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,
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.