Phantasy Star Online 2 Review (Windows/PS Vita)
I remember when this game was announced some time ago, me and all my friends were excited for this game, to the point to where we all got Windows 7 on our Macbook Pros. We knew that even though we barely knew any Japanese we weren’t going to let that hold us back, so as soon as we could get it in Japanese, we got it. This won’t entirely be a review where I just have finished the game once, I have put over 130 hours into this game, so needless to say I have a grasp on the game. This review will be a dual review of both the PC and Playstation Vita versions.
The graphics are something that surprises me in a sense. The graphics are really good for a free to play game, but at the same time it just doesn’t live up to what I would expect from a major gaming company like SEGA. The point to where I notice this the most is the enemy textures all seemed out of place to the nicely detailed character textures. My other complaint has to be that this game isn’t fluid at all, especially with my main class that I play as, hunter. The sword movements seem to be choppy to say the least plus besides specialty moves, they seemed to just use the same 2 or 3 animations over and over again, which for a game that came out in 2012 seems a little lackluster to say the least.
Just like all online Phantasy Star games, the story doesn’t get in the way, which I am actually a fan of because that means that you can do everything you want without ever really getting into the story if you don’t want to, though at the same time if you know the story, you are easily able to get the story with the specific places on the ground where you can walk up to them and get the story, providing you know Japanese that is.
The maps are something I can both praise and say that I am not a fan of, since they give you a wide variety of places and randomized maps, but at the same time there is little to no exploration in these areas. That brings up where at times the game feels a little bit repetitive. You commonly find yourself doing the same group of things over and over again, that being start a new quest, go into the same semi-linear maps, just fight enemies and get to the end of the areas, until you get to the end of the quest where you usually end up either fighting a boss or doing an emergency quest.
The real fun of this game comes from getting together with some friends and just playing together, which at the core of it all is the main point of the Phantasy Star Online franchise. The way that they execute it in this game is decent, but at the same time I feel that they could have done something more to push it over the top. For example, they could have done it so one party member could use their gun to stun the enemy when then the hunter comes in to deal a devastating amount of damage to the enemy. It also seems to me at least that the number of enemies don’t really seem to change no matter how many party members you have.
The one major distinction between this and previous Phantasy Star Online games, is that they finally introduced a jump button into the mix of things. That one feature alone brings in a whole new level of gameplay which can both help and hurt the game, mostly being that it seems like at points the jump button seems like a second thought. The controls other than that seem pretty good to me, well besides using the mouse for the camera, but that’s just me not being a big fan of using the mouse for third person games since I’m more used to using analog sticks. I guess if I was to nitpick about the controls it would have to be the dash on the PC version of things seems a little counter intuitive and sometimes doesn’t work when I double tap in the direction I want to go, but this was fixed in the Playstation Vita version of the game.
All in all, I had a lot of fun with Phantasy Star Online 2, despite it even having flaws, a lot of my minor gripes could even be fixed via patching in terms of controls.
Phantasy Star Online 2 scores a 7 out of 10
About the Author Zach Johnson
Co-founder, lead director and game designer at the indie game studio known as Remerance games. I try to always make reviews by merging and finding a nice harmony between a designer and personal point of view. Some of my favorite types of games include JRPGs, rhythm games and obscure Japanese games. Expect me to review old and new games.
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