Monday, 2 April 2012

Hype Rising for Phantasy Star Online 2

I was a pretty big fan of the first Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast.  It was some of my first exposure to online gaming outside of a brief stint in Everquest where I barely lasted a month, quitting after my character died between zones somehow, and lost all of his stuff.  PSO, though, was pretty darn fantastic.  It had a really nice pace to the combat, the classes really appealed to me, and I liked the missions that I could be sent on.  Oh, and mags were pretty darn awesome.  So, there are a lot of fond memories for me of that game, and now I'm getting quite hyped for the sequel.

Oh course, I should be careful here because I don't think there's been absolute 100% confirmation that the game will be heading to the West, but I will remain cautiously optimistic nonetheless.

What's been announced for the game so far looks great.  I'm definitely getting a good feeling from what I've seen as there's a bit of a PSO aura hovering around the game.  It just looks like it's staying fairly true to the original.  The initial trailer was titillating and all, but it was probably the combat footage in the forest that came along a while ago that really started getting me interested in the game.  It's just so reminiscent of the first game with obvious graphical, and gameplay tweaks tossed in on top (especially how good the TPS aspects of the game look).  That stuff just got me really excited for the game.

Another thing that I'm glad to see is back is the music.  PSO has by far one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time.  It strikes a really good balance between good musical composition and instrumentation.  The whimsical synth-i-ness of it all is outstanding.  I think the only games that have even come close to this are the ones in the Senko no Ronde series.  From what I've seen of PSO 2, the game looks like it's doing a fantastic job of picking up right where the last game left off in terms of the music.

About the only area that I'm a bit apprehensive about is that it looks like there's a full-blown story mode in this game.  I wasn't a fan of the more recent Phantasy Star games' stories, so I'm not inclined to put a lot of faith in this game having a story that holds my attention.  (I'd love to be proven wrong though!)  The first PSO did have a story but I never found it to be too terribly in your face.  If PSO 2 does go with a story mode, I'm hoping it can pull off something similar to that.

I am quite happy to see that the game is coming to the Vita, though.  This is a handheld gaming blog after all. :p  PC is fine too, but I like the idea of PSO 2 being playable on a system that fits in my pocket, albeit a large cargo pants kind of pocket.  Not sure if I'd bother with the iOS versions of the game, though.  I'm not big on using mobile phones, and haven't taken the plunge on a tablet yet, so I don't see myself using that version of the game any time soon, but the more exposure that the game can get to different people, the better, I say. :)

Another interesting tidbit that can down the pipe the other day is that we'll be able to take our friends characters along with us on adventures while they're offline.  The characters will act as NPCs, so we aren't going to be controlling them directly from what I can understand.  From the looks of things, it seems like Sega may be doing something similar to the pawn system that is being implemented in Dragon's Dogma here.

So yeah, I'm seeing plenty to be hyped about so far.  I just want some absolute, firm confirmation that we'll be seeing this game in the West.  There will be a lot of very sad gamers if this only sees a Japanese release.  If that happens, I'll have to brush up on my language skills and get that one.  Still plenty of time before the game is released, and with that plenty of time for Sega to confirm a western launch.

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