Reviewed By: Freddie Freeman

Computer Platform: Sega Dreamcast Console
Produced by: Sega of America
Price Range: $50-55
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: 13+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: None
System Requirements: Dreamcast

Genre: RPG
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Screenshot from 'Phantasy Star Online' "Phantasy Star Online" has been in development for a few years now. Heralded as the most epic game yet in the famous “Phantasy Star” series which started with the now-obsolete Sega Master System. Promising eye-popping graphics, deep gameplay, and the ability to play online with thousands of players across the world has risen this game to the pinnacle of hype. Just released mere days ago (as of this original writing), is Phantasy Star Online an acceptable game in the eye's of God? Read on to find out.

Screenshot from 'Phantasy Star Online' Pioneer 1, a huge starship filled with thousands of colonists, landed on the planet Rygol 7 years ago. Pioneer 2 was created to bring even more colonists to the planet Rygol and had just entered orbit when a massive explosion on the planet occurred. All contact with the colonists of Pioneer 1 was lost. It is the player's mission to go through a series of quests and find out just what happened to the colonists.

Screenshot from 'Phantasy Star Online' Unlike traditional RPGs set in fantasy worlds of dragons, knights, and wizards, “Phantasy Star Online” sets the player in the far future in a distant galaxy. Phantasy Star Online is thus freed from the occultic references it could have had were it a “traditional” RPG. Instead of bows and arrows, swords, and goblins, there are rifles, laser swords, and odd-looking alien beasts. Violence is near non-existent; while the main focus of the game is to kill loads of monsters to progress your character, there is no blood to be found, nor do limbs fly or heads roll. There is no magical spells in the game, but instead there are “techniques”. Instead of blasphemous spellbooks, there are computer disks your character can study to learn things such as fireball and lightning. There are no references to spells in the game, though some weapons are considered “magical” by looking at their descriptions.

The game can be played by one's self or online with up to three other players. Players must work together and cannot attack each other. Parents worried about their children playing online with strangers should fear not; the game has a comprehensive word-filter and replaces curse words with random symbols.

“Phantasy Star Online” is one of those rare games that I believe is totally alright in God's eyes. Highly recommended.

Year of Release—2001

I would just like to point out that the language filter in this game is not necessarily a good thing. It only looks for sequences of letters, not the words themselves. Because of this, words like “pass”, which contain offensive words within them, will be censored. It is very annoying, and I would personally rather risk seeing a few swear words then not be able to see “saturday”. As for the “magic”, this games handles it as a kind of super advanced science, nothing mystical. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —C.E., age 19

…1) NO religious overtones to this game 2) NO satanic overtones to this game 3) It works best only when playing together, basically to do well in the game you need to get along. So far I see nothing SLIGHTLY OFFENSIVE about it. The gameplay rocks, as does the storyline about an ancient evil that needs to be exterminated. Now Dark Falz makes no pretentions about being a god, or even satan, so I don't see where you guys even got the idea its slightly offensive,
   —Nicholas Dodorico, age 23

“Phantasy Star Online” is a great game. Especially if you play online. I noticed that someone had a particular problem with it. First, may I say that any parent that lets their child on the Internet should keep a close eye on them. Play with a few select people and if they turn out to be okay (or if they are your friends) stick to them. There are a lot of weird people out there. That will not assure you that their language is fine but also they are trustworthy. Secondly, there is evil out in the world. Unfortunately, it's come in the form of the Gameshark in the PSO world. That doesn't mean you blame everyone for a few peoples wrongdoing. That also doesn't mean you get paranoid. Just stick to a few people/friends and you should hopefully avoid people with evil intentions. Why should this game be rated Mature? If you are offended by what others may say online, and don't know anyone on there, don't go. It's not required to complete the game. The game is rightfully rated. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Heather, age 20

Comments from Young People…

You have to read the messages throughout the game to figure out that Dark Falz is some god of war. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Freddie Freeman, age 17

Whatever the last person said about this game should be almost completely ignored. I've been playing PSO for a year now and it is not a pleasing game in God's eyes. The Game Shark@ has sprung new evil. From PKERS (player killer) to your every day wep stealers. The pkers have the abilities from killing other team mates and stealing their weps, to the worst ability of them all FSOD the (FROZEN SCREEN OF DEATH). This ability freezes your game and you can't use soft reset. The only way to get rid of it is to turn off your dreamcast and in doing so lose everything in your inventory. Other people have learned other ways to bypass the anti language filter, by doing things like putting spaces between the words for example like th is. This makes it so it is not bloched out and such. Guy players hit on girl players, with many many sexual innuendos. I think that this should be a game mainly for adults now because of all this. …the internet is still as dirty as ever. …be careful with your children when they go online with this game. help them too look for the good people online.
   —Aaron Williams, age 16

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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