• Publisher: Konami
  • Release Date: Jul 9, 2001

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 16
  2. Negative: 7 out of 16
Buy On
  1. Whether you love or hate the game's clichés and shortcomings, Ephemeral Fantasia is nothing more than average when compared with the majority of other RPGs.
  2. 42
    There are bad games that anger me, and then there are bad games that just confuse me. Ephemeral Fantasia belongs in the latter column...I'll slide this one in the drawer and forget about it, while most of you shouldn't even give it that much attention.
  3. 40
    Un-inspiring characters fighting un-inspired battles to get to un-inspired cutscenes just makes for a boring, tedious disc. If you hate RPGs there will be nothing in this game to change your mind.
  4. 70
    It loads frequently, the graphics are bland and first-generation, and the music smacks of elevator-itis. Plus, the game’s looping structure is cooler in theory than in reality.
  5. A throwback to the way RPGs used to be made before polygons. With anime-style characters and a firm story and gameplay, this game should be enjoyable for anyone who can get past the graphical weaknesses.
  6. The few folks with the patience needed to understand the game's design goals and unusual approach will find a game with a lot of depth and a truly offbeat adventure. Those who abhor repetition and like their quests spelled out for them should stay away.
  7. Reaching into new depths of crappiness that few developers have dared explore, Konami has tried to hide a poorly-made PSone RPG in PS2 packaging.
  8. A study in bad design and boring gameplay... Heed my stern warning and don't talk to Ephemeral Fantasia. Don't pass her notes. Don't try to get test answers off of her. She's an evil witch.
  9. The graphics will not sate the eye-candy hungry PS2 player, the plot is not particularly compelling and with the frequency of the load times and frequent (and repetitive) random battles, progress may be considered by some to be unforgivably tedious and slow.
  10. Despite the possibilty of too much repetition or worklike feeling, EF brings the first true traditional RPG to the PS2. The story is interesting, the mini-games unique, the characters vivid and the locations fascinating.
  11. Its inferior graphics and incomplete audio are a considerable distraction and the numerous gameplay issues cause problems of their own.
  12. Despite a unique story concept, it sounds better on paper than in practice. While far from embarrassing, EF is embarrassingly average.
  13. It's not exactly hard though, and within minutes the fighting action matches the story pace: boring.
  14. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The scale of the town maps and the repetitive graphics make navigating around the map a laborious chore. [Oct 2001, p.148]
  15. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    There are no surprise plot twists, no mysteries to unravel - nothing to keep you hooked at all. [Oct 2001, p.134]
  16. While the music doesn't offer much, except the six tracks found in the rhythm-guitar playing sessions, it's decent and surprisingly fits the game. It's not "Final Fantasy", but what is?

Awards & Rankings

#25 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2001
#53 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2001
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 39
  2. Negative: 13 out of 39
  1. Nov 11, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This is one of those games that starts slow but gets better as you play it, which itself is an indicator of bad game design, but not necessarily sure sign. The pacing is slow, but the story is gripping and even a little disturbing from the very beginning. Even if you think the game isn't good in the beginning, there's enough to keep you in it. Combat mechanics are a bit cumbersome but not as bad as some I've seen. The battlers are a bit cheesy. There's a lot of frustration in this game centered on the fact that through most of it, you simply don't know what you're supposed to do. It become clear pretty quickly that the "benevolent" ruler of the island isn't a very nice guy and generally enjoys the terrible power he wields over his unsuspecting populace, using that power to force them to live the same week over and over again, like the movie Groundhog's Day, but with an evil overlord making it miserable and extending it to five days. Hey, he can't be all bad. At least he's making them repeat a festival for the rest of eternity instead of something boring or catastrophic. The writing is superb. The evil overlord, Xelpherpolis is portrayed perfectly, seeming truly benevolent with dark and sinister overtones belying his true evil nature.

    The problem with this game: IT DOES NOT TELL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. Unlike other major productions such as Breath of Fire, Atelier, and Final Fantasy, this game doesn't hold your hand. Except for a few control tutorials, you have to explore and figure things out for yourself. This game is designed to challenge you. Instead of NPCs telling you where to go and what to do and obvious events, you have to find little clues that aren't obvious. This game requires some significant detective work and nothing demonstrates this better than the mission to rescue Rummy from the time loop, in which you have to prevent her from attempting to kill Lorellani, Xelpherpolis' future wife.

    Game mechanics aren't good, but they're not bad either. They can be annoying but aren't seriously detrimental. Once you've rescued one or two playable characters, you start to understand the story and really get into the game.

    All of the minor problems coupled with the slow starting, complex story make this game a bit misunderstood and under-appreciated. It's far from perfect, and a game like this is always going to have problems, but those who have the patience and enjoy exploration will find a real jewel in this game. Those who can't act without being directed need not apply.
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  2. Jan 12, 2018
    I loved the crap out of this game. Nobody ever talks about it and its understandable. The worst thing about the game is its progression, andI loved the crap out of this game. Nobody ever talks about it and its understandable. The worst thing about the game is its progression, and that's easily fixed by a walk-through, which I understand wasn't around back in the day.

    But this is the future. I wanted to write this review for so long, and I hope the modern audience can appreciate a game that has so many well executed features that most modern rpg's fail to pull off.

    Its a guitar element that I sometimes go back to just to play the melodies. The sweet, crisp melodies.

    Its got an active battle style with multiple ways to fight. To elaborate further, you can level up specific attacks and moves with different characters. Heck, Mouse can become a one man army if you train up his sword skills enough!

    its got a story I got so invested in that even back in the day with no walk-through I was motivated to high hell to finish. That sad princess activated the hero in me and I said I would save her no matter the cost!

    The characters are not placeholders, they all have stories. Opinions, they even chip in dialogue wise!

    I could go on and on about the pet features, the unlocking characters features, the many mini games you can play, the heartwarming cut-scenes, the tragic ones also, and one of the best villains I've ever matched blades with.

    This game is not for the faint of heart. If you're looking for a quick junk food RPG, this is not for you. It will keep you busy for weeks, maybe even months if you love grinding for stuff. (I am a Weekend warrior.) But if you want an RPG that leaves you with a deep sense of fulfillment when finished, a tear in your eye, this rare and underrated gem is for you. Don't rush it, you won't want it to end once you fall in love with the game.
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  3. Jul 12, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I wanted to like this game, I really did...

    It has restrictions on timeframes whereby you have to be at a specific place at a certain time in order to progress, which can be difficult and unappealing after the initial playing wears off. There are constant monotonous battles, you are frequently left scratching your head about what you need to do next, and the load times in between areas on the PS2 can send you to sleep.

    The graphics are poor, although I can personally see past those if the plot or gameplay pull me in, for EF they just add to the list of weaknesses.

    When the music and mini-games are the only things preventing the game receiving a zero score, you know that its a dud.
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