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Phantasy Star Online

Developer  Sonic Team
Publisher  Sega
Genre  Role Play (RPG)
Release  Late January 2000


This game has to be one of the most anticipated games in the history of console gaming. It will be the first console RPG to feature online play with people from all over the world! How amazing does that sound?! Unfortunately, details of what could be the DC’s greatest title yet are scarce. Well, even so, a preview is definitely in order, as the expected European release date for this baby is late January 2001! So read on to discover exactly what we DO know about Phantasy Star Online (PSO) so far…

Hold on a second, something seems familiar…

What seems familiar?

The game title. Oh, and the developers too…

Are you silly, or what? Have you never heard of the Phantasy Star series? It was Sega’s brilliant RPG franchise back on the Genesis, and some of the earlier machines too. The Phantasy Star series is well known for its brilliant worlds, characters and the Phantasy Star system. It has been a while since Sega have released a title in this franchise, but Sonic Team (the developers of crazy puzzler, ChuChu Rocket!) are bringing the series back to life in an online format.

Online? So it is going to exist completely in cyber space?

Err…, I’m afraid that is not completely true. Only four players will be able to play together. This means that the game will run better (as there will not me hundreds of thousands of players in the same world at once) and also means that you the four are a team who must work together to complete objectives and kill creatures.

Also, this game is not an online only game. You can play this game on your own, with AI taking over the other three characters.


Forget about menu driven turn based battles.  This is all out action fighting, and we like it!


Oh, right. So, what exactly is the point of the Online bit then?

Well, you assemble a team online who are interested in achieving the same thing as you in the game (i.e. – a certain quest to find something, or simply to train). Certain portions and puzzles within the game will only be able to be overcome as a team. Also, just think how fun it will be to play with 3 other HUMAN people! Cool!


So, will there be a storyline at all?

Yes, there will be one. However, this has not yet been revealed. Most of the plot will be unravelled offline, however, as well as the ending. But certain goals that need to be completed in order to progress through the game will need to be done online. And these two seemingly unrelated parts will seamlessly intertwine. This means that you can carry on with your story online with people who have reached the same part as you!


"I don't smell that bad!" Yelled the old man, as the foursome ran away!

What about the characters? All good RPG’s have a great cast of characters…

Well, not much is know about the characters. However, there are 9 to choose from, and these 9 are separated into 3 groups of 3 for their abilities and sub-divided again for their race. The races are humans, numans and cyborgs. The abilities (classes) are hunters, rangers and forces. There is also a very complex character creation system which lets you create your own character from face to skin tone to costume!


Aha! Well, what about battles?

Battles are semi-real time, and are fought differently depending on what class you are. Forces use a lot of magic (technique, as it is called in PSO) and therefore can attack from far away, as can rangers who have long-distance weapons. Hunters are more close-combat fighters. Also, battles aren’t random. You can choose whether or not to go into battle.


How about the graphics? I bet they are crap!

Don’t be so quick to judge! Just because this is an online game, doesn’t mean it has bad graphics! In fact, PSO has some of the most amazing visuals to date! They look awesome! Just check out the screens that accompany this preview and you can see for yourself that Sega have, again, outdone themselves!

Of course it's not just about ass whooping!  Here 2 players must operate controls together to open the door ahead.


Wow! They are amazing! I’m not sure what else to say! Is there anything more?

Hmmm… let me think. Well, instead of running to the clock of the country that the game is being played in, the time for PSO will be measured in BEATS (there are 1000 beats in a day), which is a very universal time measurement. This suits the nature of the game perfectly. It also means that you can arrange to meet a person in a different time zone with ease. No more working out the difference between here and Japan my friend! Also, you will be able to talk to people from different countries with ease, using a set of symbols and set phrases that are instantly translated into the language of the person you are talking to! If you have a keyboard, you can type your own messages too, however these will not be translated.


Amazing! So, basically, I should look out for this baby! When should I check my local gaming store?

It looks like PSO is set for a late January 2000 release date over here, but don’t take my word for it! I could be wrong! Delays are known to happen (yes MSR, YOU!). But you are definitely going to watch out for this one if you love RPG’s or simply love to play online!


Thanks for the info, man!

My pleasure!

Andrew Dickinson

Anticipation Rating



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