The fast-paced enemy-slaughtering, dungeon-crawling formula popularized by Diablo has proven more than merely popular. It's massive. Few companies, however, have found ways to make it their own. Somehow, Sega has taken its classic sci-fi Phantasy Star RPG franchise and done just that. Blending action-packed dungeon exploration, stylish console-style presentation and a full single-player quest to compliment its online hack and slash, PSU should clue PC gamers in to what console fanatics have been raving about since the days of Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast.
While most online RPGs present gamers with neverending menus and very little action, PSU is combat-focused. Combo-based combat is the order of the day. While it doesn't have the same speed and flourish as, say, God of War, your reflexes will be tested nonetheless. The pace also allows you to formulate tactics on the fly, as the game offers an array of spells and special items to spice up the fighting. The game, too, has a beautiful sci-fi style that sets it apart: space stations instead of castles; laser swords and Vulcan cannons take the place of medieval weaponry.
Different races and classes, in traditional RPG fashion, offer different statistical boosts and capabilities - the big guys are good at fighting and the little girls are good at magic. You know the drill. Figuring out how best to build a party is crucial, as you can adventure with five companions online.