Author Topic: Phantasy Star Online: Episodes 1 & 2  (Read 5262 times)

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Offline GeoffZ

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Phantasy Star Online: Episodes 1 & 2
« on: February 03, 2003, 03:01:24 PM »
Review of Phantasy Star Online Episodes 1 & 2

Note: I have only been able to play this game offline.

Phantasy Star Online (PSO) was the first RPG that I picked up for my gamecube.  Since picking it up, it has provided entertainment to fill the time until the release of Skies of Arcadia which I plan to pick up in the next few days.

PSO is an upgraded port of the Dreamcast game of the same name.

PSO is a real time RPG thats closest relative gameplay-wise would be Crusaders of Might and Magic crossed with a typical RPG.  The game allows for a fairly large variety of character classes, 12 in total that give the game variety.  Playing the game feels closely related to most other RPGs available and in terms of the game's structure, there is little difference from most other RPGs on the market.  However, the game is fun to play and has good replay value even offline.  The splitscreen mode offered in this edition of the game is a nice improvement, allowing parties to set out on their adventure to gain experience points, and can offer a fun experience hacking away at large quantities of enemies even though quests can only be completed in single player mode.  

Depth is added to the gameplay through the addition of MAGs, small creatures that must be fed and can aid you in battle.  In addition, there is a large amount of life in all of the environments, although this is especially true in the city.

The game offers replay value through its difficulty levels which are unlocked by achieving a high enough level on your characters.  In addition, the inclusion of Episode 2 greatly increases the adventurable area of the game as either of the Episodes can be played through from start to finish in about 5 hours.

The graphics of PSO range from spectacular to mediocre.  The backgrounds and terrain are modeled in lush detail, offering spectacular backdrops for the action however, character models and objects in the game often appear slightly blocky.  In addition, there are few special effects on screen.  It is obvious when playing that the game was originally a game for the Dreamcast and does not push the capabilities of the Gamecube.

As for the sound of PSO, it is merely average.  The sound effects are okay and the music becomes repetitive after a short amount of time.

I would recommend Phantasy Star to anybody who is looking for a game that will keep oneself occupied while waiting for one of the big games to be released.  As I mentioned earlier, I have only played PSO offline and thus cannot comment on its online play.

Overall:
  Gameplay: 8
  Graphics:   7
  Sound:      6
  Value:       7
  Overall:     7.6 (not an average)

This average might be higher if online play is taken into account.