No game proved online multiplayer games can work on console more than Phantasy Star Online did, when it was released for the Sega Dreamcast a decade ago. Even with a keyboard awkwardly stationed on my lap and a unreliable 56k connection, I was hooked. Combining the hack n’ slash action of Diablo, colorful futuristic world of the Phantasy Star series and multiplayer aspects of Everquest blew my mind as a 14-year-old.
After many ports, sequels and a card game, I stopped following the series and chose to remember only the Dreamcast days. The boldness of Sonic Team naming the next entry in the series as a direct sequel to the original (Phantasy Star Online 2) caught my attention at TGS this year. I needed to check it out and see what I’ve been missing and what dedicated fans have to look forward to.
For the demo, I played the role of some sort of robot class that could jet pack around and glide across terrain. The sense of speed and weight didn’t really capture the character's build, which took away some of the enjoyment of the character design. This is a work of progress but it's these sort of details that cheapened the series to feel like a Korean free-to-play multiplayer RPG in my eyes.
Since the game is PC only at the moment, you can play with a keyboard/mouse or a controller. I chose controller, which was a bit of a challenge due to all the commands in the game. Once I got it all figured out, I was able to get by alright. You have a light and strong attacks, a block button and a glide/run ability to help make long treks shorter (but not short enough). Oh yeah, and you can jump (finally!)
The brief 15 minute demo spawned me and 11 other party members in a spaceship lobby. We then teleported into a grasslands area that seemed almost like a direct remake of the original’s opening area. The game divides parties into teams of four, so things never got too chaotic. The same seemed true of the giant fire dragon boss we fought at the end – I’m not sure where the other eight players went (perhaps fighting their own boss?)
Along with some sword attacks, you can equip guns and shoot to your heart’s content with unlimited ammo. The game’s lock-on targeting system is fairly confusing, but you can also go into aiming mode which feels a bit like a broken Resident Evil 4 (maybe Mindjack would be a better comparison). Nevertheless, switching between gunplay and swords changed the feel of combat and opens the door to some cool Devil May Cry moments.
The game is very, very pretty when running on a powerful PC. It’s too bad then that the grasslands area looks as bare as the original, when it should be filled with trees and shrubbery. Everything about this game just feels kind of off, from the movement to the enemy collision. This is only the Alpha build (which some lucky Japanese fans will soon get their hands on), but the demo felt a bit underwhelming to me. The graphics and ideas are there, but it’s missing the polish that made the original so addictive and fun.
|9:00 AM on 03.26.2013|
Phantasy Star Online 2 hit with a localization delay
Phantasy Star Online 2 was all set to come westward in "early 2013"-- that is, until SEGA informed Polygon that the game has been delayed. A representative states, "Originally slated for an early 2013 launch, Sega can officia...more
|11:00 AM on 10.09.2012|
Phantasy Star Online 2 is doing pretty well
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|3:30 PM on 09.22.2012|
TGS: Phantasy Star Online 2 on the Vita is a great fit
I've put somewhere around 70 hours into the PC version of Phantasy Star Online 2. Despite being free to play, it's a fun and complex multiplayer title that's been getting a steady stream of updates since release. Having playe...more
|3:00 PM on 07.14.2012|
Preview: Phantasy Star Online 2
Sega announced this week that Phantasy Star Online 2 is headed to the United States and Europe come 2013. This is great news for fans of the series, especially for those who thought that the spinoff sequels deviated too much ...more
|10:00 AM on 07.09.2012|
Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to the west in 2013
Remember when Phantasy Star Online 2 was announced for the PC, and a few people were speculating that it would never see a western release? Well think again -- Sega has just announced that they're planning on bringing the fre...more
|11:30 AM on 03.27.2012|
Phantasy Star Online 2 is free to play
There's been a boatload of new announcements for Phantasy Star Online 2 in the past few days, and I'm here to round them up for you.First off, as previously reported, the game is coming to both the PC and PlayStation Vita, bu...more
|3:00 PM on 05.20.2013|
Jimquisition: Guns Blazing
Dark Souls 2 is all about going in, guns blazing, and hoping to God it works. Oh dear. Namco Bandai's PR chief recently shone a spectacular light on the broken mentality of "AAA" publishers, describing the promotion of ...more
|10:30 AM on 05.19.2013|
Ghost of a Tale meets funding goal, play your mouse lute!
Ghost of a Tale, the promising game starring a mouse with a LUTE AND A HAT, made its crowdfunding goal of 45.000€ last night. There shall be much rejoicing. The game caught attention through its incredible des...more
|6:00 PM on 05.18.2013|
Mugen Souls hits PlayStation Network next week
Mugen Souls is going digital on PlayStation Network this Tuesday, NIS America has announced. A role-playing game developed by Compile Heart, the story follows a goddess by the name of Chou-Chou in her quest to conquer the uni...more