Phantasy Star Online 2 is an interesting title with quite a lot of history behind it: this makes sense, as it was originally released in 2012 and didn’t make its way west-ward until 2020 on the Microsoft Store, and later Steam as the Microsoft Store was having issues parsing the consistent file updates and keeping everything organized.
So eight years after its release we have a graphically outdated MMO featuring the Phantasy Star universe, replete with more anime characters than you can shake a very big stick at.
It’s a fair statement to say that the entire title looks dated; pixels abound as pop-in rears its ugly head in most environments, a feat considering the environments are closed off interconnecting sections (akin to Monster Hunter pre-World).
In spite of all of this, however, it’s an absolute blast to play through as long as you’re not particularly averse to seeing interesting anime-like outfits while you’re adventuring.
The combat continues to feel solid with parrying and blocks, dodging through the map, and a wild litany of skills that you can learn and incorporate while you’re slapping every enemy foolish enough to cross your path.
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— Phantasy Star Online 2 – Global (@play_pso2) August 11, 2020
The graphics and age of the title don’t even interfere with the enjoyment of the base game and its multiple mechanics, although there are a wild number of menus and mechanics that you’ll struggle to understand as you progress during your time as an Ark; crafting still eludes many as does the occasional exhausting task of lining up cutscenes to progress through the story of each episode the title currently contains.
In spite of these drawbacks, however, Sega is noticeably pleased with how their free-to-play MMO is doing currently after its western launch; an estimated $13 million was gained in the past quarter from PSO2, and they’re continuing to get up for the incoming release of Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis which will thankfully offer far better visuals and fidelity for those that are nitpicky.
The recent trailer shows just how much additional love is going into the franchise with the New Genesis expansion that revitalizes not only the visuals, but thankfully the questing system and world as a whole.
With a brand new system incoming to freshen up the game, and a current system that allows players to become familiar with the entirety of the story prior to New Genesis releasing, there is a slew of features that you could very well be exploring right now for the cost of nothing.
With over a million are already battling against whatever evil forces are present, and the title seems to be picking up more steam with age, Phantasy Star Online 2 looks like it’s settling in comfortably with the western hemisphere after languishing for eight years.