Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to the West — and it’ll be free, too!
Phantasy Star Online, the epic sci-fi fantasy RPG, is (officially) making a triumphant return to the western world as a free-to-play MMO. It’s been more than 10 years since the first game dropped on the Dreamcast, bringing massively multiplayer gaming to consoles for the very first time.
10 years may not be enough time to justify the use of the word nostalgia, but I’m going to use it anyway. Many, many people loved the original Phantasy Star Online very, very much. I think it’s a safe bet that many of them will return to this franchise with open arms, the nostalgic memories of the original pulling them back to the Phantasy Star universe like a siren song.
As for everyone else out there who has no idea what Phantasy Star Online is, well, trust me when I say this game’s draw runs a lot deeper than simple nostalgia. Phantasy Star Online 2 is an action oriented MMO with instanced environments. Played from a 3rd person perspective, the battlefield is randomly generated every time you step out onto it. This means no session will play the same — which, when you dump as many hours into this game as I plan to, is always a plus for an MMO.
Satoshi Sakai, the producer of Phantasy Star Online 2 at SEGA of Japan, says “The number one thing we want to provide players in Phantasy Star Online 2 is an adventure that changes every time they log in. Just as great table-top RPG experiences revolve around imaginative and unexpected encounters, we want players to consistently be surprised as they explore dungeons and undertake quests.”
Phantasy Star Online 2 features three races — human, newmen and the robotic cast — and three classes — the melee based Hunter, projectile slinging Ranger, and magic using Force. Because each class has their own specialties — for example, Force characters heal — finding a well balanced party to play with is imperative.
Though action plays out in real time (with combos and counters to boot), Phantasy Star Online 2 is still very much an RPG. As such, a detailed leveling system will allow you to make your character your own. A plethora of character creation options will ensure that your character looks like your own as well.
“Phantasy Star Online was a revolutionary game when it was released, and we want to make sure that its successor in the series is every bit as ambitious,” says Chris Olson, Vice President of Digital Business at SEGA of America. “We look forward to introducing Phantasy Star Online 2’s unique, easy-to-access multiplayer action to the rest of the world next year!”