon an Ancient Ruin you accidentally get sent back in time to a land unknown to you.
Upon your return from this land you discover that this land is now in the present time as well.
Once you realize what is happening you will continue to journey to the past lands and bring them back.
A lot of the places that you visit and the events that happened were really cool.
Some of my personal favorites are: The Sunken Continent, and the Kingdom of Mardra. But in my opinion the coolest place in the game is when you are at Dharma Temple in the past.

Graphics:8 All of the reviews I’ve read for this game in gaming magazines always say the games graphics are ugly. And I will have to disagree with that. While I agree that any game made by Square does probably does have better graphics, I still think that they look nice.
The enemies are nicely detailed and they all have several different animations for when they attack.

Sound:8 I liked most of the music in this game, but I just felt that there were not enough different tunes in the game. As for sound effects, many of them are the same as they have been in all the DW games, like the sound it makes when you attack or the well known level up tune.

Difficulty:8 This game can be hard or easy depending on what classes you choose to gives your characters and whether or not you will want to take the time to master classes and earn money to buy new equipment, because if you don’t take any time to earn cash, you will never have enough for new equipment, unlike in most recent games where you almost always have enough to buy the newest equipment in the game.

Replay Value:7 As long as this game is you will probably not want to play through it more than once, if you even beat it. But for me, despite the length I still feel like playing through it again because, I don’t know why, but this game just had some kind of magic that kept me playing it. One reason I can think to play through it again, is to try out different classes that you didn’t before. Because I didn’t get most of the monster classes.

Rent or Buy: If you plan to play through this game, then you had better buy it, because it would be impossible to beat on a 5 day rental. If you’re unsure about it, then rent it. Otherwise, you should buy it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/27/02, Updated 03/16/04

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