PSOBB Review: Travel through the stars!



By Mohammed Afzal (MageMoa), Onrpg writer

Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst (PSOBB) is a game created by Sega. It was on the market from 1999/2000 until 2008. The game servers got shut down due many reasons and since then, there is only one way to play PSOBB; Find a private server!
In Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst you will have to battle through dungeons, finish many missions, team up with your friends, kill lots of bosses and obtain many unique items!
You will be amazed from the beginning until the end!



Gameplay

When you get ingame, you will be able to create a character. You can choose between a few races and 3 classes.

The different races are: Mar (male human), Marl (female human), Newm (elf male), Newearl (elf female), Cast (male android), and Caseal (female android).

The races have different looks and equipment. They also specialize in different things. Androids can’t use magic, while elves and humans can. Androids do have the ability of setting traps, which can be very useful at some dungeons.

The three classes are: Hunter (melee), Ranger (range) and Force (magic). All classes are able to use magic, ranged weapons and melee weapons, but since a Hunter doesn’t specialize in range, it can take a while before he can use decent guns etc.

The class and race that you pick, will give you a certain ‘name’. This has been developed, because people thought it was annoying to say that you were an Android Ranger or anything like that. You can find this name on your ID, but you can also just find it out yourself. The way to do this is to get the first two letters of your class (Ra, Fo or Hu) and paste them to your race (Mar, Marl, Newm etc.). This way you will get names like HuNewearl (Female Elf Hunter) and FoMar (Male Human Force).

When you have chosen a class and race, you will be able to customize your character. There are like twenty suits with different colors for each race. There are also a few hair styles. You can choose the color of your hair yourself by adding more green, red or blue. You will always be able to change your looks before going ingame.

And then it is finally time to get ingame! Choose your ship (server) and block (channel) and you will be teleported to the waiting room.

Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst is a roombased game which means that you will have to create your own game or join someone else’s.

If you want to join a game, there are a few things to remember. First of all, there are different play modes (easy, hard, very hard and ultimate). There are also different modes such as Normal mode, Challenge mode and One Player mode.

Challenge mode places a group of up to 4 players starting at a specific level with specific items and equipment through a predetermined stage. In Challenge mode, the droprate of items is very different from a normal mode game. Other than that, you will be able to get expensive and rare items as a reward. If your time is low enough you will get an S-rank, which is the highest rank ingame. The higher your rank, the better the rewards are.

The ranks of the game from low to high are: E, D, D+, C, C+, B, B+, A, A+, S.

Most people do Challenge mode just to get rare items so they can sell them to earn a lot of money.

One Player mode is just like Normal mode, but you are only able to go through the stages if you are alone. One player mode has different missions and most people actually just do it for fun.

The game also has four different episodes. The episodes are based on the storyline so they’ll help you to figure out what has happened in the past. These episodes have different maps and different monsters which will give you even more to explore!
Every character starts off with a MAG. You can see those MAGs as pets that give you bonus stats. These pets have to be feeded to level up. When you get a full photon blast (effect of damage, defense, healing, support etc.), you will be able to use one of the special magical powers of your MAG. These powers deal a lot of damage which is very handy when you have to fight bosses.

The combat of the game is very unique. Since Phantasy Star Online games are also available on different consoles, you will find yourself pushing many different buttons at a time to stay alive. It certainly takes some skill to finish off your enemies easily. You don’t have to click on an enemy and wait until they die. You will have to aim (there is some kind of auto-aim though) and dodge attacks of your enemy to defeat your foes.

Blue Burst also has some extra features. There is PvP, but it is very complicated and strict. As an example, you will not be able to attack someone that got knocked down and if you use support magic, your opponent will also be buffed.

The graphics of the game are pretty dated. The characters are a bit blurry; monsters cannot be distinguished from one another and it appears as though the pixels in the dungeons have been stretched.



Conclusion

Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst gives us the feeling of being in a totally different world. The game was amazing when it came out, but it will never be able to survive in the next generations of games.

Dated graphics, repetitive missions and dull gameplay are the reasons why this game couldn’t survive in the world of MMOs. And yet, you will be wondering why the game has been so popular and how it has been able to survive for eight years. The answer is actually pretty simple; Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst gives us an oldschool feel combined with the simplicity of a modern game.


Pros:

- Many features

- Unique combat

- Requires skill

- Amusing dungeons



Cons:

- Dated graphics

- Lack of balance

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