Phantasy Star Online 2 Closed Beta Impressions
- May 1st, 2012
- By MogKnight
It blew my mind back in 2010. Phantasy Star Online 2 was announced to the world and there was much rejoicing. Then gameplay footage and trailers starting popping up, showcasing a battle system that goes beyond anything we’ve seen previously in Phantasy Star Online or Phantasy Star Universe. Long gone are the clunky animations, boring gun play, and drowning yourself in fluids to keep your tech spells going. PSO was reborn.
Recently, Sega has announced that Phantasy Star Online 2 will be a free-to-play game and will also be showing up on mobile devices and the PlayStation Vita. What was more important was that a closed beta and open beta was planned. I managed to get myself into the closed beta, and I’m enjoying every bit of it!
Phantasy Star Online 2 Beta Teaser/Trailer
One main complaint that most people will find going into the original PSO or PSU is the fact that, as an action RPG, everything felt stiff. PSO2 alleviates a lot of that by allowing players to freely form combos using their normal and special attacks while preventing the issue of mindless button mashing by rewarding players who time their attacks.
Item finding is still very much an important part of the experience, and now players have their own loot drops. No more will you have to charge in against other players for that red rare box when it drops! To spice things up, random scripted events will occur where an “emergency” objective will appear. Completing the objective will net you some more XP and meseta. There are also quests where you will enter multi-party areas where you will be roaming around huge areas with other parties. Don’t expect a huge MMO gathering in these quests though as these are more of a “party within a party” situation where it caps out at 16 players.
The current level cap is 20 in the beta. Thankfully, if a certain class isn’t working out for you, you will be able to change your class freely. Each class also has their own set of skill trees that you will be able to assign points to. If you want to specialize in different builds for your class, you can also buy more specs to suit every need. Just expect to spend some real money for this addition.
There’s a lot of social actions that you will be able to do. Adding on to your typical dancing and waving emotes, you will be able to slam your fancy face across the screen with a chat bubble and annoy the hell out of everyone! Fancy clothes can be had too, though I would assume more will require real cash to purchase. You can also sign up for a premium service that allows you to have your own personal room, a shop and the ability to trade items with others. Just take note that when you do rent a room, it’s completely empty! It might even be a trap to try to get you to buy furniture too.
I spent most of my time playing Ranger. It definitely feels like Rangers are pretty powerful, a lot more involving compared to PSO, and definitely not boring compared to PSU. The set of photon arts given to the Ranger and their rifles can deal a great chunk of damage though their regular attack is nice for chipping things down. Thankfully, they do account for enemy weak points and shooting those specific spots will deal more damage. Having access to rockets and launchers sweetens the experience.
Melee weapons offer something unique as well. As you start building up your photon art arsenal, you can attach up to three different arts to your melee combo. You are able to activate specific arts based on where you are on the chain combo with the special attack button akin to something like Dynasty Warriors. Some arts can pop an enemy up and lead to juggle opportunities. Some lead into massive attacks that will fill the area.
Forces can not only bring the pain with their powerful tech spells but now they will be able to hold down and charge their tech for more damage. Thankfully, your resources for spells can be recharged simply by switching to another weapon and using that to attack and recharge. Gunblades are particularly useful in these moments as you won’t even need to melee since there is a ranged mode on those weapons.
While the game primarily sticks to a quest/mission system that is seen in Phantasy Star Universe, completing certain requirements will unlock a free roaming area that sort of mimics the classic PSO formula of running through an area and kill the boss. So far, the beta features Forest and Caves, except that they’re given names but we’re all going to remember them as Forest and Caves. It also features a City mission that only occurs at specific times of the day.
For those lone warriors out there, you will be able to summon NPCs that you befriend during the course of the story. If you do have a few friends, you can also summon them as AI NPCs if they aren’t there to assist you. While not the best substitute, they will hit things and will soak up some damage for you. Overall, it is always better to go with a full party than to go completely solo. Full XP is always gained even if you don’t touch the mob.
Overall, Phantasy Star Online 2 is shaping up to be the perfect game to spend hours upon hours on, much like the time I have spent playing the original PSO. Everything is fresh but it comes with a very familiar taste that is sure to attract new and old fans back into this franchise. I can only hope that there will be a full on effort to bring this title overseas, translated and in English.