Phantasy Star Zero FTW

Whoa, that's a big chicken.

Deja Vu?

Just yesterday, I bought myself a copy of the Phantasy Star Zero game that came out last November.  I don’t know why it took me so long, and I’m beating myself up now because I should have gotten it the day it was released.

A little background on me, I’m a huge Phantasy Star Online fan.  It was originally made on the Dreamcast, SEGA’s last system ever, and since then its been released on every second gen console (Gamecube, PS2, X-Box) and for the PC.  It’s my favourite example of simple, easy, and addictive fun.

Well, PSZero is, in my opinion, the best successor to PSO a handheld could hope for.  For someone who has played PSO in the past, PSZero is familiar, and yet it has so many changes to it that it seems new as well.

Like in PSO, you can create your own character.  You can create a melee, ranged, or caster character (just like before), and choose form 3 different races (also, just like before).  Any race can play a melee character (and UNLIKE before, you can play a melee MALE Newman!), humans and CASTs can be chosen for the Ranged class, and Humans and Newmans can be used as casters.  After that, you can choose your looks! Granted, the options are limited by comparison, but the options are still there, and you can even choose the colour of your MAG, a friendly stat boosting pet.

Once you’ve made your character, you can always go back and change everything about him/her save the MAG colour.  Which is kinda funny, actually.  Could you imagine the conversation online?

“Hey there Bob.”
“Yo.  Wanna quest?”
“Wait, WTH dood, your hair is purple now!”
“Yeah?”
“And your skin is black now!”
“Yeah?”
“… AND YOUR NAME ISN’T BOB!”
“… wait, did you just call me purple? It’s burgundy.  Gawd.”

In any case, once you’ve made a character, you can play online or the story mode, and depending on your race choice, you get a different beginning, and it’s for that reason alone that I have already made 3 characters: a RACast, a HUNewm, and a FOMar.  One of every race and class.  /fistpump

I don’t want to spoil anything, but so far I’m having a ton of fun with this game, and I got it YESTERDAY.  There are some really cool changes they made that allows this to compete with its predecessor.

1.  The look is totally different, and yet not.
It’s still in the same feel as PSO, what with robots, elves and humans running rampant through a horde of wild animals, but the way everything looks is completely different.  Instead of the huge amount of super technology, there’s almost a rustic feel to the game.  There are 6 shooter handguns, cowboy hats, and snowy mountains with bunnies.  On the other hand, there’s still that link to PSO, what with the robots, the lasers, the lightsabers and all.  It’s a healthy mix that makes me, as a fan, giddy to see and watch.

2.  Charge attacks instead of “special” attacks.
This change is a welcome one.  Instead on having certain weapons have a special attack based on a prefix system, PSZero has charge attacks that do different things based on the weapon type.  For instance, a charge attack with a bazooka will have your character jump in the air, and blow the crap out of anything below him.  A charge attack with a photon rifle will cause your character to hit the ground, do a pray and spray attack, and then lob a grenade at the opponent.  It’s really fun to try out new weapons to see what they do.

The best one so far was the mechgun.  You want to know how Neo did that crazy stuff in the lobby? Yeah, apparently mechguns just do that.

3.  OMG THERE’S A STORY LINE.
Unlike PSO, where not even SEGA knows what the heck they were writing, this game has a basic storyline with CHARACTERS.  Sure, PSO had a lot of fun sidequests that introduced you to some stories, sometimes: but they never finished any of those storylines.  Not one.  PSZero has a major storyline that, although I’m nowhere near finished, seems much more promising than the lack of anything PSO had.  And for that, I am thankful.

These are just a couple of things I’ve really liked, and I would write more, but I’m lazy.  Not everything is sunshine and peaches though: if there’s one thing I think is absolutely lame about PSZero it’s that you can’t swap weapons in mid combat unless you go into the menu. No shortcuts, no hotkeys.  Nothing.  No swapping unless you want to stand still, and standing still means you DIE.

So, small problem there.  but aside from that, no complaints.

Maybe I’ll rant more later, but I’m hungry, and there’s other stuff to do right now.  In any case, I heartily recommend this game to anyone looking for an action RPG that includes robots with GUNS.

-Phil

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