Phantasy Star Portable Review

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Phantasy Star Portable

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Despite some notable flaws, Phantasy Star Portable is an addictive hack 'n slash.

We like

  • The variety of weapons and classes
  • The refined control scheme
  • Finding rare loot

We dislike

  • The poor presentation and static storytelling
  • The repetitive 'A' to 'B' mission structure
  • The unsatisfactory path-finding skills of party teammates

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(continued from previous page) ...combat. However, Phantasy Star Portable lacks variety in general gameplay; you spend the majority of your time moving from 'A' to 'B' though linear arenas wiping out enemies. The lack of scale also means that there’s not much room for exploration as you travel around a bland 2D map picking and choosing where to travel to rather than making your own way there. It just lacks the epic feel of Phantasy Star Online.

Where Portable fairs better is with its multiplayer game mode. Phantasy Star Online paved the way for online co-op play on consoles, so it's disappointing that you can't hook up with anyone online. You can, however, jump into a co-op local game with four friends and and participate in the decent range of missions on offer. Furthermore, it's far more exciting gathering loot and slaying monsters together rather than relying on some of your AI party's questionable path-finding skills.

Phantasy Star Portable is a bit of mixed bag. While it retains the pleasant essence of the Phantasy Star Universe, it offers nothing new, but rather strips down what it already had, skimps on presentation, and tries a little too hard to make it appeal to the handheld crowd by making combat the main attraction. However, the refined control scheme and the addictive leveling system can't be denied. Furthermore, the lure of some sweet loot will undoubtedly ensure that RPG fans will be motivated to grind through this sci-fi Universe, and they'll enjoy doing so.

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