Games You Slept On – Phantasy Star 0
By Shawn Wilson On 7 Dec, 2010 At 03:16 AM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Nintendo DS, Reviews | With 1 Comment

No GravatarSEGA released Phantasy Star 0 (Zero) for Nintendo DS in North America on November 10th of last year. This would be Sonic Team’s 3rd in the series of online Phantasy Star games. However, the game’s story is considered a prequel to the preceding Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe games.

This game is very reminiscent of Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast, and it brought back many memories of playing the DC classic.

Now, on to the game. The first thing I noticed was that SEGA, unfortunately, removed the Japanese opening theme song. Oh well, nothing too major.

Japanese intro:

The graphics are typical for a DS game, but are kind of fuzzy at the same time. The graphics are not too bad, and the game still looks really good. The top screen is used for all the action and the bottom screen is used for your map, chat, and menus.

The sound is a bit tiny, and not as good as I would have expected. The music is good, but nothing memorable like Phantasy Star Online’s soundtrack.

When you first start the game, you have 3 save slots to use with 3 characters. You can choose from different types of races: Humans, CASTs and Newmans. After choosing your race, you can then choose your class which include: Hunter, Ranger and Force.

There isn’t much when it comes to customizing your character. Just a few options for clothes color, head shape and MAG color . There is a dressing room on the main menu that lets you redo your character if need be. There is also an in-game “Joint Trunk” that lets you share items with all of your characters.

The controls are almost exactly like PSO on the Dreamcast. You have 2 palettes that you switch with the R button. Each palette has 3 action buttons. Y= Strong Attack, B= Dodge/Roll. A= Light Attack. The second palette can be used for TECHs, MATEs and other items. The L button is used to reset the camera. You can also lock-on your targets when holding it down, and strafe similar to that in Phantasy Star Universe. The quick menu is a bit slow. You have to hold L+Start to bring it up. Not as easy to switch weapons and TECHs when in the heat of battle.

You do weapon photon attacks by holding down an attack button for a few seconds and release.  Zero uses the old PSO “3 hit combo” attack scheme. Something they threw out the window when they did Phantasy Star Universe. Photon Blasts are done by holding L+R for a few seconds. Your teammates can also boost your PB by holding L+R within your PB symbol.

Story mode is much improved over the original PSO. Each race has a different storyline. With different responses to choose from while talking, the outcome can be different later on. This gives a much welcome boost to the single player experience. You also encounter many characters who will join you in your quest. Later, you can have them join you when you want to go XP grinding or rare hunting.

As you progress through each level, you encounter many types of monsters and each monster has a specific “element” weakness. Luckily, you can find and purchase weapons with specific elemental attacks which makes your encounters easier to handle. At the end of each level, you’re greeted with an enormous “boss” to deal with. These fights are significantly tougher and some of them can take multiple tries before victory is succeeded.

Wi-Fi multiplayer mode was the seller for me. Although, not as robust as previous Phantasy Star games. First thing you’ll notice when you play online is there is no lobbies. You can only play online with friends (must have their Friend Code) or with random people in “Free Play”. Free Play uses a matchmaking service that will team you together with others that are of similar level. Chat is limited to pre-made phrases when playing in Free Play mode. You have full chat when playing with friends.

There is no drop in/drop out play. So when someone leaves the game, no one else can take that spot. There is a “Play Alone” mode which means what it says. You can play the online mode by yourself while waiting for friends to log on. A sound will play with a flashing icon to let you know when someone is online.

Loot is different than the previous games and for the better I think. Enemies no longer drop loot. Instead, after you clear a room, a large container will appear. When you open it, items will pour out. Here’s what I think is neat. Every bit of the loot is yours. Everyone gets their own set of loot. So, no more ninja looters! Boxes in the field work the same way. Trading loot is done a bit different as well. You and the person you are trading with must go to a counter in town and choose to trade. You cannot drop loot for someone to pick up.

I recommend this to any Phantasy Star Online veteran or anyone looking for a solid online multiplayer game for their Nintendo DS. I’ve clocked in over 60 hours of game play and my current level is 77. It’s been 1 year since the initial release and I’m still having fun! Wi-Fi is busy as long as you’re playing on Hard or Super Hard. Pick it up if you haven’t already!

Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. I like the Phantasy Star Series. I played this one for a while, great multiplayer. Honestly though, I feel the PSP Phantasy Star Portable games are so much better.

%d bloggers like this: