PSO2 Alpha GamePlay First-Look

  •  “This review is from “Phantasy Star Online 2 Alpha Test 2″, since this game is currently under development, the contents may not reflect the final version. Additionally, such contents may be improved upon in the future. Phantasy Star Online 2 Official Site” 

2nd post in the series on PSO2!
This one will cover a lot of the rest of the stuff so its LONG but well worth it if you're interested at all.
This one is game-play focused so the 

"Bias Alert:
For any critic/reviewer/reporter it's important to know the biases of the person going in. It lets the reader judge the opinions better, and understand where the writer is coming from. Oddly, most critics don't announce their biases up front, forcing you to guess at what they'll prefer over many reviews. (thus creating critics who you like to ignore a lot, because they'll never agree with what you like & etc)

LOVED PSO * A console gamer at heart * Doesn't know Japanese * Prefers action games * Customization is a lot of the fun for combat/appearance/skills * Over complication/convoluted things is considered an annoyance * Making oddball strange characters that aren't mainstream or normal"

still really applies, maybe more-so here because the customization was just 1 aspect and hardly much like PSO's at all. There will be comparisons to PSO AND PSU for everyone who played it or hated them. I've done them all, for every console, every class, so......yeah experienced. First the chosen things, available areas and all:

Only used hunter gameplay
Only used android
2 available stages with boss / sub boss (forest & volcano, bosses were a ball of sticks & a dragon)

First off:
It FEELS faster. Like your guy is faster, you swing & shoot faster than PSO vanilla & PSU for damm sure
Think "god/battle"
The running is quicker meaning you get to the fun faster, which is fab.

A big beef in PSU was you felt slow. They fixed it...ish on the portables but everything's fine here in pso2. Swinging the sword around also hits all the guys not just "Set number of puny targets" like PSU so that frustration is gone.

Yes, you will love this as much as you think you will love it.
Bird in the air givin' you trouble? Jump up and whack it down. The chars feel weighty enough, you fall fast, it's not some floaty phony jumping. The jumping is awesome, a mega great addition to the game play. They make use of it in LOADS of environments too. It's not forced on you all the time, but you'll want to use it to explore. Its pretty much perfectly done, and adds great dimension to the game.

You can charge hit (like pso heavy attack) you can do combo timing, but you're not limted to the 3 hit whack whack whack of PSO or U. There's no "Chain chain" like the portables either to worry about. Just keep hitting. You have PP (as a hunter) it regens by itself, and by doing normal hits, there's no "fluid" like pso had to re-up its basically there to encourage combo variety.

Blocking/quick stepping:
I was bad at this and am unfit to review it. On a keyboard it stunk, I failed at pulling it off right. You can raise your wep/flat of the blade to block hits as a HU. You can also step-dash out of the way, force can turn invisible/teleport out of the way which is hella cool.

Why is there no FO / techs review?
I didn't play with any of them, and didn't choose it because its the "read-ey-est" class where you'd have to actually know some Japanese to pull it off well or enjoy it. I didnt know enough, neither did anyone I knew so basically fo is in the cold here. If the alpha had had more time on it,  I would have tested it out and muddled at it. All reports say 'its good' though.

Weps are what you quest for after you've been everywhere. It's an alpha, so they're lacking. HU could use either gunslash, wire lance or giant sword. RA got gunslash or rifle...thing. Felt limited, but its the alpha so oh well. We should get at least everything PSO had which was (saber, sword, twin sword, handgun, rifle, shot, mechgun, etc) when it finally comes out. Wire lance is new, and it's fun. Things will have Photon Arts (PAs) but they're not really implemented yet. So this is one of the things you can tell will be enjoyable but isn't there yet.

Enemies can & do respawn. So do boxes and traps if an area is let alone long enough. You can shoulder them aside though, if you so choose/want to go to a diff area. There's no locked gates/doors etc that the other games had. My feeling thus far is neutral toward this. It will take a lot of gameplay to determine if this is good or a nuisance. Likely dependent on how rares will work.

Good variety. Did not spot any reskin rubbish.
Wolves use the environment by jumping off trees/walls, monkeys throw rocks, nothing that takes a billion years to die and is boring to fight like some of the PSU things. Dragon was varied, with lots of attacks, goes swimming in lava to 'revitalize itself' somehow. You can knock it down & wail on it if you break the magic crystal off its tail. It's fun to fight when you're not in a panic to not die. Creative enemy entrances (dig up from ground, monkey in tree, jump out of bush, swirl o' darkness, emerge from lava) don't feel fake. Nobody felt 'cheap' either, like the Goshin Worms of PSU or the stupid "flying thing that goes out of range & makes you wait" or the turret in ruins PSO.

New to the game are events that pop up at random during missions. Protect a fallen ship, weaken enemies so they can be teleported up to the ship for study, exterminate a batch of enemies, fight a miniboss (the aforementioned ball of sticks or Rockbear (this game's Hildebear/Bil De Vear) These seem like a good thing, when they're not timed wrong. Random can mean "you're screwed" too. (if a protect the ship appears at the same time as an exterminate the billion guys...the ship one is GONNA fail because the ship becomes the enemies main target, they will ignore you and kill it off)

These seem fun, and will not be tiresome if they don't end up being super frequent in the final. The importance will be the availability of quests with various objectives like PSO had.

Over All:
Potential to be the funnest PS___ yet. If they up the wep variety, up the PA variety, & give out masses of quests that have various objectives as well as leaving the free-roam as good as it is, it'll be fantastic. Hopefully more monsters too. You know more environments are on the way.

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