RPG fans have been patiently awaiting the arrival and release of the next game in the popular Phantasy Star series. Thank goodness the wait is finally over with the recent release of Phantasy Star Universe. This game takes on a brand new location and story. You can either play single player in Story Mode or with your friends online in Network Mode. It has some major changes from previous versions of the series, but it still keeps the same theme.
In Story Mode, you follow the story of 17 year old Ethan. Hundreds of years ago, the 4 races of the three planets that made up the Gurhal System were at war with each other. 100 years ago, the four races decide to end the war by signing the Tripartite Treaty. Today is the 100 year celebration of the anniversary of the treaty. Ethan and his sister, Lumia are enjoying the festivities. Suddenly, a strange plant-like alien species know as the SEED attacks. In the chaos, Lumia is lost in the debris. Ethan goes out to save his sister. He soon joins the Guardian, a security force for the three planets. With the help of allies that join along the way, Ethan moves to find out the secret behind the SEED. It is a dramatic Sci-Fi tale full of conspiracy, secrets, lies, and adventure!
If you play on the online Network Mode instead of the Story Mode, you will create your own customizable character. They are fully customizable with regards to species, color, clothing, facial structure, and more. The races include: Humans, Newmans, Beasts, or CASTs. Your story starts with you being a new recruit for the Guardians and you will follow a similar path that involves finding out what is behind the SEED. You can play with friends from across the globe! A total of 6 can be in your party at one time. While playing in Network Mode, you can chat with other players via voice chat, party chat, simple mail, and cut in chat. Cut in chat brings your character to life by adding facial expressions based on the emotions used as you speak!
Phantasy Star Universe has 20 new dungeons, 15 major bosses, and a total of 70 new enemies. A new change that many will enjoy is that you no longer have to travel by foot. A whole array of vehicles is at your disposal. Each vehicle has its advantages and disadvantages. Some can travel over or through terrain that others cannot.
Ethan will get his own room, as will your customizable character if you play in Network Mode. Your room is customizable, even more so in Network Mode. In your room, you can do a variety of things. Ethan will use it to find out about his Guardian missions. In Network Mode, you can look for shops; see who has visited, and more. In both modes, you can change your clothes. The most important part of your room, however, is that this is where you will find your Partner Machine. You can feed your Partner machine various things that will help it evolve. As it evolves, your Partner Machine can synthesize items for you and perform various functions. Eventually, it will evolve to a point where you can take it into battle with you!
Phantasy Star Universe will consume at least 40 hours of your life in order to complete it. The graphics are gorgeous and the cut scenes have an anime-like quality to them. Expect lots of well written dialogue as you proceed further and further.
Phantasy Star Universe is available for the Playstation 2, Xbox 360, and PC. It has an ESRB rating of T for teen. This is because the game features mild language, suggestive themes, and fantasy violence. If you want to see everything the game has to offer, a strategy guide is available.