> The original Phantasy
Star Online (PSO) set the standard for online capable console
games, when it graced Dreamcast owners in December 2000. After signing
on with Nintendo to develop/publish games for GameCube
(GC), Sega quickly announced that PSO would
be coming to the big N's latest console. At first it was reported
that the GC would receive a direct port of Phantasy
Star Online Ver.2 (PSOv.2). The latest report indicates
that it will definitely be called Phantasy Star Online Episode I
& II (PSOeI&II).
> As you know, the GC is not internet ready like the Dreamcast.
Therefore, the first question is, what will Nintendo sell
to make the GC online capable? The answer is two adapters -- a dial-up
Modem Adapter and a Broadband Adapter. They are to be released in
America this fall for an affordable price of $34.99 each. The next
question is, what will it cost you for a Hunter's License, which is what
you need to connect to Sega's servers? Assuming Sega
continues along the same route as PSOv.2, you can expect
to pay around $3/month to play PSOeI&II. Also,
will there be a keyboard? Yes, and in Japan, it's coming from ASCII
(no price yet; probably $20). Lastly, aside from the above expenses,
your ISP fees, and possible calling charges, will there be any hidden costs?
According to Nintendo, they will allow royalty-free network
games to be released by third party publishers. I would assume that
gives you enough information to calculate your cost to play PSOeI&II.
> I'm sure many people want to know if you can successfully import this
game and go online with it. No firm word on whether or not this will
be feasible, but I would guess it will be just as complicated as doing
it for Dreamcast. It may be, however, that current
Dricas members will have an easier time.
> PSOeI&II contains two games: Episode I
is reportedly a port of PSOv.2, while Episode II ostensibly
contains the new features of this game. So what will be new in Sonic's
latest ubergame? For one thing, three new character types will be
included: HUcaseal (Hunter Android Woman), RAmarl (Ranger Human Woman),
and FOmar (Force Human Man). One of the new locales will be a Jungle
area, which will feature wetlands, lots of foliage, and a seashore.
Plenty of new enemies and bosses are planned as well. One new boss
(pictured below) is a huge griffin, which wields tornado and sonic boom
attacks! Some new enemies are Native flying insects (with paralysis
needle attacks), Native gibbons (which attack in groups), A.Beast walking
flowers, and a Machine stealth robot. That's about all I know for
now, but I'll update this preview as necessary.