Where are our online RPGs? Despite the Final Fantasy name, the slow-paced FFXI draws more snores than fans, while EverQuest Online Adventures proved the series didn't translate to the PS2. Fortunately, Sega's star developer, Sonic Team, has a very different idea. Phantasy Star Universe offers a full-fledged offline quest that rivals a traditional Final Fantasy in length. On top of (or instead of) this, you can choose to play the game online with five cohorts.
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.