Switch Retro Spotlight: Phantasy Star IV thumbnail

Switch Retro Spotlight: Phantasy Star IV

An underrated 16-bit RPG

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Switch Retro Spotlight on 📺

When it comes to Sega Genesis RPGs, Phantasy Star IV reigns supreme so let's take a look at what makes it such a timeless classic.

Phantasy Star IV is a classic Sega Genesis game that's available with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription. 🎮

Phantasy Star IV screenshot 1
That's what I tell myself most days

Before we get started, let me just say that I grew up playing Super Nintendo and didn't get into Genesis games until about 5 years later. In fact, I'm still catching up on the Genesis library so a big thank you goes out to a couple of chums for suggesting that I play Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium back in 2019. As soon as I started playing it, it quickly got its hooks in me and I'm still surprised that it's not as celebrated of an RPG as many of its SNES contemporaries. 😊 v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

One aspect that I enjoy about Phantasy Star IV is just how intuitive it is to play even though it presents a rather open-ended world. Whereas many RPGs of the time can be confusing at parts, simply entering the menu and choosing to talk amongst your party members will inform you exactly where to go next and working your way to each town and dungeon is always a treat as you never know what to expect at your destination. Whether you end up at a town where everyone was turned to stone or a dungeon that features some impressively fruitful treasure chests with a rewarding boss at the end; you're bound to relish every moment. ✨

Phantasy Star IV gameplay video →

Speaking of talking to your party, Phantasy Star IV is bursting with personality and a strong sense of humour and it's always fun to watch everyone interact, especially via the comic-style story scenes. Meanwhile, the graphics are pixel-perfect complete with anime character art, charming sprites, and dastardly monsters to slay and the music is always fitting whether you're exploring or battling. 🎵

Now that I mention battles, combat in Phantasy Star IV is very similar to Dragon Quest with its simple approach and the fact that you see the enemies in a row in front of your party. What goes above and beyond is that you can set various attack patterns then have your whole party execute one by the tap of a button. You can get quite clever with setting these up or simply choose whatever commands you want if you'd like to keep things traditional. This sort of flexibility combines with satisfying character progression complete with unique abilities to make for one rewarding RPG formula so if you're like me and missed out on it back in the day, definitely check it out. 😄

Phantasy Star IV screenshot 2
Did someone call an exterminator?

It's great that an underappreciated RPG as fantastic as Phantasy Star IV is available for Nintendo Switch. The fact that it's portable and you can create save states whenever makes it an even more worthwhile game; I can't recommend it enough! 🤩

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