Phantasy Star Zero was formally released in Europe and Australia over the last couple of days. Australian players can pick up the game for 70 Aussie Dollars. European players will have to pay 39,95 Euros for the game. If you are new to the game and need help getting started, be sure to check out the Phantasy Star Zero Item Database and Guides section. Stop by the Phantasy Star Zero forum if you have any questions or would like to arrange matchups with fellow PSO-World players.
The European version of Phantasy Star Zero was recently reviewed by Simon Bramble of the British-based Official Nintendo Magazine. The reviewer had mixed impressions of the game and gave it a 71/100 rating. He felt the offline mode suffered from repetitive gameplay, a troublesome camera, and questionable help from the NPCs. The online mode proved to be its saving grace:
"Online, the joy of loot collection is magnified. When you work together as a team to defeat a group of enemies and share the rewards, there's a rare feeling of having earned it. Online, the monotony of walking through randomly generated locales is lightened by being shown what your mate thinks your mum looks like. Online, you'll see the three-strike combat system working almost in rhythm, and very impressive it is too."Credit goes to mid Knight for finding this review. You can share your feedback in this forum thread.
Vooks, an Australian Nintendo news site, is reporting that Sega has announced that Phantasy Star Zero will be released in Australia on February 11th. The game will cost $69.95. It scheduled to be released along-side Bleach: The 3rd Phantom. This news will be useful to our lone Australian forum member.
For the last couple of weeks, there has been a conspicuous lack of reviews for Phantasy Star Zero among the major North American video game sites. It appears this is starting to change as 1Up's Dustin Quillen has released his review for the game. Overall, he felt disappointed with the game and gave it a B- rating. He cited the game's "high-maintenance camera, imprecise controls, and lousy user interface" as flaws. Also, he felt the game's Phantasy Star Online-like gameplay mechanics gave it a dated feel. However, he still feels Phantasy Star Zero is a decent 3D Nintendo DS game.
Just a reminder that the official soundtrack for Phantasy Star Zero is out there and available for ordering, though it looks like this one may remain a Japan-exclusive release for the time being. The soundtrack, consisting of a whopping four discs, includes 106 tracks worth of Phantasy Star goodness. If you're craving the sounds of Zero while you're not spending countless hours in the game (or maybe you just need something new to listen to while playing your other favorite Phantasy Star games), head on over to PlayAsia, where they are currently offering 10% off for a limited time. Thanks to Cranberry for the news tip!
Phantasy Star Zero has been officially released in North America! Depending on where you live, you maybe able to find a copy at your local Gamestop. Other major retailers are expected to receive their copies by the end of the week. If you are lucky enough to pick up a copy, be sure to share your experiences and thoughts in our Phantasy Star Zero forum. Do not forget to check out PSO-World's new Phantasy Star Zero content section.
Phantasy Star Zero was formally sent out for shipping earlier today. According to numerous reports, most Gamestop stores and other retailers expect to have it in-store on November 11th. In the meantime, be sure to check our Phantasy Star Zero forum and stay tuned to PSO-World for the latest Phantasy Star Zero news.
PSO-World.com staffer HUnewearl_Meira and his family attended the Phantasy Star Zero Community Day Event at Sega Headquarters on November 4th. Attached to this news story is his report on the evening's activities. This includes his experiences playing the English version of Phantasy Star Zero and meeting with Satoshi Sakai. Be sure to click on the "Read More" link to read his report. You can discuss this event in this forum thread.
Everyone needs to buy five copies of Phantasy Star Zero. Everyone. Five copies. Get your pre-orders in, right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait for you to come back from Amazon or GameStop, or wherever you like to establish your pre-orders. It’s all good.
Now that we’ve gotten that all out of the way, and you’ve secured your five copies, I can get down to business. The simple of it, is that the Phantasy Star Zero Community Day Event was a blast, and we all made out like bandits. When my wife and I arrived, we were very soon greeted by Sega’s staff, which included none other than such recognizable names as RubyEclipse, ClumsyOrchid and our champion from the days of Endless Error 60, Edward@Sega. After the Non-Disclosure Agreements were signed (after all, we might have accidentally seen some other stuff, which we weren’t supposed to see, just yet), RubyEclipse took us, in groups, into the Focus Room. When we were all settled in, the staff was introduced to us, and the goodie-bags were distributed. There were only two items in each goodie-bag: An inflatable rappy (the very same devices which we are currently giving away, here at PSO-World), and a copy of Phantasy Star Zero, which we were soon informed, was ours to keep. We were given a period of about two and a half hours or so, to play the game. During this time, they presented us with sushi, Japanese sweets, sodas and energy drinks. Apparently, “Venom” is the energy drink of choice at Sega of America, though RubyEclipse’s enthusiasm for encouraging us to leave no can unconsumed, leads me question the local loyalty to that brand. for what it’s worth, there are much worse energy drinks, than Venom. This part of the event started with the whole lot of us levelling to level 3 or higher in Offline Story mode. Once we were all this prerequisite level, we teamed up into groups, via DS Wireless Play. My group was formed by our own Nai_Calus, and as assigned “Team 6”. On the approach of the next segment, however, we dubbed ourselves, “Team Phail”. After running around for a while, we proceeded on to the competitive segment, which was, the reason why we were, Team Phail. All teams started from the city, and on GO, we proceeded through the warp, to a frozen tundra, rife with moose-wolves and Yeti-Gibbles (which were quite abominable, indeed). Team Phail came in dead last, and thus, we were not so privileged, as to receive PS0 figurines or PSU Texters.
After the race through the frozen wastes was complete, the next big surprise was revealed. Our group was to participate in a teleconference with Satoshi Sakai of Sonic Team. After writing down our questions (and once the call was placed), RubyEclipse read off our questions, Sonic Team’s translator translated them to Japanese, Satoshi Sakai answered, and the translator translated the answers to English. I had the foresight to take some notes, and I’ll now paraphrase what happened. To be clear, this is not word for word, as I did not have the foresight to bring a recording device, and I can only take notes so fast.
Q: Why did you choose to make Phantasy Star for the portable consoles?
A: We wanted to broaden the appeal and audience of Phantasy Star, and handheld consoles tend to be more popular among younger and older players.
Q: Why was Phantasy Star Online chosen as the basis for Phantasy Star Zero’s gameplay?
A: On the Nintendo DS, we don’t really have a whole lot of buttons to work with, so we wanted to keep the interface fairly simple.
Q: Are there any plans to make a clear story line connection to the original series?
A: You’ll have to play the game to find out!
Q: What made you chose to call it, Phantasy Star “Zero”?
A: We really wanted to convey the impression, that we were going back to the beginning, and building from the ground up. Also, because the gameplay is based on Phantasy Star Online, and PS0 looks like PSO.
Q: Will there be any more console Phantasy Star games?
A: HMMM! (Seriously, that was the immediate reaction to this question) If the handheld versions are successful, then we’ll likely bring Phantasy Star back to the consoles. You should all go out and buy five copies!
Q: Will there be more Phantasy Star games on handheld consoles?
A: Maybe if everyone buys five copies. Seriously though. if Phantasy Star Zero and Phantasy Star Portable are successful, then yes. Please, everyone! Buy five copies! (The “five copies” thing was in jest, of course, though I’m sure they’d appreciate it, regardless.)
Q: Is anyone one on your team interested in making new installations of other classic franchises, such as Burning Rangers or Nights?
A: Um... Well, maybe; anything’s possible.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
A: Yes, we’d like to say that we appreciate all of you coming to our little event, and buy five copies! Also, we’ve got some big things planned for the 10th Anniversary of PSO, coming next year, so keep an eye out for that.
After the teleconference, we returned to the Focus Room, engaged in some trivia and RubyEclipse raffled off some Sega games. At some point in there, we were regaled with anecdotes from PSU’s GMs, about how they came to have their current jobs. A special point was made to emphasize that the GMs play the game, just like we do, and they’re really meant to be our voice in Sega’s ear.
In conclusion, I’d say that a great time was had by all. I’d like to publicly thank RubyEclipse and the rest of the staff at Sega of America for having us, and also for bending over backwards to accommodate my wife and two week old daughter. The way we were treated was truly top rate.
Also, we’ve got pictures taken at the event, which can be found in this new gallery.
Unlike Phantasy Star Portable, there exists an English strategy guide for Phantasy Star Zero. *The BradyGames guide is shipping this week (a week prior to the game itself) and retails for $17.99. There are, of course, retailers offering it for less.
Usually, there is no more merchandising for Phantasy Star in the west beyond the games, so this book definitely deserves a mention. *Just as a reminder, we will have expanded information on the game ourselves in the near future. Until then, 144 full-color pages may have to sate the current desire for (organized) English reference material.
If you've went ahead and obtained the guide, please post your thoughts in the comments section below or in this forum thread.