Sunday, May 31, 2009

Classic Gaming Shelf : Phantasy Star II

Back in the early 90's, the last-gen video game console i asked my parents to have was the Super Nintendo. Although i consider myself a SNES fanboy, it 's undeniable that Sega done some awesome work with Genesis. Now with Wii's Virtual console, i'm taking the time to play the classics i always was curious about but never managed to play back at the time of their respective releases.

My previous system was a Master System II and one of the best games i've ever played in life was Phantasy Star. My history with PS is a funny one for another post, but now i'll comment my impressions on its successor.
The game mechanics are very similar to PS1. The most noticeable differences are 3rd person perspective in battles (you actually see the characers striking the enemies) and the lack of first person dungeon navigation(this style could have been explored more).

The gameplay starts out fine at first, but gets boring over time because of playability issues:

  • Lots of random battles, moving between cities is a test for patience since the pace speed of the characters in the world map is way too slow with battles popping out of every couple of steps.
  • Dungeons are big, hard to navigate and memorize (the spaces are hard to distinguish). For a regular player its virtually impossible to explore them without a map, and even with the map it's hard to locate yourself in it. It explains a lot why the cartridge had a "110-page hint book included"(as written on the cover).
I'm saying this because i've gone through ~4 dungeons till now (just finished the Bio Systems Lab) and each dungeon (in average) can steal you around a couple of hours easily(not counting the ultra-boring powering up needed to cross them without being annihilated).

IMHO, Phantasy Star 1 had a more balanced gameplay. Of course, it had its load of ultra complex dungeons (like Baya Malay/Medusa Towers) and leveling up moments, but at acceptable doses. It seems that Sega in PS2, instead of enhancing the fine balance of these ingredients, decided to overdose them.

But apart the game mechanics issues , i see it as a landmarker game in the time it was released (1989-1990). The universe surrounding the Algol system is amazingly interesting and full of untold secrets.
I surely bet that PS2 was an everlasting gobstopper for a kid with a full summer vacation to play games.

My curiosity concerning what happened after Lassic's fall was the main motivator for getting this game on Virtual console, but i don't think i'll have the time and patience to finish it now. I wonder if these gameplay issues were improved on the Sega Ages remake. I wanna play it once i learn some japanese :)

Ps : I think i'm getting old


Anonymous Luiz Viana said...

Esse eu tenho pro Mega Drive japonês hein! :D

21/8/09 6:22 PM  
Blogger Gustavo Barrancos said...

É nessas horas que eu queria saber japones! A versão Sega Ages do PS2 parece ser muito boa, mas tá em nihongo e sem espectativas de lançar em inglês =S

21/8/09 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Andrei Formiga said...

Phantasy Star 2 é completamente brutal e insano. Os 4 primeiros dungeons não são nada perto do que vem depois. Dungeons enormes e de mapa bem complicado com milhões de lutas.

Dos 4 "clássicos", o 2 foi o único que eu não terminei de verdade. Na época do Mega Drive era um amigo meu que tinha, e eu vi as partes mais importantes do jogo com ele, mas não joguei. Depois eu joguei no emulador (no PC), mas não aguentei e saí hackeando a memória do jogo para subir uns mil níveis de uma vez. Aí ficou fácil :)

17/9/10 4:10 PM  

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