Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II is an action role-playing game primarily played with other players cooperatively over the internet. Players take on the role of adventurers sent to explore Ragol, an uncharted planet. To create their character, they choose between a handful of races and classes, which define their abilities and statistics; for example, some types are better with "techniques" (magic spells) while others are more skilled with ranged or melee weapons.
Players can play either online or offline. Online, players are brought to a lobby where they can chat and organize teams of up to four. Team members can communicate by typing using a physical or onscreen keyboard, even when in different environments. Preset phrases are automatically translated between languages, and custom emoticons are also supported. Players can also exchange "guild cards" to exchange private messages and see when the other is online.
After organizing a team, players are transported to their own instance of the hub spaceship Pioneer II, where they can buy and sell items, store money and items, heal, and browse quests. At any time, they can transport to Ragol, where combat and exploration take place. The four environments – forests, caves, mines, or ruins – comprise winding passages and large areas where enemies spawn. Players fight enemies in real time, using weapons and techniques and collecting items. Attacks can be chained for more accuracy and speed. Typically, all the monsters in a room must be defeated to advance. Each environment ends in a boss battle, which rewards the team with a large sum of experience points. Quests, taken on Pioneer II, task players with specific challenges; once completed, the team returns to Pioneer II to collect their reward. Higher difficulties reward players with more experience points and better items. Some items can be used to feed the player's mag, a small creature that follows the player character and aids them in battle.
Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II is broken into two story arcs called Episodes, which contain unique stories.
Episode I begins as Pioneer II arrives at Ragol, attempting to land and begin colonizing the new planet. While preparing to land, a huge explosion rocks the surface of Ragol, causing all connection with the first colony down below, Pioneer I, to be lost. The Principal reaches out to the group of warriors called Hunters to go onto the surface and search for clues of what happened to Pioneer I, the colonists, and the Principal's daughter, Rico Tyrell. The player will make their way through four different areas of Ragol, Forest, Caves, Mines, and Ruins in search of what happened to Red Ring Rico and the cause of the mysterious explosion.
After Episode I, the player is asked to help the government explore a recently found laboratory on Gal Da Val Island. After some training missions, you begin to explore the island, only to find mysterious voice capsules from Healthcliff Flowen, a military commander that the government had presumed dead. The player will travel through 7 different areas,Temple, Spaceship, Jungle, Mountain, Seaside, Central Control Area, and Seabed in search of the fate of Healthcliff Flowen and the mysterious plan begun by Dr. Osto.