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Phantasy Star Universe Review

Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: Sega
Release Date: October 24, 2006 Also On: PC, PS2 and Xbox 360

The Dreamcast may not be remembered for Phantasy Star Online, but this was where Sega’s dungeon crawler RPG made its first appearance. Later being ported to the Xbox and GameCube, Phantasy Star Online was a fun game to run around smashing mindless creatures and leveling up characters with friends. While it is considered an MMO, I do not believe having 4 players in a single game is considered to be MMO. Yet Sega still charged $10 a month to play. Interestingly enough, Phantasy Star Universe makes the game a little bigger, allowing up to 6 players to join in online, and still offers the $10 fee to play online. Yet is Phantasy Star Universe that much better?

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While you may just be into Universe because you liked the way the Phantasy Star Online single player was set up, think again. You need to unlock the character creation/freelance missions by completing half of the new storyline in Phantasy Star Universe. This storyline that has been added is a terrible addition to the Phantasy Star games. You play with an established character and do not get to modify his appearance in anyway. Though there are points that were interesting, the story is very annoying and tedious. I found myself struggling to complete the game through my 20 hour adventure into the Phantasy Star universe. Fans of Phantasy Star and RPG’s alike are sure to be very disappointed.

Though Phantasy Star Universe is offered across three platforms (PS2, 360 and PC), it has the look of a PS2 game which does not show the graphical advantage of the 360 or PC in any way. Some of the environments look interesting at first glance, but you can tell how phony the background actually looks and where the developers tried to make invisible walls for you to stay out of. Character models are mediocre at best and weapon design is way too basic. There are way too many of the same creature that you face in the dungeons along with the repetitive environments that assist you in getting lost very easily. Overall, a disappointment.

Phantasy Star is even basic in its audio with old recycled sounds from the older games. The music is definitely a nuisance and you will want to crank up your stereo on 360 media player to dub over it. A new addition to the game is voice dialogue that progresses the story quite well. They work in very well with the types of characters you will encounter. Other than that, there is not anything to rant about here.

The mindless dungeon crawling gets old after a while. You will not have nearly as much fun with Phantasy Star Universe unless you hop on with some friends. Even then, it tends to get boring rather quickly. You are only allowed general attacks with no real variety which hurts player’s creativity greatly. Missing from Phantasy Star Universe is the addition of Mag’s to help boost your character. This is a big feature that has gone missing and had my friends and I rather upset at least. Besides the character development once you unlock it, the only real fun to be had is through the game’s online multiplayer. But the $10 price tag per month can just be too much for players to play such a mediocre title, especially if they are already paying service fee’s for Internet and Xbox Live to play their games.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 5.2
Written by Shawn Review Guide