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Platform: PC, PlayStation 2
Genre: Role Playing
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
ETA: Spring 2006

 

Related Articles:

Review: Phantasy Star Online Ep. 1 & 2 (Xbox)

 

 

 

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Phantasy Star Universe

 

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It has been a long time since a new Phantasy Star has come along offering a single-player experience.  Technically one could go through the whole of the Phantasy Star Online games in an offline setting in order to make a single-player go of it, but that would defeat much of the purpose of the game.  Now, Sega is getting back into the one-player swing of things with Phantasy Star Universe for the PlayStation 2 and PC, which will offer a 40-hour long single-player game for gamers to sink their teeth into, and the game even manages to maintain a hefty online element for the PSO fans out there.

 

Following the tale of a 17-year-old Guardian cadet named Ethan Waber, the game starts with him and his sister watching the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the commonwealth.  While things start out on a good note, the celebration is cut short by a sudden meteor shower that lays waste to the immediate area.  Soon it is learned that an alien race known as “Seed” is behind the attack, and they’ve attacked every colony in the Grarl solar system in an attempt to destroy the Guardians.  When the smoke clears after the attack, Ethan notices that his sister has gone missing, and with that he sets out to find her.

 

Despite Phantasy Star Universe having a full-blown single player element, this does not mean that the game is completely returning to its roots.  The game will still be an action RPG, like what we’ve seen in the Phantasy Star Online games, so don’t expect a return to turn-based, traditional RPG battles here.

 

As was touched upon earlier, it is very important to note that the game is not 100% offline, as there is the option to play online.  Here players will start by going through the usual process of picking their race, and then their character class, after which it’s 

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time to hop online, and playing with other people.  In the online mode, players will explore the three planets of the game, both above ground, and in the various dungeons of these worlds.  As a nice touch, the game will also provide vehicles to drive around in, so players don’t need to hoof it everywhere.  At this point, it’s unclear as to whether the vehicles are online only, to prevent travel time issues, or if they are to be used in the single-player game as well.

 

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Talk to most Phantasy Star fans, and they’ll likely tell you that it has been entirely too long since there has been a single-player game in the series.  Since these fans have been waiting for this for the better part of a decade, Sega is no doubt facing a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, fans will be ecstatic that a new single-player Phantasy Star is in the works.  On the other hand, though, since fans have had to wait so long for this, it’s quite likely that they will have extremely high expectations of Phantasy Star Universe.  Whatever the case, Sega has a lot of work ahead of them, and fans have some more waiting in store too, as the game is currently slated for release next year.

 

Mr. Nash

(May 6, 2005)