Phantasy Star Universe does little to be amazing in terms of gameplay, but what it does deliver is a fun experience
Mangaminx wrote this review on .
In Phantasy Star Universe's main story mode you take the role of "Ethan Warber" (pictured above on the left), who is your typical young, brash, so annoying you want to strangle him, character that the Japanese still seem to labour under the delusion that all gamers want to play as! Ethan teams up with a, fortunately, much more like-able cast of characters who cover everything from octogenarians with expert martial art skills to midget animals with serious attitude. Ethan and his teammates have to battle through various environments defeating hordes of monsters and obtaining keys to progress. These bursts of action are split up with various cut-scenes, boss-fights and space travel and take place over twelve in-game episodes. The episodes themselves are done like an anime T.V series with each having an opening theme, the main episode (where you control Ethan), a closing theme and a next episode preview. Being an anime fan I found this aspect quite appealing, and it does much to give the game a nice atmosphere and one that many people will enjoy.
The games combat is pretty much a button bashing fest as monsters spawn around you in the games world and you must defeat them. LOTS of them. The amount of enemies you defeat in this game verges on ridiculous at times as wave after wave attack you and you smack them all down with your weapon of choice. It's all very simple and relatively easy, yet at the same time it's fiendishly addictive. With the addition of weapon upgrades, the ability to create your own weapons and special attacks there is just enough depth to the combat here to make it remain fun through the main story.
Indeed the main flaw to story mode lies not in the games actual game-play but rather the awful (and I mean awful) teammate AI. Your friends are quite happy to stand around doing nothing but spout irritating quips while you battle legions of monsters. On the rare occasion that they do bother attacking they tend to miss or receive a swift death at the hands of your enemies.
Story Mode of Phantasy Star Universe delivers an enjoyable experience that is a little rough around the edges. The games story is relatively poor and cliché, and the AI of your team-mates is diabolical. However, SEGA have successfully overcome these two flaws to produce a single player that is ultimately good fun to play. Something that many games these days often forget.
On completing Episode IV of the main game "Free Mode" becomes selectable. Yes you can leave Mr.Warber behind and make a character yourself. You can be a robot, a cat-girl (or boy), a human or a big-eared super brainy elf-type thing! The characters are pleasingly customisable so you can really make them look how you want and once that's done you can head out into the world of Phantasy Star without the confines of the plot stopping you. Unfortunately that's about it. Aside from the freedom to do things, this is pretty much the same as single player, except it never ends. The teammate AI is still bad and there isn't really anything to work towards, making it certainly the most boring mode in the game.
It's doubtless this is the main mode of Phantasy Star Universe. SEGA want you to subscribe to the MMORPG side of things and spend lots more money on the title. This is Free Mode, except your teammates (hopefully) have slightly better IQ's than the computer controlled players as they are human beings. I haven't played it myself as quite frankly for the ridiculously high price SEGA are asking a simplistic on-line game like this isn't worth your money. With the added level of player interaction it may well be the best mode, but value for money this isn't.
Phantasy Star Universe is a basic, simple RPG ideal for those new to the genre who want something light but enjoyable to sink their teeth into. Hardcore RPG fans may still enjoy the experience too as the game at it's core is genuinely enjoyable. If you don't require an epic plot or amazing graphics to enjoy your RPG's then give this a whirl, its colourful, addictive nature should keep you engrossed for some time.