Format reviewed: Dreamcast
Developer: Sonic Team
Submitted by: Steven Jackson
After reading Retro Gamer Collection Volume 3 and the article about the Dreamcast, I realised it was a system I really needed to invest in. The article really enlightened me to buy a Dreamcast off E-Bay along with a few games in a bundle. I did purchase a Dreamcast off E-Bay and I got one of the games I wanted to experiance first hand and that was Phantasy Star Online.
I have never played any of the other brilliant Phantasy Star games myself so buying this was going into the unknown. I have however in passing played a few current MMORPG's most notably Runescape and World of Warcraft. I played neither of these two games for long because I got bored very quickly after the original 24/7 addiction. So buying Phantasy Star Online could have been seen as a totally wrong choice of game altogether because I would probably get bored of it in a month and never play it again, how wrong I was. Phantasy Star Online is one of the most addicting games I have ever played and outshines Runescape and World of Warcraft in absolutely everything.
Phantasy Star Online has two gameplay choices, Online and Offline play making it both a MMORPG and real-time RPG in one. The game itself is like every other RPG I have played, you explore, you fight, you level up and you get addicted. Simple yet so very satisfying. Unlike RPG's but like MMORPG's you create your very own player from a choice of races, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. You also get a choice of detailed appearance types helping the game again seem even more original and fun. The game has a variety of locations, weapons, abilities and activities keeping you entertained for hours. I think the reason I like this MMORPG more than any other is that it is on a brilliant console in the Dreamcast and the game doesn't seem a stereotypical MMORPG like today full of nerdy players. These two things I think are the reasons why I am so hooked to this game so much unlike every other MMORPG I have played.
The game has got great graphics, music, controls and addictive gameplay appealing to all players and really showing what the Dreamcast is capable of. It's such a shame the Dreamcast had such a short life-span because I reckon that this game would still be going as strong today as I think it was back in 2001 online.
Phantasy Star Online is without a doubt in my eyes the greatest MMORPG ever created. Way ahead of it's time, the Sonic Team really show well the capabilities of the system aswell as show how good an MMORPG can be. With amazing sound, graphics, controls and addictive gameplay it is truly the retro World of Warcraft and even if you can't get this game to go online anymore, because of the servers being cancelled, it's still a brilliant real-time RPG experience for a brilliant console. Frequently ranked among the top ten Dreamcast games ever made and the top 100 games ever made, it is a game every Dreamcast owner should own or at least experience to remind them how good the Dreamcast really was.