Electronic Theatre Preview: Phantasy Star Universe

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Electronic Theatre Image                      The Phantasy Star series is one which has garnered fans from around the globe for many years. Providing the inspiration for Final Fantasy’s online outing and still holding a rather secure fanbase, Phantasy Star Universe has some big-boots to fill.

            Keeping the traditions of the series intact, Phantasy Star Universe plays in Real-Time and retainsElectronic Theatre Image its triple-hit Timed Combo-System. Promising a forty-hour adventure playable online with up to six friends, the system seems quite dated when faced with the ever-increasing competition. The Host acts as the story-lead and other players joining will bring their characters either back through the story in jump straight-in ahead of schedule, depending on their current progress.

            The demonstration available was limited to two playable Levels – both of which featured astronomical Loading Delays both before and during play, an issue that is promised to be rectified before release. The A.I. team-mates used when offline show some spark and the Weapon System is encouragable; offering the player a quick-select between two weapons at any point by simply accessing a Weapon Wheel; enchanted weapons offer their additional abilities through holding the R1 Button whilst pressing the correct attack.

            The animation was smooth and the draw-distance was impressive for a PlayStation2 release, however the dated gameplay, lack-lustre online support and late arrival of the title are only going to harm its target sell-through.




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