Be a star or just look like one.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Game Revolution. Our top story tonight comes from a brand new planet in a universe known as Phantasy Star Online. Recently discovered by Sega, the universe marks a milestone in console video gaming. For late breaking coverage, we now go on scene to our field editor, Brian Gee.
Thanks, guys. Upon learning about Sega's new discovery, the GR espionage team (uh… I guess that's me) was sent planetside on a fact-finding mission. I have since infiltrated the new planet, dubbed Ragol, and have been getting in on the action for the past few weeks.
Initial reports show that there was a massive explosion on the planet. All contact with the first colony, known as Pioneer 1, was lost. Unfortunately, that's all we know. No one has any idea as to what caused the explosion or if any of the colonists survived.
Several weeks ago, I arrived on the Pioneer 2, which was orbiting the planet. Since I couldn't very well go down as a dashing GR reporter, port authorities asked me to choose from one of nine professions for my cover. Also, my normal threads seemed too stylish for the locals, so I was whisked away to the stylist and given a ton of options that would drastically change my appearance. My own mother wouldn't have recognized me.
So in the guise of my new character, I made my way to the lobby where people were gathering. I talked to several others and found out that visitors from all over Earth were embarking on the same journey to Ragol. Chatting with others was a breeze due to my handy-dandy personal communication device (a Dreamcast keyboard). Others had to make due with the slow-going controller pad comm, but at least it still worked. Even those who didn't speak english were able to communicate with me via customizable emoticons (those little happy face symbols).
I should mention that the planet isn't populated with all the different visitors at once. This isn't a persistent world like we found when GR visited Britannia (Ultima Online) or Norrath (Everquest). You can only explore the planet with up to 3 others at a time.
After speaking with a few folks, I was ready to get to work. At the information booth, I was able to quickly organize a team and head down to the planet.
Nothing quite prepared me for how beautiful the planet looked. The forest that my team started in was filled with lush greens and a bright blue sky. Even the pools of water and the light that spilled through the trees were breathtaking. I would also go on to explore the three other regions of the planet: the Caves, a Mine, and the Ruins. Each area was highly detailed and quite attractive. It's no wonder the settlers of Pioneer 1 came to Ragol.
Strangely, something on the planet began to affect my eyes. It's like someone placed them directly behind my back, somewhat limiting my view. There were even a few occasions where I couldn't see much of anything at all! It's a good thing I was able to get used to it. After awhile, it didn't really bother me.
Before long, though, monsters began popping up left and right. My team got to work and simply obliterated the opposition using various energy swords, guns, and magical techniques. No one took turns, so we just unleashed our offenses at will. Unfortunately, the monsters got our cameraman, so please enjoy the bits of video that we managed to pry from the jaws of an evil shark.
Surprisingly, there isn't a wide variety of life on Ragol. Only a handful of monster types were found in each area. Each type often had a few sub-species, but they all ended up looking the same after several trips into the fray.
What really shocked me, however, was the fact that they were all stupid. Who knows, maybe they're inbred. With the exception of the big bad boss monsters, the creatures of Ragol have the intelligence of a box of rocks. Maybe it's some kind of territorial thing, but monsters never ever want to leave their immediate area. Enter their zone and most will slowly lumber towards you, but as soon as you step outside the lines, they'll just wander back to their favorite spot. They will also occasionally run in circles, giving you plenty of chances to take pot shots at them from a distance.
With all of the running around, killing hordes of monsters, and collecting cool weapons, thoughts of a little PC game I used to play on Earth called Diablo II sprung to my head. Much of the fun to be had on Ragol has to do with becoming a more powerful entity and seeking out new, never before seen weapons of mass destruction. Just exploring the planet is actually kind of boring.
The hunter's guild offers paying jobs as mini-quests, but they too are just more of the same running around and killing the same monsters. I had the opportunity to go it alone on several occasions and believe me, it's not fun. Killing monsters with a good team of newfound friends is the only way to go. Sometimes it's even the way you have to go, as some situations are virtually impossible to handle without someone watching your back.
This is where the other half of the fun on Ragol lies. Interacting with total strangers and learning to work together makes for a great experience. It's also an awesome feeling when you help out those less fortunate than you. Without this type of interaction, the planet is just plain and boring. Going planetside alone is almost as bad as being forced to play a bad game for hours on end.
I'd really love to tell you what I discovered at the end, but a savage wolf managed to eat my notebook. What I will tell you is that the story wasn't much of a story at all. So for all you readers out there that are hoping for a whopper of a tale, I hope you can be satisfied with a mere kid's meal.
My time spent on Ragol was enjoyable, though I've had even better assignments in the past. Still, I may just hang out here for a while longer before I head back to GR. The natives are restless and there are plenty of new friends to meet. Brian Gee, signing off.