Phantasy Star Universe

Welcome back to our continuing coverage of Phantasy Star Universe. Lots has come to light sincelast week, so let's jump right in.

For starters, we've finally gotten a good sense of the game's three planets, Parum, Neudaiz and Moatoob, and each has its own very unique look and feel. Parum is the first one you'll visit, and it's your typical lush, green paradise. Oddly, however, it's ruled by the Cast race, androids that helped restore the planet after past conflicts and who often harbor anti-organic sentiment.

Your operations will launch from Holtes City, a beautiful futuristic metropolis that has all the amenities of the GUARDIAN colony. In addition to the natural landscapes, Parum also features ancient underground RELIC sites, which play asubstantial role in the game's ongoing storyline.

Next up is Neudaiz, the pristine, water-covered home of the Newman race. Newman settlements have a decidedly Japanese styleaesthetic, as seen in the retro-futuristic stylings of Ohtoku City. Atowering Fuji-like mountain beckons in the background, but we haven'tdiscovered a wayto visit it yet. Neudaiz's first adventure zone is the Mizuraki Preserve, a rocky forest area filled with crimson-leaved trees and nasty gargoyle creatures. Later, you'll visit the Shikon Archipelago, which is a more swamp-like habitat. We encountered our first controllable vehicles here, hovercrafts that let us zoom through the swamps in a short mini-game.

Last and definitely least so far is Moatoob. Once a green world of plenty, the disruption of its orbit has turned Moatoob into a barren land of deserts and valleys. However, the hardy Beast race calls it home, living in rustic settlements like Dagora City. Dagora is by far the smallest town thus far, comprised of only a single area. Despite this, it's still got a decent shopping mall. So far the only adventure area we've found on Moatoob is the Galenigare Mine. It's pretty typical, with brown, rocky valleys leading up to it. It's nothing like the high-tech cyber-mines of Phantasy Star Online. Moatoob is the base of operations for the criminal Rogue elements, so we hope we'll encounter some more interesting sights there in the future.