Phantasy Star Universe - PC

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Also for: Xbox 360, PS2
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: SEGA Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: SEGA (GB)
Released: 24 Nov 2006 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
No Accessories: No Accessories


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The Phantasy Star series has been dragged kicking and screaming into every new console generation as SEGA has pushed to evolve its showcase RPG in the shadow of massively popular offerings from Square, Nintendo and Enix, pre-'Sqeenix', of course.

The single biggest leap forward was the move online, with the Dreamcast cult classic, Phantasy Star Online which, at time of release, was the most beautiful, most ambitious role-player available. This title and its excellent sequel spawned a diehard fanbase that has been kicking its feet in eager anticipation of what promises to be the deepest, richest and most rewarding PSO game to date, Phantasy Star Universe.

An action RPG, PSU replaces turn-based, life-sapping battle exchanges with good old fashioned hitting. And shooting. And more hitting. The game is a giant too, with Yuji Naka's Sonic Team preparing a straight-through playtime of over 40 hours for the single-player missions alone. This more than doubles the stats boasted by any previous PSO.

The game world has lost its claustrophobic edge, spreading out from the single home planet into a whopping three complete systems, to explore alone or as part of a team played over the Internet, PSU's USP. Well, it was a USP when the Dreamcast version was launched, online gaming today being as unique as the sun rising...

Welcome gameplay additions come in the form of an expanded library of weapons, all of which have rapid inventory-switching, seeing PSU cast off the problems with responsiveness that dogged earlier versions. Sega is also going to save you some virtual shoe leather, providing controllable vehicles to get you from dungeon to dungeon - all 17 of them.

If you're getting bored or consumed by World of Warcraft and need a break, drop into PSU. You can play alone to your heart's content though a foray online will open up a world inhabited by some of online console gaming's old school, a friendly bunch who'll gladly take you on a quest or ten.