Great in theory, but…
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom charted new directions for the series, but overall it was a disappointment. It should have been awesome: the “generations” portion of the title refers to the fact that you get to play through multiple generations in a single family, all leading up to the final confrontation with you know who. The game is even setup for multiple plays, as you can choose between two potential wives at the end of each chapter; your choices result in differing children, which you will then control in the next phase of the game.There’s no shortage of characters in this title either, thanks to the need for three different parties with differing companions across three generations. You won’t get the same ending with each child either, so it’s worth it in that sense to go through the title again–the problem is that the first descriptive word I wanted to use rather than “go” was “slog”. That’s not a compliment.
What will at first strike veterans to the series as odd is that Generations of Doom takes place in a medieval, fantasy setting rather than the sci-fi one we’re using to seeing from the series. There are also a lot of continuity issues with the game–it supposedly takes place concurrently with its sequel, Phantasy Star IV, in the English translation of the title–but in the Japanese version, it takes place 1,000 years after IV. Neither of these situations make any sense whatsoever, given the plot and resolution of Phantasy Star IV–there’s a reason you haven’t seen a Phantasy Star V yet, and that’s because IV wrapped up the loose ends and banished them from the universe forever.
Presentation wise, it lost the vibrant colors of its predecessors and also the character portraits that were in II. Both the dungeons and towns look similar to the last one you were in, which makes a somewhat short RPG feel tedious. It’s overall not a bad RPG–it’s a pretty average one, with its problems balanced out by the generation system and battle system–but it’s by far the weakest in a series with three outstanding titles, the best of which we haven’t even covered yet.