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SummaryMakes me glad I stayed away from RPGs until the mid-'90s
The GoodSo the first Phantasy Star I played was Phantasy Star IV(in 1997) and it's probably still the best game ever in my book. Since I went back playing the previous three PStars, I've up till now been loathe to admit my true feelings for PStar II. The best thing I can really say is that clearly it led to PStar IV. It's graphically very similar and of course its story is referenced by PStar IV, though I'm happy to say, parts of it are ignored. I think the most flattering way I can described this game is, it's an unfinished practice run of some PStar RPG ideas.
The BadWell I've decided that a lot of pre-'90s RPGs aren't really worth playing and probably weren't worth playing back then either. So PStar II came at the end of the '80s and I suppose it's better than other '80s RPGs I've played e.g Ultima, but it's still awful as far as I'm concerned. It's a horrible bore to play. The story is so thin and stupid even taking into consideration translation problems e.g the idea that the Mother Brain just appeared in Algo one day and it's origins, which you discover in the end. I did find that it's possible to move through the game without too much "grinding" or retreating from dungeons to recover, but Dark Force at the end is an utterly disgusting battle concept and I almost quit the game, even being so close to the end. The whole "being corrupted by its evil" and then relying on chance for the Nei sword to purge the evil. The battle was almost unbearable.
The Bottom LineIf you play PStar IV first and love it, you'll want to check out the previous games, but I think PStar II will be a huge disappointment. PStar IV was a complete change of focus i.e the game actually had a story, one of the best and I think the game makers actually wanted the players to move through game/story fairly smoothly and enjoy it. I think for the time, it was the best introduction to RPGs you could ask for and I was lucky enough to be introduced to RPGs by it, but sadly the game is not very representative of the PStar series or necessarily of RPGs of the time, in general.
If you're someone who still likes playing '80s RPGs, well whatever, you might like PStar II. For all I know the game isn't torturous ENOUGH.