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funk_Farmer
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Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:11 am
Location: South Dakota, USA

Phantasy Star 4 - Relevant Story for Modern Day

by funk_Farmer Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:36 am

Being a fan of retro games means lots of games that have been around lots of times. There's plenty of great reviews, many on this very site and by the members of this here forum, that outline gameplay, graphics, music, etc. I do enjoy a good straight forward breakdown of a game but most often my favorite reviews are when personal stories or more theoretical/philosophical jazz is thrown in. So, since there are plenty of great reviews for Phantasy Star 4 as a game, I would like to try my hand at a reviewing it for the thoughts and feelings that it stirred in my mind and soul. Spoilers for the game ahead btw.

There's only a handful of rpgs that I have beaten in my life and, sadly, this is not one of them. By the time I grew old enough and interested enough in rpgs I had a Gamecube. Lot's of great role playing had already passed me by. I managed to squeeze in about 5 good ones from start to finish throughout my high school and bachelor years, all 32 bit generation and above. Now that I'm all growed up and have less time to actually sit down inside the house and play a game it kinda seemed like my rpg days were over. I just relegated myself to simply reading reviews of all the old ones I had missed out on during the 16 bit era. I have an immense love for the Genesis and am always a little bit upset when in conversation the SNES gets all the rpg creds. So I was excited to find out that the Genesis had quite a few hidden gems so to speak in the genre. The Phantasy Star series immediately caught my attention. Outer space, technology, magic, a bird guy, a cat girl like thing, Sega Genesis music, hell yeah. I drooled over it for a while and finally started a playthrough a couple winter's ago, winter is my gaming time, but life got busy. I didn't make it very far but it blew me away. Fast forward to summer, my cousin comes from college to help on the farm, brings me his old PSP, I get Phantasy Star 4 on it. Fast forward to winter, I'm playing Phantasy Star 4 on the go.

First off the main story. In the game the world is controlled by an ancient technology. Everything from the climate to the tectonic plates of the planet are kept stable and livable because of a computer system. A system that had been long forgotten by the people of the world. The knowledge lost throughout generations. They didn't know it was there and they sure as hell didn't know how it worked. Some people had a hunch it was there but they didn't discover it until everything had already started going to crap. This in a way almost parallels our own world. Man has grown out of touch with the forces, natural and technological, that make our planet stable and livable. With the majority of the population living in cities we have begun to forfeit our knowledge and responsibility of balancing nature. The common man's understanding of the technology that powers our world has failed to keep pace with it's advancements. We're just like the people of Motavia, hoping and praying in a world where we should be taking charge of it. It can be fixed, we can do it. Cue the mother licking Hunters!

Next is a part for me personally. The death of Alys. The most capable, mature, well traversed character of the bunch. Seeing her fall ill, fighting for the chance to save her only to have it not turn out that way. Chaz stepping up to the plate, eventually growing into a leader by learning to acknowledge his friends' and his own strengths and weaknesses. A couple years before I started I playing this game, shortly after I moved home to help farm, my father fell ill to cancer and my grandfather had a stroke and went to the nursing home. There was hope for both of them but it didn't turn out that way. I was next in command with my wife and we even picked up a new party member along the way when my son was born, plus rotating a couple good neighbors into the party when we all need to team up. This game kinda helped me a bit psychologically. I was playing it on the PSP usually outside. I would stop during the day for a couple minutes or longer and play it. The winter time is slow so it's alright to waste time. I would sit down alongside the creek after chopping ice and level grind for a bit. That awesome music playing while the cows made their way past me to get a drink. I'd play it at night sitting inside my old Nissan pickup waiting for a cow to calf. Sometimes the screen would get too cold and act up so I'd shut it off and stuff it underneath my coveralls, into my hoodie pocket and let my body heat warm it up while I went for a walk around the pen with my light to check on the cows. Whether it was the nighttime with it's awesome skies or hopefully sunny daytimes with a little warmth, I squeezed in a bit of gaming. When I got to the part with Alys it just kind of brought stuff up in a good way. Carrying on the mission seemed like a righteous thing to do.

Lastly, the frozen planet Dezolis. Creepy stuff here. At the time I was watching Game of Thrones plus it was winter in real life so this part kinda sucked me in. The zombies in the frozen villages, the mystery surrounding it all, it jived perfectly with what was going on in GoT. This plus the whole main story predicting crap hits the fan at The End Of The Millenium and I'd almost call this game a prophecy.

Sadly that's about as a far as I made it in the game. I got off Dezolis and then it's kinda hazy after that. I should load up my old save and power through it. I really owe it to myself to finish this game. It truly is a masterpiece and a shining reason to be a retro gamer. It already means a lot to me personally and I probably have a good 15 hours left of it. On a side note, the bounty missions kinda remind me of real life when some varmints start stirring up trouble with local folk on the prairie and we gotta head out to deal with it. Just like the Hunters in the game, sometimes there's a good reward and sometimes... well frankly, there isn't.
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