Above: Here's some footage of the software in action
Continuing on the Phantasy Star Online 2 discussion from my last post, Sega has released the game's character creator and a hardware benchmark program for players to try making characters for the game as well as testing to see how well their PCs can handle running the thing. The best part of all is that you don't need to be in the closed beta to use it, anyone can download it and fiddle around for a bit (I'll put a link to the download page at the bottom of this post). Everything is in Japanese, though, so if you cannot read the language you'll need to experiment a bit to figure out how to do anything.
I've had quite a bit of fun just fiddling with the character creator. There's actually quite a lot of control in what you can do here. Tons of tweaks can be made to height, weight, facial features, and accessories, so in those areas I can see a lot of variation coming about amongst the community in terms of the characters running around. There don't seem to be a huge number of costume types, though, with only about a half dozen-ish in many cases being carried across different races, ie. Numans and Humans wear similar clothing. You can customize the clothes' color schemes, and add decals to them, but there is still a lot of overlap going on there.
The music is nice too, and it's really getting me excited for this game. It just seems so much like PSO is running through this game's DNA. In my last post, I mentioned how I wasn't sure that the game would see a release in the West, but I'm starting to get a little more optimistic about it if only because so many English files were found in the alpha version of the game (why put those there if there won't be an English version of the game), and apparently Spiral Knights has been doing reasonably well for Sega, so they may have more incentive to further pursue free to play MMOs with PSO 2 down the road. Anyway, fingers crossed.
(Here's the link to where you can download the character creator / benchmark: http://pso2.jp/benchmark/download/ )