“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Phantasy Star 0 on the DS is the latest offering in this series of sci-fi based dungeon crawlers. When Phantasy Star Online was released on the Dreamcast back in 2001, it managed to build an almost fanatical following. Can this incarnation deliver the same? Or will the dated gameplay simply not have enough to offer on the little Nintendo handheld?
Players get to create an avatar from the games limited customisation options and then they set off into a variety of different areas with only one goal. Defeating enemies. This will lead to the collection of experience and leveling up, which will , in turn, lead to more powerful enemies to defeat. The gameplay formula is relatively straight forward and is common amongst dungeon crawling games.
The story is not exactly memorable and will most likely be of little interest to the gamer. However, playing through the single player game will give access to a huge amount of loot. There is a staggering variety of weapons and such that can be collected. Sadly your computer controlled allies in single player certainly leave a lot to be desired, which makes it all the more important for the game to have a decent multiplayer mode.
And it does. Multiplayer is certainly the games high point. Teaming up with three buddies almost gives meaning to the game, something which is lacking in single player. Comparing loot is enjoyable and being able to fight alongside allies that are not completely useless is a definite bonus.
The player has the option to join friends using friend codes, or even to team up with complete strangers for some gaming fun. The random matchmaking does, however, only offer a limited service,with chat being limited to preset phrases. If you can find the friends to game with, though, the multiplayer mode certainly offers the most entertainment.
Anyone who remembers Phantasy Star Online will be instantly at home with the graphics of this game. The 3D graphics look really good on the handheld, really showing what the DS is capable of producing. The camera angle, on the other hand, feels too close and needs to be adjusted frequently.
Phantasy Star Zero is a curious beast. Whilst the original game is not really old enough to be called retro, it certainly is not modern. The same can be said for this game, with too many similarities to the original. That being said, PS0 offers incredible 3D graphics on the DS and a reasonable multiplayer mode. Fans will getÂ a lot out of this game but players of other, more modern dungeon crawlers may well find it disappointing.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”…but at least update it!