Phantasy Star Portable Review
Phantasy Star Portable box art
System: PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: Alpha System 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 3, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Monsters and other foes will pop-up as you explore mission dungeons, and real-time battles engage seamlessly. In single-player mode, you're A.I.-controlled party members will run around blasting and hacking at enemies and using support magic with varying degrees of ability - generally straddling the line between helpfulness and ineptness.

Phantasy Star Portable screenshot

There's a staggering a variety of weapons and special ability add-ons in the game, which makes combat more interesting. You'll be able to equip everything from humongous swords and massive spears to high-caliber firepower and hand pistols. Some weapons require both hands to wield, while others are small enough to use in one. This lets you dual-wield pistols, swords, or a combination of the two. Since there's no way to pause the game on the battlefield, the handy Action Palette system lets you stack quite a few of your favorite weapons into a quick-access menu that lets you switch out your armaments in mid-fight or use items with ease. Engaging in innumerable battles and collecting equipment upgrades to up your killing prowess in subsequent battles in and of itself is one of the more addictive aspects of the game.

The third-person perspective gives you a decent view of the action, except when the camera occasionally flits around to awkward angles when turning. In the midst of battle, the game visuals are quite solid. Party members are nicely detailed and every minute change in your equipment, armor, and clothing is visible. Phantasy Star Portable's other areas are less visually stimulating. Actual animated cutscenes are infrequent, and free-roaming character interactions outside of battle have been cut down to oversimplified 2D overhead maps and menus.

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With so many options for weapons, equipment, abilities, items, clothing, and other things to purchase and uncover, delving into Phantasy Star Portable missions will quickly become addiction forming for players with a love for the grind (both level and loot varieties). Though the game's other aspects fall short in some regards, its strength and focus as a dungeon-hack RPG are hard to ignore.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
Everything looks good on the battlefield, but the lame 2D hub map and substantial lack of pizzazz and animation in story presentation chops things down a few notches.
3.8
Control
A few quirks aside (long-distance aiming in-particular), the game controls very well.
3.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Most of the audio is passable, but folks who aren't obsessed with JRPGs will find the voice acting painful.
3.9
Play Value
The story presentation isn't so hot, and the gameplay can get repetitive, but hunting for items, weapons, and gaining experience is addictive.
3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The Complete Phantasy Star Universe Experience On-the-Go: Longtime fans and new players to the series will enjoy the original content from PSU and PSU: Ambition of the Illuminus.
  • Exclusive New Content for the PSP: Phantasy Star Portable players will experience a whole new storyline and meet new characters, while the new record book feature keeps track of the over 150 new items the player can collect.
  • Customizable Avatar: Players can create their own avatar with the rich Character Creation system, or port in their character from the Phantasy Star™ Portable downloadable demo.
  • Multiplayer Mode: Up to four party members will team up via Sony wireless.


  • Screenshots / Images
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