Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst
From Sega Retro
|Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst|
|System(s): Windows PC|
|Publisher: Sega (Japan, US), Zarva Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd (China)|
|Developer: Sonic Team|
|Number of players: 1|
Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst (ファンタシースターオンライン ブルー バースト) is an upgraded port of Gamecube and Xbox's Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II for the PC.
This was the last time a version of Phantasy Star Online would be made before focus shifted towards Phantasy Star Universe.
- 1 Changes from Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II
- 2 Episode IV
- 3 History
- 4 Production Credits
- 5 Digital manuals
- 6 Promotional material
- 7 Physical scans
- 8 External links
- 9 References
Changes from Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II
Story-wise the events told in Episode I & II remain unchanged for the most part, with that said however the way story content is accessed is what's different. In the previous versions, story content was included in the game's Offline Mode which Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst lacks as a result of its online-only approach. As a result, new NPCs had been added to each episode, Momoka for Episode I and Nol Rinale for Episode II, who act as a secondary quest counter handing out story related quests; Government and Lab Quests respectively. These quests could be played alone or with other players present who, unlike other quests, can join in at any time.
Prior to an update that made all the locations available from the start, each story quest for a particular area would have had to be completed to unlock the next location as opposed to the original game wherein the player had to beat the Boss in Offline Mode and also activate every monument to unlock the Ruins area. Aside from this however the main story and much of its dialog remains unchanged albeit stretched out across the various quests for each area and with new dialog based on the context of the quest. The nature of quests range from finding a particular item to killing a certain amount of enemies to simply defeating the boss at the end.
- New players would have gotten a pop up help message to get them started. (This feature is notably missing from newer client versions which Private Servers use)
- A new action palette to which players can map techniques and actions to was added to the lower screen. Unlike the regular palette, this new action palette was accessed via the 1-0 keys on the keyboard.
- Function Keys are used to quickly access specific game menus like Item Pack and Chat Options.
- When creating a new party the player now has the option to make it a "One-Person" party. These parties comprise of much of the Offline content present for that episode's original Offline mode, these include elements like difficulty and parameters (enemy amount, drops, etc).
- The player can now create teams; mini communities which other players can join. Teams have their own separate chat channel which lets players in the same team talk to each other regardless of the ship or party they are in. Individual team members can donate rare weapons to receive Team Points which high ranking members can spend on additional features which team members can access such as team flags, team items, dressing room functionality and additional quests. 
- Some graphical effects from the Nintendo Gamecube version are missing. An example of this is the distortion effect created by Telepipes.
- Face Texture of Irene, the Nurses and the Quest Counter attendant NPC had been updated.
- The game is able to now run natively at a higher resolution.
- The game has a longer draw distance than its console counterparts.
- The ingame font used for dynamic text (Chat, Descriptions, Certain Interfaces, etc) is now a font of the player's choosing in the launcher options.
This version of the game uses server-side storage, as a result various changes to accommodate for this have been added.
- The game now requires the player to sign in using a username and password.
- The title screen now comprises of just the sign in option with the Options and Homepage menu being moved to the game's launcher. Settings like Sound Test and Language Selection are now gone completely.
- The title screen no longer has an introduction video.
- The introduction video that plays prior to character creation is now a slideshow with simple 2D animations.
- The game credits are accessed from the game's launcher and are not present when the final battles of each respective episodes are fought in a "One-Person" party. (The equivalent to completing the episode in Offline Mode)
- During its run, Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst would receive frequent patch updates comprising of new content, bug fixes, etc.
- Ingame announcements are now displayed as text scrolling at the top of the screen.
- Because the word "Team" now relates to the game's Guild system, the act of creating or joining a session is now "Create Party" and "Join Party" respectively.
- The player is able to take screenshots of the entire game window at the press of a button but are unable to freely pose the camera like in the Gamecube and Xbox version. All the screenshots are saved to the game's screenshot folder.
- Compared to the Xbox version, the player is now only able to store up to four characters per game account.
- Being an Xbox port, all references relating to the Gamecube-GBA connectivity are thus missing. This includes the Chao sidequest in the 'Fake in Yellow' quest.
- Despite being a port of the Xbox version many of the new features introduced in that version such as Voice Chat and Gamer Card functionality are missing as they relied on Xbox Live.
- Unique to the Japanese release; a latter update placed billboards in certain lobbies. The billboards were used for advertising and art related competitions.
- Unique to the Chinese release; the player is able to select Regional Servers wherein their character will be contained. The Ship Servers listed are those near to the Regional Server selected.
- Unique to the Chinese release; a new Chinese New Year lobby event had been added.
Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst would receive an expansion in the form of Episode IV; sold as a separate product requiring the base game for the Japanese release and included for free as a patch update for the International release. In the Japanese release players who owned Episode IV would be displayed with an orange name.
Like Episode I, the story takes the form of a series of requests from Principal Tyrell which the player accesses via Momoka. Taking place prior to the Phantasy Star Online Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution, the story sees the player character returning to Ragol after being sent to investigate a meteor that had crash landed on the deserts Ragol. Meanwhile a Military Organization named WORKS lead by a man named Leo Grahart are interested in the meteor and a substance contained within it. Episode IV also sees the return of various characters like Ash, Sue, Kireek and also Rupika (previous seen in the Episode 1 mission; Gran Squall) who seems to have some connection to the events going on.
With the Episode IV Expansion, four new locations had been added:
- Crater: The surrounding rocky terrain on the surrounding area of the impact site. The Crater Area is split up into four routes (Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern) depicted as four different identical locations mild differences ingame.
- Crater Interior: The terrain over the impact site, the area features most of the same enemies and elements from the first Crater area.
- Subterranean Desert: A desert located under the impact site of the crater. This location consists of three different maps as the player progresses deeper and deeper into the impact site. Following the third area, the player will encounter one of the three variations of Episode IV's sole boss battle; Saint Million if encountered during free roam, Shambertin if encountered during a quest and Kondrieu as a rare variation that can appear in either circumstances.
- The player is able to make an Episode IV party from the lobby. Episode IV reuses the same hub area as Episode I but with different NPC dialogue relating to Episode IV's story.
- New Items and Mags have been made available as ingame drops from Episode IV parties or through quests unique to Episode IV.
- With the new introduced locations, the game featured various new enemies that could be encountered.
On March 23, 2004 Sonic Team announced that between the 25th to the 31st of March they will be holding registrations for a new PC port of the game based off of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II. The official name for this version of the game would be revealed on April 4th as Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst, the name change being made to give players a fresh outlook on the game.
Applications for Closed Beta participants was available only to Japan and required players to have their Serial Number from the original Phantasy Star Online PC version from which up to 3000 applicants would be accepted at random and the remaining applicants would be chosen via magazines and events. One such event was held in anticipation of the Closed Beta at Aso Bit City Mall wherein up to four participants at a time would be able to try the game out together for up to ten minutes. 500 Closed Beta applicants would be accepted at the event and participants would be able to receive a special mouse-pad.
Further information regarding Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst would be revealed when the official website became active two days prior to the Closed Beta. The website revealed the new features the game would have such as server-side saving to combat the constant cheating and hacking the original game endured as well as a team system for players to create mini-communities within the game. Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst was developed off of the Xbox version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II resulting in fewer difficulties porting the game compared to the original PC release which was well known for its graphical glitches and questionable design choices.
The game was released in Japan on July 7th, 2004 followed by a version of the game for mainland China released on January 18th, 2005 and operated by Zarva Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. and finally a US and European release on June 6th, 2005. Unlike the previous versions, Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst was a free downloadable and all new accounts containing a two week trial where the player can level up to Level 20. After the free trial expires a monthly subscription similar to other versions of the game would be required to continue playing with this account.
Whereas previous versions of the game all let players play on any region's server, Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst only allowed the Japanese version to connect to Japanese servers while US and European releases could only play on the servers run by SEGA of America. This unfortunately lead to various issues as each game version would receive their own events, content updates and bug fixes which would end up being released much later after its Japanese release or would never be released outside of Japan (as is the case with many of the Quests and Items introduced with Episode IV). This was all a result of Sonic Team's mismanagement of the game's international servers, supplying late updates unique to international versions and requiring every action taken to be authorized.
This issue would continue to plague future online-enabled Phantasy Star games such as Phantasy Star Universe's Western release and Phantasy Star Online 2's limited International release in South East Asia and Taiwan. In the case of Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst, bugs not being addressed and the lack of content turned many players away from the Western release with many choosing to play on the Japanese version instead.
- Chief Producer: Yuji Naka
- Producer: Takao Miyoshi
- Director: Akio Setsumasa
- Art Director: Satoshi Sakai
- Program Director: Akio Setsumasa
- Game Design Section: Yasuhiro Imai, Satoshi Oku, Kazunari Tajima
- Program Section: Yuji Hirukawa, Makoto Suzuki, Yusuke Hasuo, Takuma Komatsu, Yusuke Inaba
- Sound Section: Tatsuya Kouzaki, Hideaki Kobayashi
- Executive Management: Hideki Okamura, Masanao Maeda, Minoru Kabuta
- Network Team Executive: Hideaki Morishita
- Network System Architecture: Masahiro Sato, Yoshimi Agata, Hiroyuki Matsushima
- Network Operation: Kenichi Iwanaga, Takuji Konuma, Yoshiji Tanabe, Makoto Abe
- Product Management: Masaru Igarashi, Mitsuhiro Someya, Tadashi Sato
- Product Development: Katsutoshi Kioka, Go Tokunaga
- Public Relations: Yusushi Nagumo, Hiroki Manabe, Katsumi Baba
- Package & Manual Design: Yoshihiro Sakuta, Kazuaki Jikuhara, Yoichi Takahashi
- Special Thanks: Kiko Matsumoto, Junichi Shimizu, Yasuhisa Kawase, Atsuyoshi Okada, Kaori Asano, Tomoki Kaji, Akira Nomoto, Toru Yasuda, Akinobu Koechi, Kazuhiro Tamaoki
- Sound Created By: Wave Master
- Executive Producer: Hisao Oguchi
- Presented By: Sega
- Created By: Sonic Team
- Source: In-game credits
The following wallpapers were downloadable from the English and Japanese websites of Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst
Downloadable exclusively from the US website, the wallpaper features the winning team of the Maximum Attack AOL Cup event.
The Japanese Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst website had a full calendar for the year of 2008 available for download.
- Sega of Japan catalogue pages (Japanese): PC
- Zarva Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., Website (Chinese)
- Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst Official Website (Japanese)
- Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst Official Website (English)
- Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst Official Website (Chinese)
- http://psobb.jp/info-ob2.html#dl (Wayback Machine: 2004-06-02 22:08)
- http://sega.jp/pc/psobb/ (Wayback Machine: 2004-10-10 00:22)
- http://sega.jp/pc/psobbep4/ (Wayback Machine: 2005-02-04 10:24)
- http://psobb.com/gameinfo/openbeta.php (Wayback Machine: 2005-04-29 04:17)
|Phantasy Star Online|