Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

released on Dec 17, 1993
by Sega

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

released on Dec 17, 1993
by Sega

You are Chaz Ashely, a rookie Hunter straight out of training who is supported by Alys Brangwin – a crafty veteran whose good looks and prowess with the blade have earned her an awesome reputation. The two Hunters along with a cast of supporting characters will go beyond Motavia to unwittingly save their entire solar system.


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RPG

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Finally finished Phantasy Star IV! All in all I thought the story wrapped up the series well so that was good.
Other positives were the graphics and some really nice areas close to the end. Minus the last dungeon, were they trying to deliberately give players epilepsy??
The battle system was nice too and I enjoyed some of the more powerful spells and skills.
There was also some things I absolutely didn’t enjoy which really lowered my score on this game. While intro song is a solid 10/10 and I could listen to it all day (it really gets me pumped for the adventure), a lot of the other songs were so unbearable to my ears I had to turn off sound, put on a podcast and play that way. That also means it had less impact as I was less immersed in those parts.
The selling and buying was cumbersome and it didn’t help that the shop music made me extremely stressed and wanting to get out. Again I had to turn of sound.
All in all those things definitely put a damper on the experience, but I also see why the game is well loved.

I most enjoyed the manga-panel style of cutscenes that would happen from time to time. Nice art.
The characters are fun although they weren't particularly fleshed out and one of the interesting pupil-student relationships gets killed off early on, replaced by a bunch of characters who barely say anything or vanish pretty quickly. Too many twists are followed by more twists that it starts to become predictable, and the dungeon design also gets repetitive. Some of the boss fights can be tricky although I rarely felt like I was using any interesting strategy besides carefully managing my healing. Some great music though, was fun to hear how it got remixed into some Phantasy Star Online music (e.g. the VR areas in PSO Episode 2)

I was certainly excited to get around to this one, especially given how much of a cliffhanger Phantasy Star II left me on, with Phantasy Star III choosing not to elaborate on that at all. Unfortunately, I don't think Phantasy Star IV does much to bring me the satisfaction I oh-so desired. Phantasy Star IV is a tough game to talk about because there are aspects of it which I love, but they combine with aspects which infuriate me, and the culmination is something I struggle to really have any strong feelings about on the whole.
The story is probably the biggest success here. I feel the first three games had wildly experimental ways of delivering their tales, which was cool in it's own way, but kept them from feeling complete. I mean, hell, the aforementioned Phantasy Star II ends at the climax of it's plot. Characters, as well, were all pretty standard, without any qualities beyond some basic characteristics. Phantasy Star IV is such a wild improvement here, as everything from the cast cohesion to the presentation within the cutscenes feels far removed from the amateurish feel the prior entries had. The writing is obviously not on par with the standards of today, but this is some bold and layered storytelling for a 1993 Sega Genesis game.
Actually playing through Phantasy Star IV is where the trouble arises. For the most part it's solid, however, the further you get into the game, the more some of the cracks start to show. The encounter rate doesn't feel consistent, which can lead to battles occurring far too frequently. This is especially troubling in some of the later dungeons which are exhaustingly long and complex. The Macro system is helpful for this, but so many of the best abilities have an extremely limited amount of uses without resting, whether that be because of MP cost or an actual number of times you're able to use something. Boss fights probably wouldn't be appropriately balanced if these were made easier to use, but it really takes a lot out of the fun I could have with random battles to be so limited. The Macro system also allows you to set up combo abilities, which is awesome, but not implemented in the best way. Whether or not your inputs trigger the combo attack seems to be random, so they can't really be used strategically, and from what I could tell, there isn't anything in-game to tell you what combos you can actually create. I could have just missed something though?
I think what really dug at me the most was the late-game difficulty spike. Towards the end of the game, you start operating with a party of four after having operated with a party of five for many hours. The game feels like it's still been balanced around having five members, as I was constantly running out of skills and MP to use to get through these battles. Worse was that Rune's HP had not grown with the rest of the party, so he kept getting one-shot until I put two shields on him to help him survive at least one hit (This didn't always prevent a one-shot death still). That the game insisted you operate in this fashion for so long, aside from one dungeon where you get a weak-ass party member who you don't even keep for that dungeon's boss, made me fucking tired. Like, not mad or upset, just exhausted from all the micromanaging I was forced to do. I get this appeal to an extent, but it killed the pacing of an otherwise great experience. The silver lining is that once I did get the option for a fifth character, I could pick Raja, who is overpowered as fuck. Maybe it was all worth it in the end. 3/6

This definitely the best rpg on the Genesis. The graphics are crisp, excellent character design, the music is great, and the story is interesting. You start as an apprentice hunter who takes a job helping a local scientist. From there, the story opens up into an adventure that spans three planets. All your jrpg tropes are here, so not much in terms of originality but the charm this game exhumes covers that. The characters are so likeable, the challenge is fair, and the world is enthralling. The encounter rate can be overkill but it’s an old rpg, so keep that in mind. The combat system is fun. If you have characters lined up in a certain way and you do certain attacks or magic you’ll create a super attack. All in all, this game is worth your time and is one of my favorites.

This piece of art was responsible for giving birth to my immense love of RPGs and JRPGS.
This game is so fckn good, i love it so, SO much.