Phantasy Star Offline is a project where my goal is to complete Ver.2 on Dreamcast solo. Read about why here, week one here, week two here, and week three here.
When we last left off, I was EXTREMELY PUMPED about a cool weapon I found called the AGITO, a super rare samurai sword that had me convinced I was going to be able to breeze through the final area of the game.
Yeah, no. Turns out despite its crazy stats, the AGITO was significantly weaker than my current weapon (a Shock Buster, strong against Dark enemies) in the Ruins. I re-equipped my trusty pink lightsaber and headed deeper into the zone, determined to finish my quest.
I made it to the end of Ruins 3, and was met with a foreboding-yet-inspiring message from our girl Red Ring Rico.
So yeah, the stakes were pretty high (though I’m not sure if I really get what that whole last part of the message was about).
I entered the final boss area and- stop me if you’ve heard this one before- it was a lush and serene field.
As I approached the monolith however, the greenery (and somewhat blurry textures) morphed into a horrifying scene of warped faces, seemingly crying out in agony. Following this macabre transformation, the ultimate Phantasy Star evil itself, Dark Falz, appeared. Its forms were menacing and its attacks were devastating (some wiping out nearly half my HP per hit), yet at the end of the day, Dark Falz was kind of a pushover. I didn’t even use the Scape Doll I had packed for the occasion!
I grabbed my victory spoils (all of which were admittedly pretty common/worthless) and headed through the teleporter to see the credits. The credits were pretty cute, starting with a spinning red ring and ending with some delightful scenes from the game world.
So the big question at the end of the day and the end of this project is: “is Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2 worth putting dozens of hours into, playing offline in 2014?” My answer is a resounding “yes!” The game still holds up mechanically- the timing and position-reliant combat takes patience, planning, and skill to master. The character-progression system is deep and nuanced, thanks to the addition of your personal Mag.
The wonderful art design and music work together to create an extremely consistent, unique, and fully-realized world. Sure, it’s limited, but it’s still one that I could spend dozens more hours in, even today. And it appears that there are still three more difficulty levels awaiting me…
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