Review of Phantasy Star II
|Mega Drive||JP||March 21, 1989|
|Mega Drive||UK||November 30, 1990|
|Game Boy Advance||US||November 24, 2002|
|Game Boy Advance||EU||March 7, 2003|
|Wii Virtual Console||JP||January 29, 2008|
|Wii Virtual Console||US||February 18, 2008|
|Wii Virtual Console||EU||February 15, 2008|
|Xbox 360||JP||June 10, 2008|
|Xbox 360||US||June 10, 2008|
|Xbox 360||EU||June 10, 2008|
|iOS||JP||August 27, 2010|
|iOS||US||August 26, 2010|
|iOS||EU||August 27, 2010|
|Steam||US||May 2, 2012|
|Steam||EU||May 2, 2012|
|Android & iOS||JP||June 21, 2017|
|Android & iOS||US||June 21, 2017|
|Android & iOS||EU||June 21, 2017|
|PS4 & Xbox One||US, EU||May 29, 2018|
|Nintendo Switch||EU||December 6, 2018|
|Nintendo Switch||US||December 7, 2018|
Phantasy Star II is an RPG developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. It was released in Japan in 1989, and in North America and Europe in 1990. It was one of the first RPGs for the young Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. Phantasy Star 1 left such a good impression on RPG fans that many purchased the Genesis/Mega Drive just so they can play this sequel. Many were disappointed when they found out that the famous 3D dungeons from part 1 weren't included. Phantasy Star II made some bold moves - it was the first RPG to kill off a main character (midway into the game). The only other RPG I've known to do this was Final Fantasy 7 with Aeris. And I hope these two games remain the only ones! It broke my heart to lose them.
Phantasy Star II was later ported to a variety of different platforms. An updated remake, Phantasy Star Generation 2, was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005 in Japan. Phantasy Star II was the first video game to use a 6 mega-bit cartridge, making it the biggest video game on a console at the time.
Being a beloved Sega classic, Phantasy Star II was blessed with lots of re-releases. Sega included it every time they released a Sega Classics collection. It was also released on the Wii Virtual Console, Xbox 360, iOS, Android (Japan only), and Steam. In 2002, it was released for the Game Boy Advance as a part of the Phantasy Star Collection.
For reasons unknown in May 2015, Sega pulled down the iOS version of Phantasy Star II from North America and Europe not long after its release. Two years later in June 2017, Sega brought Phantasy Star II back to iOS and finally to Android.
Gameplay is similar to the original Phantasy Star. Its battle system is turn-based, allowing the player to choose commands for their party of up to four characters. Each of the eight characters has a different set of preferred weapons and armor, as well as techniques, suited to the character's job. The player must defeat enemies in the overworld and in dungeons to advance in the game.
The game abandoned the first-person view that the first game used for dungeons and battles. Instead, Phantasy Star II uses the traditional RPG standard of a top-down perspective for exploration and a third-person view in battles.
One thousand years have passed since Alis and her friends liberated Algo from the evil Lassic (in Phantasy Star 1). Algo has since prospered under the care of a giant computer called the Mother Brain. It regulates the climatrol tower, the bio-systems lab, and all other things that provide whatever the people in Mota need. Mother Brain has begun to malfunction, and the main character, Rolf, must determine why. He sets off with his companion Nei, a humanoid with cat-like features, to investigate. He is later accompanied by six others with each different, but same purpose.
As someone who has played many RPGs, I would say that Phantasy Star II survived the test of time to remain a unique game. It's just so well made. It was ahead of its time in every way. It offered fully animated enemies, something RPGs at the time didn't have. It fleshed out a deep sci-fi story. Keep in mind that, in North America, Phantasy Star II was released just two months after Final Fantasy on the NES! So during the entire era of 8-bit RPGs, the Genesis/Mega Drive already had the 'future' of RPGs.
Phantasy Star II is famous for its insanely difficult dungeons! Really, it's what the game is remembered for. When people talk about Phantasy Star II, they bring up the difficult dungeons. It's what sets Phantasy Star II apart from every other classic RPG. These dungeons are long and tedious. The game is almost impossible to beat without looking up dungeon maps.
I purchased Phantasy Star II used through mail order from Funcoland in '97 or '98. I remember it was really difficult for me. After the first dungeon I said “Screw it!” and printed out maps from The Phantasy Star Homepage fansite. I remember what I enjoyed most was Rolf's awesome arsenal of techniques. I never beat the game. I'm pretty sure I got up to the Guaron Dungeon, then lost interest. I finally got around to beating the game way late in November '07. I think 'strangely entertaining' best describes Phantasy Star II.