One of my fondest memories from gaming included literally hundreds of hours spent playing Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II for the Gamecube. Most people had Diablo or other dungeon crawlers but i stuck to Phantasy Star like glue. I am super excited for Phantasy Star to make a come back after the disappointing Phantasy Star Universe that was released for the Xbox 360 years ago. Here are some of the reasons I am pumped for the new installment of Phantasy Star.
Thats right, the new Phantasy Star will be a free to play MMO. Slowly we are starting to see a lot of multiplayer games going to this model with some success. Included in the game will be a micro transactions shop that will allow players to pay for gear and costumes to expand on the experience. Multiple outlets have said that the full experience is playable for free.
One thing I’m worried about is the direction of the micro transaction store. During the closed beta, a 8-4 play podcast member said the micro transactions worked like a lottery. If I am paying with micro transactions to increase my gear or get a new costume I would much rather buy the pieces out right. Paying into a lottery just seems like a way to get more money out of the players and not the best option for distributing content.
One aspect of MMOs that make them so popular is customization and Phantasy Star has tons of it. The character creation screen has everything from eye color, face type, breast size and beyond. The outfits are colorful and jester like. Players of any of the old Phantasy Star games will recognize the outfits and also enjoy the new additions.
The playable characters will also be familiar to Phantasy Star players. Three races are playable and consist of Humans, the elfish looking Newmans and the war android like Casts. Each of these races branch to male or female and can be any of the three classes that are Ranger, Hunter and Force.
The Rangers are your classic long ranged gun like players. They use weapons such as rifles, pistols, machine guns and shot guns. The shot gun was extreamly helpful in past games keeping waves of enemies pushed back keeping your character safe from harm. New to Phantasy Star Online 2 it seems like Rangers will play more like a 3rd person shooter character. While watching an announcement trailer I saw the ranger character aiming all over the place as apposed to automatic targeting like in past games. While this may make shooting feel more like other shooters, drawing in a 3rd person shooting crowd, I also hope that they take the time to make this mechanic well. Nothing is more frustrating to me then playing a 3rd person shooter that does not control well and makes combat difficult.
The Hunters are melee specialists. Wielding staffs, sabers, daggers and other bladed weapons they can do major damage and don’t mind getting up close and personal. These wepons always look awesome in Phantasy Star and emit glowing eneegy. This class is good for people who love to jump in the middle of a group and deal massive damage.
Forces are support and magic characters. They wield magic staffs and wands that may not deal a whole lot of damage but can devastate by amplifying magic. One new aspect of Phantasy Star that was mentioned by a couple of beta players is a new addition of area of effect damage. This could be key for making the force class even more useful than in past games. Big awesome fire balls are great, but lighting a whole area on fire is much better for damage control.
Multiple Teared Questing and Expansive WorldsOne of the things that they have changed to Phantasy Star is questing. Anyone who played past episodes in the seriese can testify that questing in Phantasy Star was more than repetitive, it was downright boring at times. Thankfully the developers have recognized this fact and are trying to rectify the situation. Main quests will still be given out at a main quest counter, but there will be side quests and other activities to keep a player busy.
Also areas will be randomly generated giving players incentive to keep doing quests in the same area with different encounters. This will alleviate some of the pain I felt while playing Phantasy Star Episode I and II. Roaming the same areas literally hundreds of times is no fun for the player, even if it is extending play time.
Along with randomly generated stages there is also randomly generated events in map. Some areas will allow for larger groups and can feature multiple boss drops, crashing ships and large enemy mobs. Having a big ass dragon drop in the face of you and your friends can definitely be an eye opener. The drops will also get harder based on how many people are in your party giving players incentive to get large groups together to get the best drops.
Phantasy Star Online 2 will be dropping this summer in Japan and has no current release date for the US. I still am holding onto hope that it will come soon after. Look for it on PC, Vita, Android Market and iOS.
What do you guys think? Did you play any of the past Phantasy Star games? Do you guys want a new installment in the Phantasy Star series? Hit us up in the comments.