Phantasy Star Online
Genre Adventure -> RPG
Today's Rank 12079
Homepage
USA
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
UK
Date 2003-03-07
Publisher Atari
United Kingdom Retail Box ArtPity the poor Dreamcast--it was playing host to online games while the PS2 was still a twinkle in Sony's eye, and its early demise took with it a host of seminal titles, not least of which was Phantasy Star Online. This new GameCube release is a conversion of the original Dreamcast PSO game combined with the later Version 2 semi-sequel and a bunch of exclusive extras. For those unaware of the game, it's a fairly basic third-person shoot-'em-up, but with detailed RPG style stats for every character, weapon and object. PC gamers might recognise it as a kind of 3-D Diablo. Like many of the best multi-player games PSO is pretty dull in single-player mode and despite the huge number of missions the repetitive combat and lack of interaction with your environment does begin to grate. Played online though, or via the GameCube's exclusive new four-player split screen mode, the game suddenly comes alive as you work together in a group covering each other's backs and stealing rare items when nobody's looking. The three very different character classes means that no one character can do everything and teamwork is an absolute necessity, not just a noble ideal. When online you get the added bonus that the game automatically translates set words and phrases so you can actually play and chat with people from other countries. However, although the online play is free for the first 30 days, a monthly fee is charged thereafter. The only problem with the game is that the graphics are very 2000 and the repetitive gameplay can get a bit too much after extended play. It's a unique experience though and well worth trying out. --David Jenkins
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