Phantasy Star Online 2 (PC, JPN Release) review
Phantasy Star Online 2 went completely live and out of beta yesterday, so it's about time a first play thread came up about it.
This is currently in a Japanese only launch, and as such the language barrier can get in the way. Thankfully, a lovely chap over at http://bumped.org has written English guides on pretty much everything from signing up, to menu translations and quest objectives. With no knowledge of Japanese, I've been playing through very well using this as a point of reference.
For those not aware, the game is completely free to play, backed up with microtransactions for things such as 30 minute EXP boosts, trading pass, additional characters, mags, skill trees, etc.
The game in it's entirety can be very comfortably and happily played without paying a single thing so microtransactions are not a necessity in any way shape or form.
For those that played both Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe, it definitely combines the good parts of both, leaning more on the side of PSO. This is a very, very good thing.
Creating your character, you've got your choice of Hunter, Ranger, or Force, along with the races of Human, Newman and CAST. CAST Force is a viable combination now by the way, not completely gimped into obscurity like a CAST Acrotecher in PSU.
Character creation is very in-depth. You've got all the usual choices of customisation, but you can freely customise the shape of certain features using sliders, so you can get some half decent stuff out of it. CASTs even get the option of whether they want to run, or fly/float as they move, so they can glide along with little jets on their feet. Pretty cool!
You can restyle your character to an extent for free, whenever you like - We're talking changing your clothing, hairstyle, eye style, etc. Other changes such as changing facial features or hair colour, or even clothing colour, will require a recolour/remodel ticket that's available for Arks Cash (real money currency).
Also worth noting, is you can freely change your class at any time, with separate levels on each. You can level up a Ranger then switch to a Force at level 1, then change back to a Ranger and carry on your progress with that class. It saves having to make multiple characters just to try out multiple classes.
The hub system of PSO returns. You start off on your ship, which has NPCs, shops, quest counters, skill counters, hospital, and everything else. NPCs now give you 'Client Orders' which are quests that give you a Meseta and EXP bonus when completed.
These are all translated on the blog mentioned earlier, if you're not sure what it's telling you to do.
When you're ready to do harm, hit up the quest counter, choose your location, whether you want to make your own party or join someone elses, and go through the space gate to start it all off.
Combat is FUN. It's still as simple as PSO, but it's fun fun fun.
Using a keyboard and mouse, you have LMB as primary attack, and RMB as your weapon's attached Photon Art. You can cycle between 3 weapon palettes using the mouse wheel, and each weapon can store 3 photon arts.
The timing attack system is in full force. Whenever you attack or use a PA, you'll see a red circle around your character. This tells you the timing in order to combo, so you tap, wait for the red, tap again, etc. This goes for gunplay and technics as well as swords/sabers.
A downside at the moment is that each character only has two weapon types unique to them.
Hunters have Partisans and Wired Lances.
Rangers have Assault Rifles and Launchers
Forces have Cards and Rods.
Aside from your Saber, that's it for weapon types.
This is something that's being rectified with a future update, where they're introducing a number of new weapon types, but for the time being that's it.
Mag feeding is in. Slow, but it's in. You have to reach a certain level and do a client order before you get your Mag though.
Jungle, Caves, Desert, and Tundra are the 4 areas in the game so far, with a City bonus area being available at certain times of the day for 1 hour. There's more to come, with a Mines area being teased with a tasty new boss, and lots more content on the way including new classes.
Levelling is slower than PSO. Much slower. The current level cap is 40, compared to PSO V1's Level 100, and V2's Level 200.
A really good, and random addition to the gameplay is the introduction of Emergency Codes. As you're playing through any area, you have a chance for an Emergency Code to pop up. This can be anything from an Attack code, to a Protection or Collect code - Essentially, it's a little mini-mission that's timed, that you complete for an EXP bonus before carrying on.
Multi Party Areas
This is an absolutely brilliant addition to PSO. Certain areas and missions are marked as 'Multi-party', which essentially means it contains a block/area where all the people participating can be seen, and work together.
Emergency Codes that are triggered with multiple parties in the same area scale in difficulty - so if there are 12 of you that trigger it, the amount of mobs that come out of it are immense.
This is absolutely fantastic and incredibly abusable for speed leveling, especially because of...
PSE (Photon Sensitivity Effect)
This is a random effect. As you're playing through an area, weather changes will cause 'atmospheric disturbance', and you'll notice some odd things popping up on the HUD in little windows. This is a sign that there's a Photon Sensitivity Effect in place.
These are good, and represent buffs, either to elemental damage, or Meseta drop rate, Rare drop rate, and Experience gain bonus.
If you go through a PSE without killing anything for a certain period of time, the effect dies off. If you continue to kill and power through, abusing the PSE boosts, they get higher and higher in level and effectiveness.
If you're very lucky, you'll get a 'PSE Chance' pop up with a timer of 1 minute. This is your sign to do harm. Kill everything, and kill everything quickly. If you're even luckier, you'll trigger a PSE Burst!
PSE Burst causes unlimited mobs to spawn on you over, and over again, with a maximum boost to a specific PSE effect (It's absolutely fantastic with Exp Gain Lv. 8!), and the end result is a HUGE gain in experience regardless of what the boost is. You can earn bonus time in a PSE Burst by taking waves out.
If you trigger a second maximum PSE level while you're in PSE Burst, you enter Cross Burst, where everything's even damn worse!
You can have up to 3 PSE Bursts at once.
THIS is the reason why people do the 1 hour City limited mission - The mission comes with a high chance of PSE, as well as a multi-party area, and a guaranteed Emergency Code Protection. The end result is the same - Everybody rushes Block 2, everybody all stacks together into the biggest possible group to cause the largest possible emergency code, trigger a Cross Burst, and enjoy what can only be described as the biggest mob you've ever seen in PSO.
Absolutely bloody fantastic!!
Last edited by Silvergun X; 06-07-2012 at 04:42 PM.
Yeah good impressions. I had a little go and thought it was promising, definitely has a bit of that old PSO feel to it, something that Phantasy Star Universe didn't manage. I have to say though, I did enjoy the recent one on the PSP, thought it was great!
The bottom line for me is as long as it is the same as the old one, log in, join room and kill stuff and find rare items that drop from monsters. Simplicity is the key and ease of play, no looking for tanks, healers etc, jump in and kill stuff and have fun.
Definitely waiting for the English version of it though.
You might be waiting a while. I'm going to be staying on the JP servers for the sheer content that's going to be available.
I've added some further points to the first post.
Last edited by Silvergun X; 06-07-2012 at 04:43 PM.
As someone who has been playing PSO2 for about two weeks now, and loves the original PSO games, this game is fantastic.
However Hunters are actually the only class, at the moment, to have four weapon choices, you forgot the big sword.
Apparently new weapon classes will be added to the game, with future updates.
A good way to level up, if you change classes, is to repeat some of the client orders (quests). After a few days some client orders can be repeated, and you will get the meseta and exp.
The only problem is, unless you buy another mag with AC, you only have one, and it is probably grinned to suit you current class.
Nice write up Silvergun. I'm sooooo tempted but I just find the translation stuff puts me off and would probably give me fatigue with the game faster than an english version. I'm gonna see how long I can hold out, the Japanese versions of PSO always get the best updates, but if Sega do release it in english and can't figure out that free-to-play will need constant updates it'll be doomed from the get go anyway. Not that it will stop them mind, it is Sega after all.
Can't wait for this now it's been announced for a EU release. I played PSO to death. Very good times.
Can this be played with a controller like a PC Xbox 360 pad?
Yep. 360 Controller support out of the box.
Originally Posted by MarioMark
Originally Posted by Silvergun X
So basically it's the best of PSO and PSU with controller support. That's all that's need to be done.
I'd love to play this but I doubt my PC could handle it. I may give it a download though and see how it goes. I played the DC games to death even reaching max level.