YMMV / Phantasy Star IV

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Was Seth merely a guise that Dark Force used to infiltrate your party, or was he the victim of Demonic Possession?
  • Awesome Music: PS1 Dungeon Arrangement 2
  • Even Better Sequel: The first two games of the tetralogy were important as some of the earliest examples of JRPGs, however, they also have a lot of grinding, punishing difficulty and are quite light on story, making them difficult to get into. PSIII was rushed and became a Contested Sequel for multiple reasons. This game features much more story and character interaction, a lighter difficulty curve and faster pacing, such that it is still cited by many as one of the best JRPGs ever.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Rika. Helps that's she's an Expy of (or was actually supposed to be) another darkhorse of the series.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The message of Re-Faze: Anger and hatred are not evil. They're natural human emotions and can be channeled toward good ends.
  • Game Breaker: Raja is a rare healer version of this. Despite having almost no offensive abilities, his healing is so good that he can make the last dungeon and final boss trivial if you bring him along, since he can effortlessly keep the party's HP maxed out until approximately the heat death of the universe without running low on juice. On top of that, he's the only character with a MP-recovery technique (which he will have a massive number of uses in by the end of the game), which means that even though he doesn't attack himself, he can make your entire team much more dangerous. Finally, his turn-undead style technique, while usually useless, can instakill one particularly nasty undead boss who forgot to bring his Contractual Boss Immunity.
  • Genius Bonus: "Parma" is Latin for "shield". The Profound Darkness can break through because Parma is gone.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • It is possible to glitch the game into getting Alys back into your party toward the end of the game.
    • On Dezolis, if an NPC is trapped in the doorway of a building, the party can't enter; the NPC can't enter the building or walk through the party, so it gets stuck. Talking to one such NPC yields Chaz declaring "This is terrible!" the way he does when interacting with the doorway of a ruined building. It gets funnier if you actually arrange the party to corral the NPC in the doorway.
  • Inferred Holocaust:
    • Ultimately, the fate of Rykros. It's not exactly clear what its inhabitants even are, but since the heroes essentially kill two of the four of them left, it means the other two are going to be alone, together, forever. Re-Faze might be able to murder the hell out of Chaz by himself, but Le Roof is completely non-aggressive, and the two warriors they set forth as the bosses by which Protectors prove their worth were taken out relatively easily. This all would be fine, except their entire planet is swarming with high-level Darkness creatures, and once the Profound Darkness is gone, they have no purpose. They're basically carrying their own Bolivian Army Ending off into the universe.
    • The ending has the environmental control system gradually deteriorating, with Wren and Demi overseeing it "for a little while longer". The natural habitat of Parmanians is long gone, and they're not native to Motavia or Dezolis. More than one fan has explored the ways that eventually will get dark in fanfics.
  • Nausea Fuel: Garuberk Tower is disgusting, even by Womb Level standards. It's hard to imagine without seeing it yourself, but picture this: the tower is organic, apparently alive, and constantly pulsating. Strange green fluids run through clear tubes flowing out of the "floors" and "walls" of the place. The treasure chests are covered in the muck that makes up the place. "Elevators" open by muscular action with a nasty squelching sound, and while it's not shown how they move you from floor to floor, they're shaped roughly like an esophagus, so your mind fills in the details. And all of these things only get more prevalent as you get higher up in the tower. All this from sprite-based 16-bit graphics.
  • Player Punch: Alys' death. This was long before a certain flower girl, and just as shocking to 16-bit players as the later 32-bit generation. It's made particularly heart-wrenching by the fact that you actually took steps to prevent it, including navigating a dungeon that sported a significant difficulty bump and fighting a boss who could be somewhat troublesome if you weren't ready for him. This was done with the expectation dangling in front of your face that you'd cure Alys AND get Rune back, and then the game jerks the rug out from under you and says "Just kidding, you suck." And, as is mentioned below, the way the death is portrayed, the music, and the characters' reactions really twist the knife, far more than Aeris' death did.
    • It's also significant in that Alys's death is by leaps and bounds the more realistic of the two. Aerith dies, but she's shown from the very beginning to have unique spiritual powers and she continues to be able to influence the living long after she's gone, indicating that she didn't really die a human death as much as she was Too Good for This Sinful Earth and so had to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Alys, on the other hand, doesn't have the special snowflake pedigree that Aeris does. When she dies, she's buried in a completely normal grave with an ordinary headstone, and being unable to take comfort in knowing that she's at peace is something that Chaz struggles with until he finally reaches Elsydeon.
  • Tear Jerker: Alys' death. When she is injured by Zio's Black Wave attack shortly before his death, she becomes seriously ill and the characters rush her to a Trauma Inn. It proves ineffective, and after a significant amount of bed-rest Alys' condition deteriorates. She dies in what's perhaps one of the least flashy, most realistic and most sombre RPG deaths ever.