Tales of Phantasia is one of the most beloved entries in Bandai Namco's classic RPG series. However, its recent iOS port is not being met with much enthusiasm. Why? It's been aggressively converted into an abusive free-to-play experience.
The game requires a constant online connection as a result of its money-sapping ways. You won't be able to save your progress in this single-player RPG without having a data connection. And even worse, the iOS game removes many of the original's save points--in order to encourage you to purchase a $2 microtransaction that lets you revive your character.
"Namco has done everything in its power to make you want to, with no regard whatsoever to the considerable effect on the game's enjoyability," Touch Arcade writes in their one-star review. "In previous versions of the game, Tales of Phantasia had multiple difficulty settings, which mostly manifested in the form of enemies with higher stats. In the iOS version, you have no choice, you are locked into a custom setting that sits somewhere between Hard and Mania from the other versions. This makes the fights last a lot longer and makes the enemies far more deadly, especially bosses. If that's not enough, they've outright deactivated many of the game's save points, especially those located near bosses."
Without the ability to save regularly, you'll be more tempted to pay $2 for the resurrection microtransaction, should you fall in battle. And given the increased difficulty, that's going to happen more often than you'd like.
The game's economy has also been tinkered with, with the price of every item in the game doubled. That means you'll either have to grind significantly more, or pay for boosters with real money, in order to get the same inventory you would in the original. It's not surprising where Namco's intentions lie here.
It's sad to see such a beloved RPG classic get ruined by modern monetization schemes. Unfortunately for most, the iOS port is the easiest way to get your hands on a localized version of the game.