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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, '10, 6:38 am 
I thought I'd try to analyse the Phantasy Star series again, all 4 games, without offending anyone's preferences.
Well last time i wrote about this I summed up what a lot of people like me would feel about the PStar series. That the series didn't really start until the 4th game, where it became an interactive comic book that played itself. Call it laziness if you want, but it is true that all the PStar game had an element of making a choice then sitting and watching your choice play out.

The first 3 games can be grouped together I feel, because they all have a focus on detailed exploration of landscapes and dungeons and managing characters statistics and equipment. Those parts are the meat of each of the games, so if you don't like that you're not likely to enjoy the games much.

The good graphics and music in each game arn't likely to be a sole basis for playing the games.

No doubt about it, PStars 1,2 & 3 were hard work to play. Besides the music and graphics which ranged from good to excellent in all 3 games, what made me want to plough on through them? Wanting to complete the games out of respect toward PStar 4 is a good reason, but I think all three games have a kind of potential and potency about them. Though they are hard work and the hard work is not always rewarded with a detailed and fulfilling storyline, there is something subtle in each game that encourages me to keep progressing. In PStar 1-3 and I think in many role-playing games, computer-based or paper-based, you have to make your own rewards and reasons for playing the games. For example you have to take the characters in the games more seriously than they appear and take pride when you manage them well in battle and when you acquire more money and possesions. Otherwise the games are very routine, monotonous, cold and calculating. But I think PStars 1-3 do have some incentives for that are built into the games rather than one you have to come up with yourself. The graphics and music of course and the more subtle elements. For example I always liked how PStar 1 had 3 planets, one forest, one desert and one ice. That idea encompassed the whole game. In PStar 2 I liked the interaction with the Commander on Mota who was trying to make sense of what was going on in Algo and I liked the whole scientific feel that the game had, with Dark Force only playing a small part. In PStar 3 one of the main incentives in the game, I think, was the process of discovering more and more spheres in the giant spaceship that is your world and also learning to use the airports, wharfs and teleport-temples to get around the spheres quicker.

One thing I would love to do, or see someone else do, is put all the games in a blender and come up with something that pleased everybody. Vast dungeons and landscapes to explore and hundreds of statistic to keep track of, but for every one, a good bit of story to ease the burden for those who struggle with such things.

Last edited by AndrewZealand on Mon Aug 30, '10, 2:12 am, edited 4 times in total.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, '10, 11:56 pm 
That blender idea is an interesting one. In a way, that's the role PSIV was created to fill. It was a mixture of elements of 1, 2, and 3. That's why we have Rune, Rika, and Wren. They were all meant to represent those games.

It's true that the early games were focused more on gameplay than story, but I think that's partly an issue of the game technology available at the time. Each game pushed the limits of storage space and game design farther than their contemporary games on Sega's systems. Sometimes, they had to cut out parts of the games to fit the schedule Sega would allow for development. That happened to PSIII.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, '10, 12:18 am 
If you own the Sega Genesis Collection for Ps2/xbox/Whatever and listen to one of the interviews..

There is interesting one on PS 3. Kazunari Tsukamoto claims that they couldn't do what they really wanted with PS 3 because there wasn't enough space on the cart.

It's a great interview.

What does Hugues have to say about the storage capacity of PS 3? Was there any room left on the cart?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, '10, 4:20 pm 
Rick wrote:There is interesting one on PS 3. Kazunari Tsukamoto claims that they couldn't do what they really wanted with PS 3 because there wasn't enough space on the cart.

It's a great interview.

Err, he doesn't say that. He says that it was difficult working with the data storage limitations of that time period, and that today's mediums allow for a lot more, but he never says they didn't do what they wanted because of space.

What I found most interesting is that he himself categorized the game as a Gaiden as opposed to trying to justify it as a main entry in the series. That's a bit telling to me.


PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, '10, 6:12 pm 
Starting at 1:26 he says:

"For example, with Phantasy Star 3, the story split into multiple endings, it was difficult to squeeze them all into the small storage capacity at the time."

That is what made me draw my conclusion. It sounds to me like they could have done more but were limited. You might be right Corey.

It reminds me of a interview about Phantasy Star 1 I saw on the PSDB where someone said Naka would have then cut down images to get as much as they could in Phantasy Star. The ending scene at the end, with the 4 heroes was possible because the others left just enough space for that one image. That image was for Naka.

Was it Rieko who said that?

I wish I could find that interview.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, '10, 6:37 pm 
Rick wrote:What does Hugues have to say about the storage capacity of PS 3? Was there any room left on the cart?

There's a bunch of unused space in the cart so I have to agree with Corey's interpretation of the statement.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, '10, 7:09 pm 
Ah interesting. My interpretation was wrong.

Maybe the person being interviewed is getting senile or mixing things up. Maybe he was remembering how they had to constrain images for the original game.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, '10, 10:37 pm 
Rick wrote:Ah interesting. My interpretation was wrong.

Maybe the person being interviewed is getting senile or mixing things up. Maybe he was remembering how they had to constrain images for the original game.

Or, possibly, it's best to just take his statement as literal instead of deriving subtext from it. He said it was difficult working with the storage constraints of that time period (which, any game developer who witnessed the progression from cartridge to optical disc media would most likely agree with). It doesn't mean they had to alter their original plans necessarily, nor does it mean he's mixing up the projects he worked on.

Keep in mind that cartridges, if you didn't already know, were notoriously expensive. Phantasy Star IV, for example, was $100 when it first came out because it was on a 24 meg cartridge. I'm sure the desire to keep a game on a certain size cartridge, for want of an acceptable price tag that wouldn't inhibit sales figures, was a big consideration in development.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, '10, 12:14 am 
I also got that he loved Mieu.

Why does everyone love Mieu?

Is it cause she's a healer and useful? I think he said that.. But.. What is the charm of Mieu?

If she lived in Tokyo and had animal ears, would she be a Tokyo Mieu Mieu? LOL I wonder..

((If you don't get the joke, some people pronounce MIEU as MEW.. That is a show... So the pun))

Last edited by Rick on Mon Aug 30, '10, 12:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, '10, 8:55 am 
To go on further with my idea of blending all the games together....

Something I believe in with video games is that, if a game has satifactory graphics then there's no need to add more detail just because you can.

To compare PStar 1 with PStar 4......I believe PStar 1 still has very nice graphics and the more I study PStar 4's graphics, the more I feel some of the detail is just dead weight. PStar 1 could, of course, stand to go a bit faster and PStar 2's battle scenes, which show the backs of your fighting party, plus their attacks on the opponents, added a lot to the excitement to the battles and I would like to see that animation added to PStar 1, showing Alis, Myau, Lutz and Odin in action when you do battle.

PStars 1, 2 & 3 did not show a lot of detail for the opponent's attack against your party. PStar 2's detail was reasonable I think. And PStar 1's was adequate, but if I remember right, some of PStar 3's opponent detail was as little as having them wiggle their finger or flap their wings and have that constitute as an attack. Some slight improvements to PStar 2's level of opponent detail to get it closer to PStar 4's would be a nice touch.

I think most would aggree that the absense of background landscape during PStar 2's battle scenes isn't something you'd keep if you didn't have to. Anyone disaggree? Anyone like the sci-fi looking grid floor and black background? Anyway, just having landscapes not much more detailed than PStar 1's would do the job I'd say. PStar 4's battle landscapes probably had a lot of excess detail.

Believe it or not, I liked it that in PStar 2, you'd go through the front door to a house and right away enter the dialogue screen with whoever is in the house. It's perfectly adequate having it like that and having the ability to walk around the inside of each house as in PStar 3 & 4 doesn't always add anything special.

Now as for the comic strip, story scenes in PStar 4.....they're the real driving force behind that game. Anyone who likes manga comics can appreciate PStar 4. For me, the exploration and battling were just interludes between each stage of the comic book story. Which would explain exactly how PStar 3 would be so disappointing to people had grown to love the format of PStars 1-3 and also to those who either didn't like comic strips in games or had particularly refined taste in comic books and found PStar 4's story lacking depth.

In my opinion, PStar 4, as the only real interactive comic book I've played is a brilliant example of an interactive comic book. I think the interaction you have with the story,might make up for what it would lack if it was just presented as an ordinary comic book. But anyway, as it relates to PStars 1-3, so as not to make all the battle seem like interludes between episodes of a comic, I guess the comic strips should be limited, but enough to give people a sense of purpose, knowing what the characters of their party are thinking and a sense of connectedness with them so that players will be inspired to fight harder and explore harder and wonder what new turn of events will befall the characters in the next comic strip.

I guess one last thing.....the dungeon format. I know a lot of people prefer the 3D-dungeons. I'd like that, provided the dungeons wern't too overlong and that there wasn't too much mapping to be done. Or at least that the maps be provided as with PStar 2.

Last edited by AndrewZealand on Mon Aug 30, '10, 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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