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Video Game / Phantasy Star Universe
aka: Phantasy Star Portable

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It's a brand new universe.

After the unexpected success of Sega's MMORPG, Phantasy Star Online, the company was eager to try and follow up with a more developed successor.

Phantasy Star Universe is that successor. Universe takes place in the Gurhal System; a solar system composed of three planets and five races. Several hundred years ago, Humans created three races in their likeness to develop the worlds: CASTs for working with computers, Newmen to study TECHNICs, and Beasts for working in harsh conditions. Eventually their creations became societies in and of themselves, and have taken over control of the planets of Parum, Neudaiz and Maotoob respectively. There have been a slew of expansions released as stand-alone games, which are all covered on this page due to their content and placement in a shared timeline.

The series started with Universe for PC , Xbox 360 and PS2 in 2006, roughly six years after Online. On the centennial anniversary of a peace treaty ending a brutal centuries-long war between the races, the Gurhal System is attacked by mysterious alien lifeforms known as the SEED. The SEED fall and infect the worlds, corrupting wildlife and people alike. Caught in the middle of this chaos is the Player Character Ethan Waber, who is convinced to follow in his Disappeared Dad's footsteps and join the GUARDIANS. But it's not simple, as the Gurhal System isn't as squeaky clean as its inhabitants would have you believe, and various organizations seek to use the SEED crisis to advance their own agendas.


A year later, an expansion pack Ambition of the Illuminus was released. This time it took the form of a stand-alone game that replaced Ethan with a player-made character as the main character. While the first half of this expansion ("Episode 2") could be played either offline or online, the second half ("Episode 3") could only be played on the online Network Mode.

Episode 2 is set after the events of Universe and features the Player Character as a GUARDIANS rookie fresh out of boot camp and under the critical eye of their instructor, Laia Martinez. Ethan Waber is on the lam after (supposedly) attempting to assassinate the president of the GUARDIANS. The story concerns Laia's attempts to track him down and unravel a sinister conspiracy created by the secret human-supremacy organization known as the Illuminus.


Episode 3 directly continues the storyline of Episode 2. Having been promoted to Instructor, the Player Character is given the responsibility of tutoring Lumia Waber, Ethan's little sister and new GUARDIANS recruit. However, the Illuminus/SEED conspiracy is reaching its final stages, and Lumia finds herself a target of their plot.

After another year-long hiatus, a new expansion entitled Phantasy Star Portable was released for the PSP. Set between the events of Universe and Episode 2, the Player Character (not the same one from Episode 2 or Episode 3) is a recent GUARDIANS graduate who finds themselves partnered with a new Super Prototype CAST called Vivienne. Together you are tasked with investigating the remnants of SEED activity after the events of Universe, and a mysterious terrorist called Helga Neumann who seems to be directly tied to the attacks.

Eventually Portable recieved a sequel called Portable 2. Set three years after Portable, the Gurhal System's resources have been devastated after the fight with the SEED. With no choice but to colonise other worlds, the four planets band together to research subspace travel derived from Lost Technology. The Player Character (who can be the same one from Portable) is a mercenary who gets hired by the paramilitary company "Little Wing". Together with their partner, the reluctant and lazy Emilia, they discover a dark secret behind the subspace technology that stretches back to the Gurhal System's very origins.

The final instalment of the Universe series came in the expansion Portable 2 Infinity for the PSP. This expansion added on several new missions and a new race called "Deumans": mutated humans who have gained supernatural powers from exposure to the SEED virus. Its new story focuses on one such Deuman, Nagisa, as she searches for some mysterious fragments for a shadowy figure known as Wainal.

With Infinity, Sega has begun focusing on a more literal successor to Online in Phantasy Star Online 2. See Phantasy Star for the original tetralogy. Also check out Phantasy Star Zero, another Spiritual Successor that came out during Universe's run.

The Phantasy Star Universe sub-series includes:

  • Phantasy Star Universe
  • Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus
  • Phantasy Star Portable
  • Phantasy Star Portable 2
  • Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity

Phantasy Star Universe provides examples of:

  • Abusive Precursors: The Ancients. All except Mika want to use their creations as vessels so they can return to the physical realm, and are willing to destroy the minds and souls within those bodies to do so.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: The GUARDIANS Security Corporation is, essentially, a mercenary company with more morals than the standard. On one hand, they have limited police powers and high-minded ideals, but they often overlook legally questionable actions by their own employees (such as using black market weapons or receiving aid from outlaws).
  • Androids Are People, Too: Though CAST supremacists may view such things as weakness, CASTs are capable of emotions, faith, and love like any other race in the Gurhal System.
  • The Atoner: The A-Photon researchers, especially Kanal Tomrain, Dr. Dorson Warren Darren, and Kou Taragi of Episode 1, who were responsible for the Mellvore explosion and seek to redeem themselves by discovering the true purpose of the Confinement System towers.
    • Kanal Tomrain is especially an Atoner after the events of Episode 2, since the Illuminus capture him and force him to help complete an A-Photon bomb called the Sochee.
  • All There in the Manual: Shadow of the Arkguard, a moving comic which takes place a month after Episode 1 and alongside Episode 2 that fills in details not found in any of the games.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In the Story Mode for Illuminus, completing one of the Episode 2 story missions unlocked more clothing options (as well as other items). This had to be done only once with a character; all other characters in the save file would earn the reward as well, whether or not they had progressed at all.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Toward the end of the game's lifespan in Japan, if you had any unused GUARDIANS Cash left over, you were allowed to convert GUARDIANS Cash to Phantasy Star Online 2's "ARKS Cash" premium currency for no additional charge.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In Episode 2, the Illuminus succeed in causing immense destruction and discord (directly and indirectly,) leaving the GUARDIANS in shambles and dividing the people of the Gurhal System.
  • Bag of Spilling: In the Portable spin-off series, if you transfer over your character from the first game, they've lost effectively everything except the clothes on their back.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 2 Chapter 4 in Portable 2 Infinity.
  • Becoming the Mask: Orson was originally an Illuminus Spy, before Dallgun convinced him to betray them.
  • BFG: Many of the SUVs come in the form of massive guns ...
  • BFS: Plenty of big blades to choose from, including the swords used by the ancient Stateria. If that weren't enough, two of the SUVs usable by CASTs are massive Laser Blades the size of a Stateria themselves.
    • Chainsaw Good: PSO's Chain Sawd makes a comeback. And it's as big as ever.
  • Big Bad: Howzer for the entire series.
    • Magashi in both games.
    • Helga in Phantasy Star Portable.
    • In Portable 2, Shizuru, who is controlled by Kumhan the Sun King, takes over.
  • The Big Guy: Any Beast, large or small, can temporarily transform into a massive version of themselves with Super Strength to match through a technique called "nanoblasting." Their stats are also the most specialized for melee classes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Phantasy Star Portable: Vivienne seals Helga inside of the SEED Hive, preventing the SEED invasion, and escapes with the player's character before the AMF assault on said Hive. However, they are both then discharged from the GUARDIANS. Thing is, this is supposed to be the good ending ...
  • Boss Rush: Mission 10-2 in Portable 2.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Any CAST infected by the modified SEED-Virus will become this, most notably Headmaster Nav and Curtz.
    • In fact, every CAST in the Alliance Military gets infected due to Helga corrupting Mother Brain, taking advantage of a top-secret command and control protocol embedded into AMF CASTs.
    • In Portable 2. Many of the people who Shizuru so much as looks at. Also, Shizuru himself.
  • Break the Cutie: An Episode 3 subplot does this to Lumia, starting with her witnessing Helga killing Professor Tomrain with her unable to do anything. This treatment continues onward with her being kidnapped by Helga and later learning of Howzer (seemingly) killing the Player Character, who came to rescue her. All to fill her with enough negative energy for her to serve as the catalyst for Dark Falz.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Emilia could be the poster child for this trope at the beginning of Phantasy Star Portable 2.
  • Broken Hero: Kraz, who became a glorified drunk as a result of the murder of his wife and son.
  • Character Level: Like with Hyperspace Arsenal, Universe justifies this common RPG game mechanic by way of photons and technology based on them. Photon reactors (used in all weapons and armor) use spiritual energy to function. A person with a strong spirit can cause more damage with Vendor Trash weapons than a rookie can with an Infinity +1 Sword. And the best way to get stronger is ... Bonus points in Infinity, where you can literally make it an Infinity +1 Sword by grinding the weapon, using an Extend Code, and then using an Infinity Extend Code then grinding it once.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Part of the game's justification for having nanotransformers; nanotransformers use A-Photons, the energies of which attract the SEED. At the same time, the ancient Confinement System towers are massive nanotransformers used to banish the SEED to a pocket dimension.
  • Clip Its Wings: In at least the first Playstation Portable spinoff, one of the bosses can be knocked to the ground by hitting its wings enough times. You can hit it with melee weapons, and then the wings grow back and you repeat until you beat it.
  • Cloning Blues: In quite a few ways. The most significant one is the existence of "Copy-CASTs": machines that are created with the mind and appearance of a real person but none of the rights granted to CASTs. Magashi is a Copy-CAST of Illuminus mastermind Howzer, although the original Magashi eventually develops his own personality and becomes a kind of Blood Knight. Vivianne is a Copy-CAST of Helga, created to act as an unwitting Illuminus spy within the GUARDIANS. In a non-Copy-CAST example, the Helga in Phantasy Star Portable is a clone of the original. Because the clone was created from SEED cells, her original personality has been corrupted to serve the needs of Howzer and the SEED.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: PSU, like PSO, color-codes the speech bubbles of the party with a similarly colored icon next to their name. Given that PSU allowed for six-member parties instead of four, the red/yellow/green/blue icons included cyan and magenta.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: Karen Erra, full stop. Her partner card can only be got, in the original game, one of two very specific ways. The first is an encounter with her and Ethan Waber in Chapter 3 in the now-disabled online mode, and the second is by transferring a completed game from the original game for the offline mode. In Portable 2, you have to do a side mission. It's also why you can never get Mirei Mikuna's partner card. Well, Karen Erra, in any part of the game where you have Partner Characters IS Mirei Mikuna!
  • Continuity Porn: The Transcending Space and Time Side Mission in Infinity, bar none. Following Rico down into the ruins, fighting Olga Flow...
  • Continuity Snarl: Vivienne's fate in Portable. Shadow of the Arkguard implies that the bad ending is canon while an Episode 3 subplot implies that it is the normal ending. However, a side story mission in Portable 2 implies that the good ending is canon as you meet up with her.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: A common feature of all post-millennial Phantasy Star games. PSU had about as many environments starting out as PSO did with all its expansions, with additional variations depending on whether or not the area was infected by the SEED. Ambition of the Illuminus added more, but many of these are reskins of Episode 1 areas (Justified or not).
  • The Corruption: Any non-CAST (Human, Newman, or Beast) exposed to the modified SEED-Virus will transform into a SEED-form. Most notably Hyuga in Ambition of the Illuminus, which was foreshadowed by Kou Taragi's transformatin into a SEED-form towards the end of Episode 1.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Fighmasters can dish out devastating damage with melee weapons. But once an enemy takes flight, they can't do a thing to hit them.
  • Crapsaccharine World: At first blush, the Gurhal System looked like an idyllic place before the SEED Invasion. Then you start learning about the various flavors of Fantastic Racism an the Cycle of Hatred that has been stewing for decades, that the races Humans designed were originally meant to be subservient, and that there are dark otherworldly forces seeking to lay waste to all life well before the SEED's arrival. The overall plot of the series tends to flip the state in the world back and forth between this and A World Half Full.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Newmans don't qualify as much any more as their monstrous heritage has been played down, but Beasts sure do make up for that.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Inverted. When you're going round outside of a story mission, you can go anywhere, do anything, there's no restrictions. In Story Missions, more often than not, you travel straight to the location of a mission.
    • Gameplay and Story Segregation: All four Lobby areas never change throughout the game despite the Guardians Colony being left in effective ruins, Parum being devastated by most of the Colony being dropped on it and Moatoob falling into anarchy, and Neudaiz deploying a Deflector Shield. The only lobby changes are seasonal.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Ethan and Lumia's father, Orson, faked his death in order to keep his family safe from Illuminus.
  • Defector from Decadence: Mika is the only Ancient who goes against Kumhan's plan to use their creations as vessels. Kumhan also states that during the time of the Ancients, Mika was the only one who openly opposed his tyrannical rule.
  • Demonic Possession: Vivienne does this to Lou... Twice.
  • Deus ex Machina: Episode 3, Ethan and Karen, trapped within the exploding HIVE, are rescued by a spirit barrier thanks to Mirei.
  • Downer Ending, in Ambition of the Illuminus: Due to the infected AMF CASTs attacking the GUARDIANS Colony en masse (with one ship making a kamikaze run), the colony begins deorbiting onto Parum. The best scenario at this point is reaching the main control room that would release the residential area from the colony. In the end, the residential area is safe, but the rest of the colony along with President Dallgun, who stayed behind to initiate part of the activation needed to release the residential area, crashes into Parum, killing thousands of people ... and this was the best case scenario.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Much to anyone's surprise, the pleasant and peppy Chelsea Enchante. Once an infamous drill instructor in the AMF, she changed her figure and speech post career. Even a platoon commander is still scared witless amongst the mention of her name.
  • Dying as Yourself: Kou Taragi's death in Episode 1, after he succumbs to the modified SEED-Virus and is killed.
  • Elite Mook / Evil Makeover: A LOT of the enemies that originated from Phantasy Star Online that appear in this series, especially Portable 2, have gotten really big upgrades and have gotten harder and smarter as well:
    • The Booma line will feign death sometimes, like the Rappies did before when you beat them.
    • The Sharks can guard and side-step alongside lunging forward.
    • Ill Gills have one of the best upgrades. They can combat-roll, charge faster, and even run after you to perform a powerful scythe combo. Don't take your eyes off them...
    • Sand Rappies are another majorly upgraded enemy. They've always been little crit-scoring demons in PSO: Episode 4. Now they get a running lunge, and four consecutive pecks in a row while dealing damage that belies their size.
    • Astarks are now burly punching beasts that can also spew poison breath AND roll up into a ball to charge at you.
    • Dark Belras are not only powerful punchers and can shoot their arms out forward with the strength of their Ultimate counterpart, Indi Belras, but they can now sprint after you as well.
    • Even the PSO Dragon boss is more of a challenge this time around. Gone are the days were you can make it drop to the ground and bash on its body and head; it can breath damaging fire, charge and lunge at players, and any spots it leaves when it burrows are now erupting volcanoes.
  • Enemy Mine: At the final part of "The Magashi Plan" side-story mission, the player character, Lou and a "defective" Magashi must fight off a wave of SEED unleashed by Helga.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Phantasy Star Portable 2: Emilia overhears Kraz talking to Lumia and the player character about taking her off the team (Though, his reason is to protect her from the Big Bad). Causing her to run away and work on her own.
  • Expy: A number of characters in the Universe games are Shout Outs to previous Phantasy Star games, as well as some other Sega titles:
    • Fulyen Curtz, whose stoic nature and first name are nods to the Wrens from Generations of Doom (PSIII) and End of the Millenium (PSIV). (Only, Wren wasn't nearly as much of a Jerkass.)
    • Hal, the news anchor from Gurhal Channel 5 who bears more than a striking resemblance to Ulala from Space Channel 5. (Heck, she's got a SC5 song as her own personal theme!)
    • Izuma Rutsu, whose appearance and last name are references to Lutz from Phantasy Star I as well as PSII and PSIV (Lutz was renamed to Noah in the American release of PSI).
    • The Gurhal System Itself. Parum is an Expy of Palma, Moatoob is an Expy of Motavia, and Neudaiz is an Expy of Dezoris (putting aside the fact that most of its water is not ice, its name can be read as "New Dezo"). To top that off, Episode 3 revealed that there's even an Expy of Rykros, named exactly the same and with the same "hidden" nature as Algol's Rykros.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Partner Machines will eat just about anything you feed them.
    • Big Eater: Partner Machines can be fed one hundred items before they are "full" ... for half a day. May we remind you that a single item can be anything from edible restoratives to massive room decorations like stone columns?
  • Eyepatch of Power: All of the Dewmans have this. Justified as it serves as a Power Limiter.
  • Fantastic Racism: Multiple flavors of this exist, thanks to the events of the Backstory. Humans created CASTs, Newmans, and Beasts centuries ago, but civil wars broke out along racial lines that lasted for five hundred years. These wars ended when CASTs usurped control of the human nations and brokered a peace treaty and alliance that left the human race on the bottom of the social ladder.
    • On Parum, CAST Supremacy runs rampant, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. CAST Supremacists view the other races, especially humans, as inferior beings. Social mores on Parum prevent humans from speaking with CASTs unless spoken to, and CASTs can have humans arrested very easily. CAST Supremacists despise the GUARDIANS and its culture of racial equality; they are also very anti-religious, and have more than a few harsh words for the faithful.
    • Then there's the Human Fundamentalist groups, of which the Illuminus is the most prominent. While their ultimate goal is to restore systemwide human rights, they believe that the other races must be made subservient once again. The Illuminus in particular will do whatever it takes, to the point of using a virus to commit genocide on the other races.
    • Newmans are more subtle in their racism. In Episode 1, Ethan encounters a young Newman girl who has been taught by her parents to hold Newmans over Humans for multiple reasons ... and in Episode 3, Light Master Rutsu's views about the superiority of the Newman race come out in an encounter with Ethan Waber and the player's character. It takes a What the Hell, Hero? speech by Karen before Rutsu gets off the high horse.
  • Feed the Mole: Nav does this in Phantasy Star Portable when he "leaks" information to Vivienne.
  • Field Promotion: After her adopted father President Dallgun's Heroic Sacrifice, Laia becomes the new President of the GUARDIANS at his dying wish.
    • Lumia doesn't strictly complete her GUARDIANS training, due to There not really being GUARDIANS any more when she's enlisted...
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final form of Dulk Fakis and Dark Falz suddenly transport you into a place in space in the center of the Gurhal System. It's explicitly referred to as an alternate dimension in Episode 3.
  • First Episode Resurrection: Near the beginning of Portable 2, the Player Character takes a hit for Emilia and wakes up seemingly unscathed, though Mika later reveals that they did die, and she rebuilt their body.
  • Fission Mailed: The final chapter in Episode three, depending on the subplot, Howzer seemingly kills the player character after trapping him.
  • Freudian Excuse: Emilia's hatred of the GUARDIANS is understandable when you find out that she was used as a tool by their scientists and was left to die.
    • As is Kraz's drinking problem. He lost his wife and child, turning him into the drunk that he is.
  • Fungus Humongous: Habirao District becomes a land full of these in Illuminus.
  • Generation Xerox: Played with somewhat as a "defective" Magashi hints that his obsession with defeating Ethan is passed down from Howzer's jealousy towards Orson.
  • Genius Ditz: Maya, who developed a vaccine to the SEED-Virus.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man:
    • In Episode 3, Ethan verbally does this to Laia to convince her to take up the role as President of the GUARDIANS.
    • Done twice in Portable 2. First, Emilia does this to Lumia in the VR simulation when she begins to take the mission too seriously. Later, She would receive the same treatment from Kraz after she ran away believing that no one really cared about her.
  • The Ghost: Exaggerated with the Illuminus, an entire organization that plays this role during Episode 2. Even as the main antagonist of Episode 2, none of its members make any on-screen appearances. Some members show their faces in Portable and Episode 3, but the number that do can still be counted on one hand.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Lumia until Portable 2.
  • Grand Theft Me: The objective of Big Bad in Phantasy Star Portable 2 is to do this on galactic scale in order to revive the ancient civilization and become its absolute ruler again.
  • Happily Ever After: The Ending of Phantasy Star Portable 2, which is more likely than not guaranteed to cheer everyone up after some of the downer endings of the previous games in the "Universe Sub-Series"!
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: All player characters, by default, start out with a basic saber and pistol. In the Story Mode for Illuminus, Human characters also get a basic two-handed sword.
  • Heroic Mime: The player's character in Ambition of the Illuminus on and in Phantasy Star Portable. Constantly lampshaded in the latter.
    • In Episode 3, your character still doesn't talk visibly, but you are given options for dialogue that characters will react to as if you had said something.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: President Dallgun in Ambition of the Illuminus. Possibly Vivienne in Phantasy Star Portable.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The GUARDIANS in Episode 3.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Guess who's back from the original series as the final boss of Portable 2?
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Against Ethan and Liina in the first chapter of Episode 2. Another one happens in the last chapter, this time against a malfunctioning Nav.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The story thoroughly justifies its usage here; Gurhal extensively uses storage technology called 'nanotransers', which attaches to the body and projects the stored weapons/armour/clothes/items as needed. Also a very important Chekhov's Gun.
    • One humorous moment features the device that gives characters their hyperspace arsenal being stolen from the main character - leaving him in the middle of a city wearing only his underwear.
  • Improbable Age: Many canon and player-made GUARDIANS are rather young. People can join the GUARDIANS as young as fourteen, and the player can make a character that looks (and sounds) even younger than that. CAS Ts and small beasts can look young without actually being young, but it doesn't explain the Humans or Newmans.
    • The young recruitment age could potentially be justified in that the younger members probably aren't supposed to be doing much until they've been around for a few years (and the age has historical precedent with apprenticeships and such), but of course plot circumstances lead to everyone being needed no matter what. It gets worse when these members are promoted and taken along crucial missions despite being young and inexperienced.
    • Hyuga becomes the head of GRM at the age of seventeen. This is justified in that almost everyone else in the company was arrested, and he ended up inheriting control.
    • Emilia from Phantasy Star Portable 2 is a deconstruction of this trope. She is a genius prodigy at 16, but has been used by the GUARDIANS for that very reason for years. This led to her having crushingly low self-esteem as she was treated more as a component in a machine than as an actual person.
  • Informed Ability: Some of the weapon descriptions are a little too... boastful. The De Ragan Slayer's description claims that it can "strike down a De Ragan in a single blow" (which might be possible if the wielder sufficiently outleveled the De Ragan). The legend behind the Ely Sion, however, states that it has the power to cleave even planets in two. Better watch where you swing ...
    • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Many of the common B, A, and even S-rank weapons list themselves as "high-end" or "limited run" for "advanced users." When they were first available, this seemed true as they were rare and highly expensive—but as higher-end content was made available and these weapons turned into Vendor Trash ...
  • Jerkass: CAST Supremists fall under this. Most notably Curtz and AMF soldiers, who get better later on after Ethan saves Curtz's life in Episode 1.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kraz treats Emilia like crap most of the time like (IE: throw a present she bought for him with her bonus gained in a previous chapter) but he cares about her such as keeping the present he throws for her birthday.
  • Joke Item: Frying pans, parasols, roses, toy hammers, guitars, magazines... some of which are lethal.
  • Justified Tutorial: Karen teaches Ethan how to form parties in Episode 1, which is treated as an in-universe system for assembling Guardians for a mission.
    • All the games begin with a disaster happening around the player character, which forces them to be guided to safety. The fact that it also teaches them how to move and fight is just window dressing.
  • Klingon Promotion: Howzer kills the leader of the Illuminus, Randolph Luntz, during the events of Episode 3 and takes over the organization.
  • Kill Sat: The Paradi Cataract SUV rains icy beams of divine punishment on a CAST's foes. The description for the SUV's armor unit mentions that this weapon is an out-of-date military satellite.
  • Lethal Chef: Maya Shidow. We first get a taste of this trope in Episode 1, where it's revealed that she has been heading a research project to develop rations with a shelf-life for a century. Then in Online Mode, we find out about the synthesis boards she created that tries (and fails) to make a home-made cake ...
  • Lovable Rogue: Tylor, who makes it a point not to hurt or rob from the poor.
  • Mage Marksman: Guntechers can choose from a variety of strong firearms (including exclusive access to S-rank Crossbows) and a wide range of TECHNICs. They lean more into Arcane Archer archetype since they use S-rank Longbows instead of Rifles.
  • Magic Knight: Wartechers have powerful melee weapons and offensive TECHNICs at their disposal.
  • Male Gaze: The player's first impression of Chelsea in Portable 2, who stares at her chest while waking up from unconciousness.
  • Man Behind the Man: Howzer, especially after he kills the leader of the Illuminus, Randolph Luntz. Also, Kumhan behind Shizuru in Phantasy Star Portable 2.
  • Masquerade: After Mirei's death, Karen decides to take up her mantle as the Divine Maiden. One ending in Episode 3 reveals that she admitted the truth about Mirei as she retires as the Divine Maiden.
  • Microtransactions: The game eventually added a "GUARDIANS Cash" system, or GC, for the Japanese versions that allowed people to purchase a premium currency with real money. This currency allowed you run special "GC Missions", enhance or repair gear with some form of guarantee, or purchase items from a special shop that only wheels and deals in GC. Eventually, towards the end of the game's lifespan, Universe went free-to-play and used GC exclusively as a method of payment, with more GC content being relegated to cosmetics. The latter would eventually form the basis for Phantasy Star Online 2's own free-to-play model with ARKS Cash.
  • Minovsky Physics: Photons work very differently in the Universe games than in the real world. Information about how they work, and how Photon and A-Photon based technology utilize them, is found scattered throughout dialogue in the games and elsewhere.
  • The Mole: Vivienne is revealed to be one in Phantasy Star Portable, though she didn't know at the time. Ethan also becomes one in Ambition of the Illuminus to track down his missing dad.
  • The Musketeer: While almost every Type can have separate melee and shooting weapons in their Palette, Fighgunners and Protransers benefit the most from this setup. While they have S-rank close and long-range weapons, said weapons are often 2-handed and cannot be wielded at the same time.
  • My Little Panzer: Gurhalian toy manufacturers have a thing for making their toys just a little too powerful. There's also weapons that deliberately resemble toys.
  • Never My Fault: Happens twice in Episode 3:
    • First the refugees, most notably Pipi Vol, blame the GUARDIANS for the GUARDIANS Colony crash-landing on Parum.
    • Then Tylor, leader of the New Rogues, blames the GUARDIANS for the SEED-infected Beast massacre in Ambition of the Illuminus.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Portable's good ending. "Hey thanks for saving the world, rookie! But since your partner was an (unwilling) patsy for Helga's scheme, we have to discharge her and declare her a traitor to the galaxy. And since you refused to abandon her, we have to do the same to you. Sorry!"
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In an alternate ending to Ambition's End (Episode 3, Chapter 5), Lumia of all people unleashes a literal explosion of anger on Howzer.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Magashi, three times and even more than that when you discover that there's a whole army of him!
    • Ethan and Lumia's father, Orson, is revealed to be alive in Episode 3.
    • The same could be said about Helga, who was thought to be dead after Phantasy Star Portable, since she shows up in Episode 3.
    • Howzer, as he appears in the final chapter.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: While the Illuminus' A-Photon bombs have the visual effect of nuclear weapons, they're actually a lot worse than nukes because of what A-Photon energies attract when used in great enough quantities... On top of this, nuclear energy and weapons are mentioned in the Universe Bible as having been used prior to the development of photon-based technology, thus avoiding the "don't mention nukes" aspect of the taboo.
  • Older Than They Look: Small Beasts, most notably Tonnio and Liina, that are full-grown tend to look like children. Emilia looks to be in her early teens, yet in the game she's 17.
  • Old Save Bonus: Between Portable and Portable 2; if you completed the story of Portable and imported your character to Portable 2, you'll get an extra title ("Former/Veteran Guardian"), a special saber called "Exam", and a Visual Module based on the class imported. There are no story changes for doing this however. The only minor change is Vivienne's reaction to seeing the player in her (optional) side mission, which only amounts to a couple of different lines and responses specific to an imported player. The game otherwise never acknowledges your character's imported status, despite the player meeting other PSP1 partner characters who should also recognize them.
  • On the Next: In Universe, each chapter of its Story Mode behaves like an anime show would, with opening and ending sequences (complete with theme song!). Just like at the end of any anime show episode, a narrator (or the characters themselves) provides a teaser for the next Story Mode chapter set to snippets of future cutscenes.
    • In Ambition of the Illuminus, as well as the online Story Missions for both games, this was changed from voiceovers to text, and the staff roll sequence was dropped (except for at the very end of each story arc). The opening sequence and theme song still plays at the opening of each chapter's Story Mission, however.
  • One-Winged Angel: Magashi in Episodes 1 and 2, and Helga in Phantasy Star Portable both transform into more powerful SEED-forms. They both transform even further into Dulk Fakis, who also has a second form. And Magashi has an additional form in Episode 3 too! Only this time, it's the "defective" Magashi clone that gets it. In Subplot 4 of Chapter 8, Magashi is the vessel for Dark Falz.
  • Powers as Programs: Unlike in Online and Online 2, Photon Arts and TECHNICs can be unequipped and reverted to disk form. If you use multiple Types or a Type with a high number of useful Photon Arts, you're gonna need to do this. However, the disks are bound to the player's character (or account if cross-character storage is available.)
  • Precursors: The Ancients. Interesting in that they turn out to essentially be humans themselves, who ended up destroying themselves because humans just can't get along.
  • Private Military Contractors: The GUARDIANS Security Corporation, which was granted limited police powers by the Gurhal system's government. Portable 2 introduces another company, Little Wing, which just so happens to be the subsidiary of Skyclad, a company best known in Gurhal for clothing and resorts.
  • Puny Earthlings: Since Humans Are Average, they lack the more specialized stats of the other races. They also lack the unique racial Limit Break skills that CASTs and Beasts have.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Kraz wears a pink Badass Longcoat.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: Facilitated with the Palette system. The player can quickly switch between six weapon setups they assign to the Palette.
  • Robot Girl: Female CASTs, who are also called CASEALs.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: The swear filter in Phantasy Star Universe—even more so in the Xbox 360 version—is a very good reason why swear filters should always be optional in games (or never implemented at all).
  • Send in the Clones:
    • Renvolt Magashi is actually a Copy CAST of Howzer... and there's more than one of him.
    • Helga is revealed to be a clone made from SEED cells. And, like Magashi, there's more than one of her.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Lumia in PSP2, apparently.
  • Shirtless Scene: Feel like going commando as far as possible? Grab yourself a swimsuit or a speedo! Some of the other clothes also qualify, such as the Vigor Coat (which isn't much of one).
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Part two of Chapter 9 in Ambition of the Illuminus.
  • Shout-Out: So, so many! On top of the Expies, like Phantasy Star Online, Phantasy Star Universe and Portable make a number of references to older Phantasy Star games as well as other Sega titles.
    • A number of common weapons in Episode 1 had references to common Phantasy Star Online weapons, as well as some rare weapons (such as the Yasminkov 0002, which is a Shout-Out to PSO's Yasminkov weapons).
    • Ambition of the Illuminus and Phantasy Star Portable included a whole slew of PSO weapons. Phantasy Star Portable 2 included a flood of PSO rares, including certain Mags, armors, and even more weapons.
    • Maya Shidow's deadly Homemade Cake is a reference to PSII—specifically, the cakes that Motavians offer in the Roron garbage dump.
    • A notable rare Shout Out to PSIII: Ambition of the Illuminus brought us a new kind of line shield, the Rabol Orakio, named for one of the characters in Generations of Doom. (In true Sega fashion, though, the name was transliterated to Rabol Orachio when it appeared stateside.)
    • The Naura Cake Shop makes yet another appearance, based directly off of the PSO incarnation. In a virtual reality simulation of Ragol, no less.
    • The Opa Opa from Fantasy Zone sometimes appears to drop weights on the heads of enemies when CASTs use the Ancension Gift SUV. It also appears in Portable as a ranged combat support machine.
    • Phantasy Star Portable 2 has expanded the number of Shout Outs to include series not even related to Sega; Vocaloid, Evangelion, and Fate/stay night items are obtainable in the game—and that includes Saber's Excalibur and Rei's Longinus, as well as all three Children's Plugsuits.
    • Infinity managed to throw in some Vocaloid fashions and even a few item for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Space Elves: Newmans are often disparagingly referred to as such by the player base due to the Flanderization they've suffered as a race ever since the original tetralogy. They most closely fit the Type II (Enlightened Mystic Race) flavor, although they're really more Space Japanese than anything.
  • Space Station: Gurhal is implied to have many of these, but the only ones visitable are the GUARDIANS Colony (of course) and the HIVEs (space stations consumed by the SEED). Portable 2 introduces Clad-6, home of Little Wing, as the only lobby and explorable location outside of missions.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Ethan's father: Orson or Olson? Take your pick.
  • Spoiler Opening: Don't look too close to the Freeze-Frame Bonus at the end of the opening video, since it shows [[Karen Erra and Mirei Mikuna]] in close proximity, spoiling the Twin Switch used partway through the story.
    • The game's own cover spoils it even WORSE, with the two of them right next to each other, with only minor differences between the two.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Laia in Ambition of the Illuminus. Though she's actually a well-rounded character, the fact remains that the Story Mode of Ambition is all about her. Your character is nothing more than a background extra.
    • Subverted in Episode 3. While a good amount of focus is placed on Lumia becoming a full-fledged Guardian, your character is no longer just a background extra. The player character can now make decisions that can impact the story and which ending you receive, leading up to becoming the new commander of the GUARDIANS Mobile Defense Force. ...Too bad it's implied that you stepped down and gave the position to Orson.
  • The Stoic: Lou. Justified as she was programed not to show emotion for the sake of her missions.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Photon-powered Longbows and Crossbows are available as alternatives to Rifles and Shotguns respectively. They come with different strengths: Longbows are better at piercing armor (their shots ignore the enemy's defense stat) and Crossbows fire fewer bullets but allow the user to move while firing.
    • In-universe, guards in the Communion of Gurhal (when not using TECHNICs) prefer Longbows for long-range combat.
  • Stripperiffic: Justified by the usage of Line Shields for personal armor. Indeed, it seems very much as if the cultural reaction to having armor that is functional with any piece of clothing was for acceptable fashion to grow ever skimpier...
  • Sword and Gun: Can be done with any one-handed weapon in the game.
    • Acrofighters in particular get a lot of mileage out of this setup since their S-rank weapons are all one-handed.
  • Teen Genius: Emilia! Mostly dormant at first due to repressed memories.
  • Trap Master: Protransers have stronger traps than anyone else. While their base stats are lacking, said traps provide incredible crowd control.
  • Temporary Online Content: Phantasy Star Universe and Ambition of the Illuminus can no longer be played online (officially), as all servers for both have been shut down. The games do have single player modes, but those modes miss out on a lot of the content and missions only available through online play. Several Partner Cards cannot be got in offline play, due to their part in the story being during Episode 3. Subverted with Portable 2, which has every major character's partner card available offline, and no story chapters requiring an online connection.
  • The Unfavorite: Karen. Oh dear god, Karen. So much that her father goes as far as to kill her to prolong her sister's life.
  • The Virus: The SEED-Virus.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Lumia.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Vivienne, who finds out she is a Copy-CAST based on Helga to be used as an Illuminus Spy.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lumia in Portable 2. In Chapter 6, she pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment when she saves the party from a large group of native creatures with a Fire TECHNIC. Even Emilia mentions this during her aforementioned Get A Hold Of Yourself Man. She's no longer the load she was in Episode 3.
  • Tron Lines: Line Shields project their protective fields as glowing lines on a characters' clothing, and the designs in which they are woven are a major aspect of fashion in the setting.
  • Too Slow: In your battle with Howzer, he occasionally shouts, "You're too slow!"
  • Twin Switch: After a certain chapter of Episode 1, and all her appearances in Episode 2 and 3, Mirei Mikuna is actually Karen Erra. This causes there to be two Story-only Partner Cards... [[Mirei Mikuna pretending to be Karen Erra, and Karen Erra's ORIGINAL Partner Card.note ]]
  • Two-Part Trilogy: Episode 1 is mostly self-contained, but Episode 2 introduces lots of new things that are left unresolved until Episode 3. Of course... No-one can actually PLAY Episode 3 any more...
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: At the end of episode 3, Tonnio is this to Liina. They get married between episode 3 and Portable 2.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Universe did not do well at this at first. In the original game, the options available for character customisation were limited at best and the (offline) prices for new clothes- even for something as simple as a T-shirt!- were extortionate. Fortunately, the series got a lot better as time went by, with each new game offering a wealth of new appearance options and clothes.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ethan and Hyuga. Hyuga has even stated that they were more rivals than friends.
  • Vocal Evolution: With some voices in Phantasy Star Portable, when compared to those in the original PSU, you'd swear that they have new voice actors.
  • Wetware CPU:
    • Mother Brain looks awfully fleshy for a cast...
    • Emilia was turned into one by the GUARDIANS. This led to a great deal of angst when she was treated more as a component in a machine than as an actual person.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Of a sort: at the end of Infinity, Yut is booted from his village until he returns with a wife. The only problem is that he has no idea what a wife is.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Copy-CASTs apparently do not share the same rights as regular CASTs (Or any other race for that matter) as they're just machines as Vivienne finds out from Lou.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Episode 3, Laia calls out Tylor on his decision to seal and abandon his allies in a SEED-infected mine.
    • Earlier in Episode 3, Pipi Vol berates the GUARDIANS about their ineffectiveness and willingness to abandon their friends. Although she does accuse the GUARDIANS of something they didn't do (dropping G Colony on Parum), the rest of her accusations ring true given events that took place in Episodes 1 and 1.5 (Portable).
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Hyuga and Shizuru. The latter acts as a traditional evil case at first but it is due to Demonic Possession. He turns out to be a nice person once freed from Kumhan's control.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Karen is afraid of Tengohgs, who are the cause of her mother's death.
  • Wutai: The entire planet of Neudaiz. Every aspect of the lives of Newmans—cities, culture, clothing, language, weapons—is like an idealized version of Japan.

Alternative Title(s): Phantasy Star Portable


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