Name: Sega Ages Phantasy Star
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 13.12.2018
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose

Phantasy Star is a game older than me, and since I know Kim will say “that doesn’t take much”, it’s older than Kim as well (take that Kim). 1988 was the year of release, and 30 years later I finally got to play the game. Could a game this old keep up with modern times though?

“The tyrant Lassic rules the cosmos, and it is up to you to defeat his evil reign. Witness the revival of this defining RPG in SEGA AGES Phantasy Star. Take advantage of the new dungeon map display and the acclaimed “Ages Mode” as you traverse tricky dungeon mazes and battle ferocious 8-bit beasts. Phantasy Star has claimed its place as a pioneer RPG and its retro-spirit is sure to find a home in the hearts of old and new fans alike.” – Nintendo.com

The Good

First of all, I was surprised by how much fun this game was. You’d think random battles got tiresome quite quickly, but no. Phantasy Star has made the battle system deep enough to keep it interesting for quite a while. Of course, a game from 1988 doesn’t have the most advanced battles, and you have to enjoy turn based combat, but if you do, Phantasy Star works really well. Phantasy Star also features dungeons to be explored, in 3D (of sorts). And although they are small compared to today’s standard, they were a nice addition to the usual map walking.

And then there’s the nostalgia. Phantasy Star obviously has aged since it’s original release 30 years ago, but it has that nostalgic feeling, even for me who hasn’t played the game before! The story feels like a wine, old but good. I’m honestly not sure what the story is about other than Alis’ objective being avenging her brother that has been killed by King Lassic, since the story points are far apart, but I still like it!

This version also features a “Ages” mode, which lowers the difficulty. The enemies now have less health and grant more experience so your party learns more attacks more quickly. Personally I found this new mode a bit too easy. It must be said that I do enjoy a challenge when playing old games. I do think it’s great that this mode exist though, since it allows new players an easier way to come into these kind of games.

The Bad

Unfortunately, not all is well with Phantasy Star. Firstly, there’s the controls. Although technically not bad, they are very simple and doesn’t take advantage of all the buttons on the Switch controller. For example, your characters can walk around on the map in a set “spreadsheet” system. This means you can only walk along the X or Y axis, and not diagonally.

Another thing I had a (small) issue with was the fact the game only takes up half the screen – or even less to be honest. There’s huge black borders around the map you walk around as well as the sheet of paper in the bottom right corner.

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Overall
7/10
7/10
  • Remake score - 7/10
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Verdict

I am surprised by how well Phantasy Star has kept up with new, more modern games. Obviously, the graphics are not fantastic, but it has a very nostalgic feeling to it. The gameplay with its fights and dungeons are fun too, and it took a long time before I had to take a break from the game. The controls are a bit too simple for my taste, but I also see the need to keep them that way. If you do like these kind of games I can certainly recommend Phantasy Star. Just get ready for lots and lots of random battles.

Pros

  • Surprisingly good gameplay
  • The nostalgia

Cons

  • Why is it only covering half my screen?

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