The game was number 21 on 1UP’s ‘The Greatest Games of Their Time’ list, making it the highest ranking RPG on that list. It has an aggregrated score of 89.87% on the Gamerankings website. IGN gave it a 9.3 out of 10, Eurogamer a 9 and GameSpot an 8.2, also out of 10. In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the original Dreamcast version of the game a 37 out of 40, and gave the GameCube re-release a 35 out of 40 The game’s graphics were praised, with IGN stating that “This is among the best games, visually, across all platforms. There’s really nothing that compares to the visual quality of PSO.” GameSpot stated: “The main draw of the game is the ability to get online, hook up with three other players in one of the game’s many lobbies, and take on the planet Ragol as a team. Obviously, this is where the game shines.” 1UP likened aspects of Phantasy Star Online to Diablo, but described Phantasy Star Online as more of “a reinvention of an established PC adventure concept into something perfectly suited for the tastes and demands of console gamers.”
The userbase for the game reached over 200,000 in 2001 and 600,000 in 2003.