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E3 06: Phantasy Star Universe

Sega's last console, the Dreamcast, has been dead and buried for almost five years now. One series that absolutely refuses to die with it, however, is its online version of RPG classic Phantasy Star. The game has hopped from Dreamcast to GameCube to Xbox, never quite catching the mainstream MMO appeal. Phantasy Star Universe hopes to change that by offering a planet-spanning single-player game in addition to the limitless, online dungeon crawling.

The series began as a traditional, solo RPG, so it makes sense to return to its space-opera roots. You should be able to squeeze out 30-45 hours in the offline game alone - packed with more enormous bosses, customizable weapons and upgradeable combo attacks than any of the previous Phantasy games. Real-time battles are focus here, not mindless wandering in search of Super Rare Magic Ring Plus Nine. Oh, that kind of stuff is certainly present - you can spend great loads of time powering up your colorful traveling party, but Universe certainly wants you to do more slashing than talking.

To keep the flashy spell-casting and laser-sword swinging action exciting, you'll be able to use Photon Arts to change up your weapons and fighting style. Combining certain items with your arsenal can add special effects, bonuses or just make your combo string a little longer. Similarly, you'll be able to change your equipment at any time, switching from high-tech guns to plasma lances in a heartbeat. Character classes, like Ranger, Mage and Swordsman, can also be swapped, giving you a broad range of ways to gut the bizarre creatures in this solar system.

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