Here is a review of Pantasy Star Online I did for MPOGD:

Phantasy Star Online (PSO), from Sonic Team, is the first multi-player online RPG for a console. While some though this would be a sequel to the original Phantasy Star series it is only loosely based off it.

PSO is takes place on the Pioneer 2 space craft that is on its way to planet Ragol to meet up with the Pioneer 1 space craft. Their objective is to find a new home world, since theirs is dying. But shortly after they contact each other, all communication is lost. Your job is to find out what happened to Pioneer 1.

The game it self can be played online or off, however it is much more fun online with other players. Once you start a new game you get to create your character, choosing from 3 races and 3 classes. The races are as follows, Human, New human and Android and the classes are Hunter, Ranger and Force. The classes are pretty simple, Hunter is your basic warrior, Ranger uses guns and other long-ranged weapons and finally the Force is your handy dandy Mage. Humans are the all around race with the most balanced stats, new humans are generally the weakest but have the greatest agility and magic and Androids are the strongest of all the races but cannot use any magic (or techniques as they call it) at all. In the character creation screen you can customize you guy's hair, face, costume and how tall and fat he is! In the offline game you can go though the entire game and additional "jobs" or quests that you can accept from the hunter's guild. These quests are usually side-stories but can make you a lot of money (or Meseta as it is in the game). Online you can meet up with up to 4 people at a time and play though the entire game, however the quest online are different from the ones offline. With teammates with you they can heal you give you attack and defense increments and just basically make the ass kicking a lot easier. If I would compare the game to anything it would have to be Diablo. You go though levels killing monsters, getting new items and leveling up. This can get very repetitive at times but nonetheless it is very addictive.

One of the coolest things in this game is the Mags. Mags are these little robots that float behind you and give you stat buffs and some times heal you and give you attack and defense buffs. They are kind of like a Tamagochi on steroids, you have to feed them every five minutes so they stay happy, get smart, and level up and give you stat bonuses. When they level up, depending on what there stats are at and what you feed them they can "evolve" into a cooler (or not so cool) looking Mag. Also they can get "Photon Blasts" which occurs when the photon blast meter gets to 100 (it goes up when you attack or get hit) then it will let you use on of it's photon blast. What they do is summon up a huge weird ass looking monster that can do damage to the enemies or heal you and such.

The Techniques in PSO are more based around strategy rather then just have a lot of sweet looking eye candy. Don't get me wrong the spells are cool and all but they seem to be lacking in choice. In all there is 19 spells. Compared to other RPG's, this doesn't seem like a lot right? Like I was saying you have to use different spells at different time because some monsters take more damage from fire better then lighting, while some are just the opposite. To compensate for the lack of spells you can instead level them up and make them stronger by buying techniques disks. Also when they get to a certain level the graphic for the spell changes.

There are lots of different weapons to be found in PSO. They range from photon sabers to shotguns. Although they seem to be lacking in weapons models, most of the higher-level weapons look the same as the low level ones except that the photon color is different. But once you get into hard levels you can find "Legendary weapons", these are usually very strong weapons and most of the time look different from the average weapons. Weapons can also have special attacks that do things such as hit the enemy with lighting, freeze them, paralyze them etc..

Since there is no pause feature in PSO the item menu when opened appears around the left and bottom of the screen, and in the middle you can see what is around your character and you can still move him so you don't get ambushed. Although you cannot attack while in the menu, it is nicely laid out with sections from equipping gear, organizing you items and a whole section just for feeding your mags. There are 6 customizable buttons (three are visible the other are accessed by holding down the R trigger) that you can put spells, attacks and potions into for quick use so you don't have to rummage though the menus. Another great feature about being online is the chat menu. In here you can give people your guild card so that they can send you short in-game e-mails and instantly teleport to you so they can find you easily when your online.

The games graphics are very nice; the entire world is in 3D so you're in for some very good sights. The movements of your character when you swing a sword or cast a spell are nothing short of spectacular. Also when you enter a boss fight there is a nice done short cinematic entrance on the enemies' part.

The sounds are nice, nothing amazing but are good. The background music changes depending on where you are, some of it is pretty sweet others just are plane annoying.

One of the biggest downsides is that your character can only be played on your Dreamcast with your CD. So if you lose your CD or try ad play on someone else's Dreamcast your out of luck. All and all this game is amazing! Graphics rock, gameplay is sweet and the online feature is just outstanding! If you've got a Dreamcast and a way to get it online go and get this game right now! I'm telling you won't be disappointed.