The loot-gathering, monster-bashing multiplayer game originally released in 2012 but never arrived to the West. How can it believe eight years later? Somewhat clunky but strangely addictive. Phantasy Star, which began on the Sega Master System in the 1980s, is one of the very famous and long-lived Japanese role-playing game series. The atmosphere, a vibrant mixture of science fiction and magic, has consistently felt experimental. This was no clearer than with Phantasy Star Online, an oddball online RPG for the Sega Dreamcast. As MMOs worked to establish themselves, Phantasy Star Online directed the charge on consoles.
It followed in the footsteps of Diablo, offering a sparse story with wicked monsters and a range of randomly generated maps for levelling and searching down loot. Phantasy Star Online 2 retains that structure but has more personality customisation, side activities like fishing, along with also an evolving narrative. When it released in Japan in 2012, it was a success, but Sega was sketchy when it came to a western release. Fans clamored for years until it was declared at last year's E3. The Xbox One beta provides those fans exactly what they have always desired, though new gamers might find the first experience confusing.
Your job is to explore new worlds for habitation and fight off a variety of monsters in the process. There's an overarching plot along with your new partner and also a mysterious doctor, however it starts slow. Through the years, this has expanded into multiple episodes packed with mysterious weapons, hidden identities, and warring territories. There's even an anime. However, that is not actually the hook. It is a sort of late-night gaming popcorn where you log in, determine what assignments your buddies are operating, and hop planet side to learn what you may find.
The combat revolves around several important features including deliciously rhythmic button presses which provide more damage if you get these right. In any particular fight, you're switching between a"pallet" of weapons for your preferred --for me this usually means an exciting shift between long-term bow shooting and speedy katana slicing--while also juggling unique abilities. You may wind up acting as a"Bouncer" who speeds along on jet-boots or a summoner with adorable monster pets. There is a little bit of everything, and it's really surprised me how addictive it is to rush out to the area and handle different bosses.
But in the minutes where the port slows down activity in the field, Phantasy Star Online 2 reveals its age. It is an enjoyable adventure, but there has been years of streamlining in other games like World of Warcraft. MMO fans interested to see what the fuss is all about might find themselves gritting their teeth in occasional frustration.
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