Phantasy Star Online Version 2 review
What;s your Phantasy?


I could go all day singing the praises of Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II, but I'm sure you've heard more accolades than I could ever give. Therefore, I'll simply make the case why you should get this masterpiece (or if you don't have a GameCube, why you should get one, an online adapter, and this masterpiece).

Graphics: 10! Those of us who had a Dreamcast knew all along the visual beauty of PSO. Even I was shocked to see the improvements made on the Cube--especially the scenery in Episode II.

Control: 9. From the first time I picked up the control pad, I almost forgot I was playing a Gamecube. For such a weird-looking controller, PSO makes it feel like the Dreamcast. The camera, however, still leaves something to be desired (I guess this will never be perfected in any 3-D game). A tighter lock-on feature could have been introduced, but doesn't take away from the game's fun.

Gameplay: 10! Never has a game with such repetitiveness been so fun. There is a LOT of levelling up involved with this game, but there are so many ways to do this that you won't feel bored. The challenge has been kicked up a notch in Episode II, so don't even THINK of challenging it right after you've created your alter ego (You can take my advice or learn the hard way). Kitting out your character is as flexible as ever, but some things have been reserved exclusively for certain classes (Rangers and Hunters can no longer cast Grants or Megid spells as they're now meant for Forces only). 4-Player capability makes things even more fun for those who don't have online access, but want the multi-player experience.

Online Gameplay: 9. This is the main reason PSO exists. This game was meant to be played among millions of cyberfriends the world over. Nintendo stubbed its toe a bit by not releasing a keyboard along with the modem and broadband adapters, but most of us can manage with the symbol chat and pop-up keyboard. Connection with the broadband adaptor is is almost too fast to be believed. Even with a monthly $9 Hunter's License fee, it's well worth the money to spend a couple of hours a day blasting the daylights out of otherworldly beasts with your new pals.

Replay value: 10! For PSO vets and new boys (and girls) alike, there is a ton of things that will bring you back to the online lobby . From raising your Mag to trading for rare items to downloading the latest quest, there will always be something to do while strolling through Ragol and Pioneer (.

Overall: Must I say more? I don't think so. I see you putting on your gear and riding to the nearest Target store (or wherever games are sold) and getting your newest favorite online game not on PC.

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