A few new scans from Famitsu have disclosed some information about Phantasy Star Universe. The title's battle system, the character classes, and some new characters were brought into the light by the aforementioned magazine.
The available weapons will be divided into three categories -- blades, guns, and wands -- much like those in Phantasy Star Online. Each category will sport both one and two-handed weapons. As is the case with most RPGs, different characters will have varying proficiency levels with each category. Interestingly, players will not be limited to equipping only one weapon; in some cases, two weapons from different categories can be equipped. A menu screen will also be available to designate pre-set weapon combinations, which can be toggled in the heat of battle, allowing for a quick switch of armaments.
Additionally, a "combo attack" option exists. If players press the square button at the proper time, they can trigger up to three linked combo attacks. If the triangle button is pressed at the right moment, more damage will be inflicted, and up to six combo attacks can be performed.
Four different species will populate the worlds of Phantasy Star Universe: Humans, Neumans, Beasts, and Casts. Humans, as in most RPGs, are essentially the "basic" race; that is, they have balanced stats and can use all weapons with equal proficiency. Neumans, while not exactly the most physically powerful race, excel with their high intelligence and mental prowess, which means their abilities lie more with technics than melee combat. Beasts are able to transform between a human-like form an a beast-like form, and their extreme physical strength makes them well suited for wielding blades in melee combat. Casts, the androids of Phantasy Star Universe, are well suited for using firearms, and can even equip massive guns called "subweapons."
The new characters revealed are:
- Mirei Mikuna: A seventeen-year-old Neuman priestess, Mirei is gentle and compassionate. She meets Ethan during the anniversary celebration.
- Lou: A Guardian from the central intelligence division, Lou is Cast with a number of spy missions under his belt. Because of this, she is rather secretive and only sparingly reveals information.
The PS2 version of Phantasy Star Universe is slated for a Japanese release this winter, a North American release in early 2006, and a European release next spring, and a North American release next winter.