Just a recap on the Phantasy Star series, Japanese role-playing games originally released for consoles by Sega. The series debuted in 1987 on the Sega Master System with Phantasy Star, and continues into the present with Phantasy Star Online 2 (also known as PSO2 for short) and other extensions of the PSO sub-series. The games series is set in space with a science fantasy feel to it rather than medieval, but does feature a cross-genre combination of magic and technology.
Phantasy Star Online hit the Dreamcast in 2000, and continued making RPG fans happy on the Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Windows. PSO was not just an adventure but an ‘online’ frontier to co op with buddies across the world which made it so attractive to the Dreamcast platform (first online accessible console).
Now since all consoles including handheld have internet access, you’re spoilt for choice with free-to-play MMORPGs. After the demise of Sega a decade later, Sega has brought out a full blown sequel in Phantasy Star Online 2. But does this sequel have the magic of the original or is it just another forgettable free-to-play MMO? Hell no.
At the moment it’s only been released in Japan but with some help from Google translator and instructions from Kotaku.com, you can download in Japanese and enjoy for yourself. Most MMORPGs attack an enemy and trade blows until one of you dies. PSO2 includes the skill to dodge so you can make the game as hard or challenging as you like to your own skill base of course.
The one con I remember from my days on the Dreamcast, you get beaten, you drop your items and oh look that robot just swiped my swag. Since you select a quest and go to your own private instance for that mission, this can’t happen anymore *horrray suck on that robot*. Also work’s for the co-op, it’s great, more enemies equals more experience points and no looting-theives to steal it, whatever is on your screen won’t be viewable to others.
The community is welcoming with an array of different players but on the English side you have lotas of resources to help explain things like bumped.org and PSO-world.com can help players unable to read Japanese.
Another highlight is the ability to change your character’s class at any time. I found it took me a while to decide if I liked being my class so I’d end up starting over and making new classes, so this is a God send saving us all time customizing our characters from scratch at level one.
Just to reiterate, it is completely free to play, however you can buy extras: costumes, additional character slots, exp bonuses, and your own room.
Phantasy Star Online 2 was released on July 4, 2012, on the PC in Japan.