Some of my greatest memories ever playing a game come from Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast. In 2001 when the game launched, I was (sometimes) attending an undemanding community college in the morning, three days a week, and working part-time at a video game store in the afternoon. My evenings were spent in Ragol, the world in which PSO takes place. I played online with co-workers, friends, and even customers of the store where I worked. It was one of the best time periods of my single life.
The party ended once hackers broke the game by duping items. Even some of my usual teammates couldn’t resist the temptation of ultra-powerful, rare items and succumbed to the duping scene. For some of us, this killed the entire experience- without challenge and better loot on the horizon, what was the point?
PSO Ver.2 came out, fixing some of the hacking issues, but it was too late. My crew was disbanded as they either didn’t want to pay the monthly fee or were just burnt out on the game and had moved on to other obsessions such as EverQuest. I bought PSO Ver.2, but didn’t even put 1/100th of the time into it as I did the original.
I dabbled with subsequent releases of PSO over the years, from Episode I & II on GameCube to, more recently, the PC version of Blue Burst. While I acknowledge that both of these versions of PSO are superior to the Dreamcast iterations, I still just love playing on the DC, and to be perfectly honest, I feel like I have a bit of unfinished business with Ver.2.
My goal for this project is pretty simple- complete Ver.2 offline and determine if it’s A) even possible for a fairly average-skilled PSO player like myself to solo, and B) enjoyable. I tried something similar with the PC version a while back, but it fizzled out pretty quickly (OK real talk: I lost my login information). But this time I’m hella serious. I’m going to come right out and say that completing Ver.2 solo in 2014 is my New Years Resolution- now it’s officially official. I plan to post each week about my progress until I finish the game, and then do a wrap-up at the end. I don’t expect this to be interesting to anyone, but I’m doing it anyway. The benefit of running a blog that costs nothing and brings in no revenue is that I don’t have to write things people actually want to read :-)
OK, so maybe I lied a bit up there- I’m not exactly going into this endeavor completely alone. I have a BRAND NEW copy of the original PSO guide written by Casey Loe (and Nick Rox) COMPLETE WITH POSTER to help me through. Sure, the information is probably outdated and/or doesn’t apply to Ver.2, but it’s pretty so whatever. And no, I’m not going to be using the internet for tips, builds, etc. When I say Phantasy Star Offline, I mean Offline!
Now, let’s restart the party (solo) like it’s 2001…
Read week 1 here!