Phantasy Star Online 2 Launch Impressions

Phantasy Star Online 2 Launch Impressions

I’ve been playing the full version of Phantasy Star Online 2 quite a bit lately.  Thankfully all my character progress from the beta was save, and I have made enough progress since the beta ended to have some more things to say about PSO 2.  The first thing that I have come to realize is that this game is not an MMO; rather it is an action RPG with online multiplayer.  In fact it is quite possible to play the entire game by yourself, as you can collect AI companions to take the place of live humans.  The party size is limited to four, so you will never have the massive raiding parties that you would in a more traditional MMO.  I must say that I am really enjoying this style of multiplayer.  I’ve never really been able to get into the multilayer community in one of these games before, and even though I’m part of a team, PSO’s form of a guild, it’s nice not to worry about coordinating schedules with other players.  

I’ve also gotten deeper into some of the mechanics of the game and unlocked a new zone.  I got my first mag a while ago and it hasn’t really shifted the way I play the game yet.  It’s still low level so it has no real abilities other than an emergency heal.  I expect that if I am able to level it up more it will become a more useful tool.  In order to level up a mag you need to feed it items.  However, there is a limit on how much you can feed it in a set time frame, preventing someone with a huge backlog of useless items from over feeding their little floating buddy.  The premium options are beginning to appear in the game.  You can pay to have your own house, run a store, trade items, have multiple characters, expand your inventory, and more.  I haven’t accessed any of these options yet as it require some navigation of a Japanese site, but I’m considering it.  Most of these options seem to give you some nice extra features without severely hampering the gameplay of free players.

I’m beginning to understand the combat system better, and I’m getting the hang of timing button presses and activating special abilities.  It’s good that the combat is still entertaining as I’ve had to play the same levels many times over.  In order to unlock new party members and areas you need to S rank missions in a short time limit.  Depending on the mission this can actually prove to be a difficult task, as you may need to find and kill a number of specific monsters that could be scattered around the map.  Despite some of the frustrations I’ve had with the game, I’m still interested in playing more, especially because I’ve unlocked the next area:  The Lava caves.  I may have some more things to say, but this will be it for a while as the game does not seem like it will radically change in the near future.