According to ESRB, this game contains: Animated Blood, Animated Violence

Parents who might be concerned that their children will be exposed to all kinds of foul language will be relieved to know that the game has a built-on profanity filter that screens out most offensive words. However, just as in any online forum, the threat of sexual predators preying on the naïve is still a possibility. Since players can interact and communicate with people all over the world, parents should be very aware of their childs activities while allowing them to venture out to the virtual world that PSO offers. Other than that issue, the content in PSO can be described as family-friendly (meaning no overindulgence in sex, profanity or violence).

One other thing that should be noted by all gamers is the you cannot pause the game in PSO at any time due to the hindrance it would cause for persistent online play. While understandable, this makes life tough when you have to answer the door or pick-up the phone during intense battle situations. And finally, as a word of caution, most stores that sell Phantasy Star Online who usually accept returns will not take PSO back if you don't happen to like it. The reason for this is that the game uses the individual identification number of your Dreamcast when registering online, and once it's been online the game won't work on the network with another Dreamcast unit. Once you go on the network, there's no going back to the store if PSO isn't to your taste.

Long-time fans of Phantasy Star and fans of more traditional console RPGs might be a little bit disappointed in the new online incarnation. While PSO shares some graphical-style similarities and the presence of a Quest Guild, the game is a far cry from old-school turned-based RPGs that saw its finest moments on the 16-bit Genesis console. The combat is fairly simplistic, and there's no epic storyline to speak of either. However, those same fans who can keep an open mind and like new experiences may appreciate the bold new online multiplayer approach, which is a first for game consoles.

For console fans yearning for a PC game experience along the line Diablo II and Everquest, your prayers have been answered. Not only does PSO deliver the same kind of addictive gameplay, but it is also visually arresting, has some nice console touches and an amazing communication system that allows you to team-up with gamers all around the world.

Chi Kong Lui
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