ron, Apr-18 2008

Jettisoned VC Friday

The string of terrible weather over Europe seems to be subsiding just about now, but, apparently in a stab at rebalancing things, nature always finds other ways to punish humanity. This Friday, the way is the Wii Shop Channel, and the punishment assumes the form of a Virtual Console game.

Phantasy Star III

Another one in Sega's Phantasy Star series of top-down, sci-fi themed RPGs, for the Sega Megadrive. For the sequel, Sega dialed back on the sci-fi and designed a game world that seems medieval and low-tech at first glance, but with advanced space-age technology looming in the background.
The gameplay is as it ever was, i.e. you grind for money until you can buy the best equipment in your current town, and then you proceed using exclusively the "attack" function. The dungeons are now even more full of obscure traps and other design flaws.

For every RPG ever released, there are one or two people on any larger message board who proclaim it is the best game of all time, and a flawless masterpiece in dire need to imitation from other, lowlier series. As this is a Sega game we're talking about here, you should expect five to ten fans of Phantasy Star III wherever you go.
All 2D Phantasy Star games are actually terrible. The combat system makes no sense, using magic makes no sense, the controls and menus are the clunkiest thing to ever appear in any consumer software ever, and worse, there is zero strategy to any situation. 2D Phantasy Star is all just a huge grind full of nothing but "attack" actions and colorful sprites. It is at best an interactive software product resembling a video-game.
If you're somehow charmed by anime sci-fi character sprites, you may find yourself able to tolerate the entire mess of a game that stands in your way to get your fix. I didn't.
Even fans of Sega in general and the Phantasy Star series in particular frequently agree that this third game is clearly the worst one, probably because of how disjointed it feels from the narrative of its predecessors, and some even notice the nigh unplayable dungeons. Normal people should just stay (in a galaxy) far, far away.

Summary: no, never.


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