An American DS release isn't due until sometime in the fall but I am an impatient bastard and decided to "import" a copy of the Japanese game. I've been playing for a few weeks now and I must say that I'm very excited about an English version of this one. The language barrier was a bit of a turn off at first as it took me a long time just to figure out how to teleport from town to the first stage (talk to either the chick wearing glasses or the mayor). Once I actually dug in and got into the game it was really easy to play, especially since I'm already a veteran of Phantasy Star Online (schthack ftw).
This game has more storyline than PSO, often in huge walls of Japanese moonmanspeak and sometimes in the form of anime cutscenes, but all that can be easily skipped through. The characters have a more cutesy-anime look to them, but I'm beginning to realize that's pretty much standard fare for DS games (especially rpg's) these days. The graphics are pretty good and the scenery is a quite a bit more detailed than PSO, but the characters still look kinda pixelated...also standard fare for DS games these days.
Wifi multiplayer is where this game really shines the most. This one of the few DS games where I didn't feel like the online play was severely lacking. In fact, I would go as far to say that this is the best wifi experience I've ever had with the DS. Just like PSO, you can get together in groups of four and dungeon hack to your little hearts' content. It's rly fun with four players running around slashing, shooting and fireballing anything that moves. Even with Japanese players, there's almost no lag whatsoever.
One wifi mode randomly teams you up with three other players. When playing with random strangers, the game gives you chat buttons in both Japanese and English. Most of these are all simple phrases like "Follow me", "Please heal me, or "Congratulations!!". This is a pretty nice function as it allows communication in both languages, but limits how much you can say to your teammates.
When playing with people on your friends list the game allows you to use a sort of pictochat function to actually scribble out and send your messages using the stylus. I havn't had many chances to play in this mode but it's great so far. The first fully-functional mmorpg for DS w00t!
There's also a wifi mode for playing by yourself online. When one of your friends logs in, you can invite them to join the game that you're currently playing. It's a good way to pass time while waiting for a friend.
I had a lot more to say about Phantasy Star Zero but I think I'll stop here. Bottom line is that this is a really good sequel to Phantasy Star Online with lots of new features, weapons, and a couple of new character classes. Phantasy Star Zero will be a great DS title once it hits shelves here in the U.S.
If you're a fan of the Phantasy Star series and into imports or you just happen to own a flash cart, I recommend you give this game a try. If you need help figuring out parts of the game I'm pretty sure I can help. I havn't got it entirely figured out but well enough to get around.
If you're new to Phantasy Star or you find too much Japanese text to be intimidating, you should try the old PSO. It was a great game back in the day and there's still a free server up and running for PC, Dreamcast and Gamecube players. Just google "schthack".
Friend code: leth 0259-5227-2124
May you continue to be a Messiah.
this topic makes me want to re-buy a dreamcast. it was that much fun, and im really looking forward to the DS version
I still play Blue Burst for PC a lot. Much better than the Dreamcast one. There's a certain amount of nostalgia that comes with playing it on the Dreamcast like the gods originally intended, but Blue Burst has much more stuff and I don't have a Dreamcast network adapter.
Phantasy Star Zero is a pretty good step up from the originals and much, much better than Phantasy Star Universe.
May you continue to be a Messiah.