What do you love about PSO's design?


Lonely Driver
I don't mean "I love the community and the memories I've made," I want something a bit more substantial. Something I've been writing up and working on in my spare time is designing and starting to build a little pet project of an MMO, and PSO has given me a lot of awesome inspiration for various aspects of MMO design. Its a very unique game, apart from just being a very "ahead of its time" MMO regarding the whole being first on consoles and being an action packed MMO with massive endgame compared to target based PC MMOs. The game's approach to gearing, leveling, difficulties, its all very, very clever and I can tell that Sonic Team definitely knew what they were doing when they created this game.

I feel a lot of MMOs nowadays focus too hard on being an "Everyone can get everything with ease" experience that eliminates almost all sense of accomplishment from beating super hard bosses or getting super rare gear. High drop rates that aren't earned, easier to clear content, automation, lack of things like PvE leaderboards and PvP bragging rights or leagues (Ala Old School Runescape or Arena in WoW). MMOs nowadays feel like they're trying to appeal to people who don't have time, effort or skill in order to ruin the sense of immersion within the world and ruin the sense of community. It feels like these amazing worlds or universes game's put us in nowadays are just animated lobbies for matchmaking systems rather than a vast world that we need to explore and interact with on all sorts of levels that house thousands upon thousands of fellow players that are worth talking to and interacting with. I feel like PSO to this day does a lot right that MMOs have either forgotten or still don't do well, and I suppose that's part of the reason its become my new crack.

BUT that's off topic, I suppose. What I'm essentially asking is what about PSO's design whether its level design, art style, RPG mechanics, gearing, drops, questing etc etc. ANYTHING about PSO that you like or appreciate. I guess if you could take it a step further, if you could add or change ANYTHING about PSO's design to improve the game (let your imagination run wild don't think small QoL changes think MASSIVE) what would you add or change and why do you think PSO could greatly benefit from those changes? I'm mostly asking out of morbid curiosity as someone who's only spent 50ish hours in-game vs you dudes that have spent hundreds if not thousands being more knowledgeable on the game's strengths and flaws, as well as me just looking for general inspiration for my own project.


Hey Man, Nice Shot
The art style is amazing, and not something you saw often at all when PSO was current. A lot of intricate work went into the language/background terminals, things like that.

I like how playing generally gives you a sense of progression, with EXP, and drops to help power up your character. Personally, I never feel like I'm grinding for nothing.


I like the character designs. They have that timeless feel to them and they don't look dated. I don't know how many times I keep looking at the artbooks for this series.

Also I like the general tone. PSU and the later games are now just super bright but at least it is not screaming sci-fi all over your face.


Lonely Driver
Yeah, art design feels very unique and like a great mix of your stereotypical anime, stereotypical sci-fi and stereotypical fantasy all mushed into one ball of awesome with tons of unique touches put on everything. Very few games manage to feel as fresh as PSO does from an art perspective. While PSO2 looks gorgeous I gotta admit it just looks like stereotypical anime sci-fi and the visuals just don't grab me or stand out


70% of my body is made of baseball.
PSO's aesthetics and sound (especially music) have done a great job of creating a world that is simultaneously futuristic and hopeful and also rather melancholy and sad, which is characteristic of the original Phantasy Star series too. I can't really think of any other game that has hit that balance as well as PSO does. When it came out on the Dreamcast, I played PSO with a sort of wild-eyed wonder: the way it sparked my imagination was what appealed to me most. It felt like I was a small part of an awesome, exciting world with other people. Granted, I was a kid, it was the turn of the millennium, and I was playing an online action RPG on my Dreamcast, over dial-up. It was kinda hard not to feel that way.

Now, fifteen years later, my hair is slowly going grey, I'm a bit pudgy, and I'm not nearly as much of a Gamer-with-a-capital-G as I used to be. What stands out to me now is how understated and melancholy PSO is compared to games in similar settings/genres. It still has its "oh snap" moments of badassery — Olga Flow's final form still stands out to me, and I remember the stupid grin I had watching that cutscene for the first time. I still enjoy the loot grind. But PSO just feels like one of the coolest fictional worlds I've been able to play in because I can't think of anything like it I've experienced. Above everything else, that is why PSO will endure in my memory long after I've stopped playing it. I also just bloody love the soundtrack and genuinely teared up hearing the opening bars of the forest theme as played by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra last year for the 15th anniversary.

Of course, with the advent of voice chat, PSO lends itself well to being the ultimate "talk shit with friends, kill shit with friends" game. I have not yet found a game that does that as well as PSO.


The art, like others have stated, is fantastic. its a strange blend of anime and western comic style with a bit of its own thing going on. it's unique and immediately recognizable.

I might be a minority on this, but one of the things I've always loved is PSO's story. The core narrative is actually quite simple, space Satan has been released from his prison, go beat him up. however its presented as a mystery the player has to solve. The game uses environmental story telling (monsters in a cave under the central dome are classified as "altered beasts" and De Rol Le being fought in a strangely artificial looking tunnel are examples of this) as well as giving clues through the logs of rico/flowen to slowly move the player toward the truth. It perfectly compliments the somewhat melancholy and unnerving feel of the art and music in the game. On top of that, none of the npcs know what is happening either and anyone who has an idea seems to suddenly go missing. It gives an almost metroid like feeling of isolation as you slowly explore a dangerous unknown world, which only further underpins the mystery and desire to figure out what is happening.

From a game design side, I think the best part about the story is that its not forced on you. You are never bombarded with walls of text or cutscenes in the middle of play if you dont want to read it. All the story related content is in its own little section apart form the main multiplayer maps. If you do decide you want to read them later, you can do so at your own leisure. The worst thing in an MMO is when your playing with friends and forced to stop and read story, only to have 3 of the 4 people not care and skip it. Then the 4th person who wants to read is either pressured to skip it as well to keep up with the group, or the other 3 have to wait around for that one guy to finish reading. It ends up as an uncomfortable and miserable experience for everyone.

I could go on for pages on what I like, but I'll cut the rest down. The game is very open ended, letting you do what ever you want at your own pace. The fact that it is more of an action game means we get proper hit boxes, meaning players have the ability to actually dodge attacks, which in not possible in autoattack mmos. Attacks have set animations and start/end lag, so every attack needs to be a conscious decision that carries consequences. This also makes attacks feel weighty and satisfying. Its just fun to shoot boomas in the face, it feels good. Also I like the enemy names, they are (mostly) simple, easy to remember and roll off the tongue well.

To balance out all the fanboy praising, I don't like how much information is hidden. We should be able to see how many of each material we have used on a character as well as what the max is for example. being able to see weapon stats (not just the change in stats when we equip them) or proc rates of specials like blizzard or panic in the weapon description. I cant make a plan or have fun messing with my character if I don't know what I have to work with.
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Without rain, nothing grows.
What I love about PSO's design...hmm...

-HUnewearls are sexy aff!

-There is actually a bunch of programs to make the game more visually better. @Cyb3r_ZER0 showed me a few things, However I have the lack of 'a decent computer' to do anything.

-I do have a bunch of skin/oggs/sounds/effect that I am currently playing around testing for my own preferences. (As it brings a fresh presence to the game after 15 years of the same look and sound..)
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