Monday20 November 2006
The universe of Phantasy Star has always been a unique one. Its refreshing sci-fi style breaks the swords 'n' sorcery RPG mould. Phantasy Star Online's networked approach, whichtranslated preset chat sentences into many languages allowing truly international gaming, was highly addictive and gave fans a reason to fall in love with the long-running series all over again.
But, no matter how stunning Phantasy Star Online was, gamers love single-player, story-driven RPGs. The intended solution was Phantasy Star Universe, which promised to contain both fully-realised story and online modes, to give fans everything they've ever wanted.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case.
The first thing you have to understand about Phantasy Star Universe is that the story mode isn't up to speed - this is no Final Fantasy killer. For a game that covers three whole planets, it's a letdown that conquering the universe will take you about 20 hours.
Planet exploration is minimal - typically, there is one town and less than a handful of dungeons picked off a map screen. It makes it all seem small and limited, which is the polar opposite of what this 'universe' promises.