The long awaited new title in the beloved Phantasy Star series is here. Phantasy Star Universe delivers a rich, ever evolving world and will provide hours of entertainment to both online and offline RPG enthusiasts. Single-player fans will embark on an offline quest as Ethan Waber, a 17-year old cadet intent on saving his sister from an invasion of mysterious life forces called THE SEED. While online players will create their own characters from a range of races, and then set off to explore all three planets in the Gurhal solar system. Fans will travel with a squad of other adventurers, enter urban sprawls teeming with hundreds of other players, and build their avatars into powerful warriors.
just to clear the air a bit first I'd like to say that this game has been completely misunderstood by the games media who've by-and-large discounted it based on the merits of the single player story mode. let's get one point absolutely clear: phantasy star universe is primarily an ONLINE game. that's its core strength and the sole reason you should buy it. the story mode is simply tacked on to flesh the package out a bit. therefore my advice is...if you can't swallow a £6.99 monthly fee for online play just walk away.
but...as an online game phantasy star universe is incredibly satisfying and enjoyable to play. it sticks with the basic formulae laid down with PSO and adds several layers of depth and complexity making it feel fresh and new.
some of the main changes and additions i'll list below:
- there's now 3 planets and a guardian's space complex serving as mission hubs. these areas come complete with their own mission terminals and shopping complexes for equipping your character
- character generation and development has moved on and is much more detailed than before. loads of options for getting your character to look and feel just right.
- each character has his own room in the space colony which can be decorated. you can expand your room to include a shop where you can sell items to other or you can just invite your friends over to admire your set-up.
- each character has his own pet robot (PM) that can be fed items and evolves accordingly. think of this as a cross between a PSO mag and a sonic chao! this little guy can also make weapons and armour for you and join you in battle once he's levelled accordingly
- combat is more fluid and tactical than in previous PSO's. character movement is also quicker and much improved. you can also strafe.
- the 360 version comes with full voice chat capabilities within parties. this makes a huge difference to the game.
- weapons, items...basically anything can be fabricated by players using their PM's. these items can then be used or sold for cash to other players either directly or via shops.
- weapons can be ground with base materials to enhance their statistics. this really ups the weapon customisation depth to insane levels. each time you grind there's a chance your weapon breaks however.
so that's just some of the main things you can do in PSU not possible in previous incarnations. aside from that the game retains all the charm that made PSO such a hit. PSU is a game about community and fostering friendship and cooperation.
it's also a relaxing game to play and very rewarding. you can dip in for 30 mins or play the whole night if you so wish. and if you find a nice group of players to run with few games can match PSU for sheer enjoyment.
so if you're after an enjoyable social and relaxing MMOG you can do no better than PSU. it may lack the content and sheer scale of other games like world of warcraft, but it more than makes up for this with a solid structure, ease of play and friendly online community.
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I was always a fan of the Phantasy Star Series. I bought this from choices when it was 30GBP, and Single player was fairly easy and took about 30-40hrs. The story line is great in single player, and they did everything right in upgrading PSO. If you like RPGs and have a 360, this is a great buy. I have all the English RPGs on the 360 and am proud to have this in my collection!