A solid, innovational take on the Phantasy Star Online series.

User Rating: 9 | Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution GC
Note: This is a review of the import version. The Phantasy Star Online series debuted on the GameCube with Phantasy Star Online Episode I&II and now Sonic Team brings an all-new game to the system with Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution. Just like Episode I&II, Episode III has some great-looking areas but Sonic Team still has not been able to really push the GameCube's hardware. The characters look a tiny bit better, but they still look similar to Dreamcast characters. Since you are in a closed environment when you battle, I don't see why Sonic Team couldn't have really improved the graphics because the battle areas are small. This is where the game has changed the most. Instead of real-time combat, in Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution you battle with cards in a turn-based gameplay system. This adds a lot more strategy to the game and even if you have the best cards it doesn't mean that you'll automatically win because you have to carefully plan your attack and defense. I'll explain the way you battle in Episode III: Dice You start off the battle by rolling a dice and whoever has the highest number gets to start the battle. Draw a New Hand? You next have the option to draw 5 new cards if you don't like the hand you were given. Set Here you choose what cards you want to use: if you are using Hunter you choose what weapons you want to equip and if you are using Arkz you choose what monsters you want to place on the field, assuming you have enough AP. Move Here you decide if you want to move or not. Action Here you can attack if you are near your opponent/a monster, assuming you have enough AP to do so. Draw Here you can draw what cards you don't want to use at that time and however many cards you draw will be replaced with the same amount of new cards from your deck. Overall, this new battle system is very well setup and I think that it's a better gameplay system than the previous one used in the other Phantasy Star Online games -- you know, hack-n-slash dungeon crawlers. Sonic Team has created some cool new music for Episode III that, although it surpass the quality in Phantasy Star Online Episode I&II, does hold its own with other games out right now. Overall, it's a soundtrack with some catchy tunes. I've played this game for over 27 hours currently, online and offline, and I'm not even close to getting all of the cards or leveling up to 999. It'll take you quite a while to level up to Lv 999 and finding all of the cards is not going to be easy. Also, the offline mode is better than previous ones although I can't really tell if it has a better story since I can't read Japanese. Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution may be the best game in the Phantasy Star Online series, as well as the deepest. For those of you who have doubts about this game because it's now a card game, well... you should really give this game a chance because it may surprise you as to how good and deep it is.