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E3 Impression

Phantasy Star Universe

05.20.2005

MATTHEW RUSSO
COMPOSER & SOUND ENGINEER
PHILIP BLOOM
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
Bad gas or fire spell?

In preparation for little head to head with Sega, I dropped by their booth to check out the new Phantasy Star game. The first thing that should be mentioned is that the game is still very early in development so whatever comments are taken from here should be in light of the fact that it could easily have another ten to twelve months to go. That said it wasn't that bad what I saw. The demo offered two chapters of play, both pretty strictly limited to allow the player a chance to see what they had without getting into unfinished parts. This has often been called a remake of Phantasy Star Online and, in a way, I can sort of see that, even though the atmosphere felt pretty different to me as the three main characters assisted an archeologist in finding an important relic in a dangerous area. You take control of one of these as you're teleported down to the surface and begin the wholesale slaughter of all you see, which thankfully consisted of only inhuman monsters.

Fiddling with the weapons, I found them generally on the slow and clumsy end of things. The game demo allowed me to try out a sword, a saber and gun, a dagger and gun, though none of them really seemed to play particularly cleanly. They looked decent, don't get me wrong, but they just weren't that easy to hit people with.

SCREENSHOT
Jolly Green Giant in dragon form.

Speaking of that they definitely have a ways to go with hit detection and targeting as it was pretty awkward do navigating, dodging and trying to hit the enemies. There was a moderate lock on feature, but it didn't work that well. The battles were similar to Phantasy Star Online's only with three allies who give middling to no support as you hack your way through the monsters.

The actual demo level included two fights with local fauna and one fight with the local dragon who promptly squished me while I tried to follow him around and target him. The game seems to have potential, but just doesn't show any of it really actualized to be experienced on the e3 show floor.

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Console:
· Playstation 2
· Personal Computer

Release:
· Spring 2006

Publisher:
· Sega

Developer:
· Sonic Team


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