PSO2: Gameplay So-Far Review

Post assumes you are familiar with Phantasy Star / Phantasy Star Universe.

The previous post for PSO2 had some early details, impressions about the look of the game / customization and slightly social stuff, so now it's time for the important bit: game play!

All the areas are not open from the start.
You have to do more than the PSO standard of 'touch a pillar, fight a boss" to open them up. Here, the language barrier comes into play. The missions to open new areas are straightforward, but you'd never know that unless you can read Japanese. Things like "capture Nab Rappies in under 12 minutes" is an easy thing...but not when you can't read a word of it. However, with the guides it's all quite do-able if you keep in mind you need a guide

Character build

Mag:
Your character build can be helped/customized by your mag, which works about like it did in PSO. It's a little floating metal widget that changes shape as you feed it. It does the equivalent of a photon blast, and most importantly isn't a sassy frilly robo barbie with crap AI to irritate you like it was in PSU. It boosts your stats and helps you out. It also costs dollars (real money) to reset it, so build it right!

Skill Tree:
The skill tree is used with 'skill points' which you get something like...1 of every time you level. The tree has different paths to emphasize different things (ie. do you like swords best? or spears?) so of course that's another guide to read about because.....it costs dollars to reset this too!

Your Char:Your level is your 'class level' in this game. You don't have a base 'guy' to level. If you switch from hunter to force, that makes your char "level 1". Of course, if you switch back, you get your old level back too. Your opened-up areas stay open as well, so it's not sending you back to square one. The various places DO have level requirements, such as level 10 for the volcano. Other places like forest & city, have no minimum. Hard mode (and likely ultimate/whatever) does also exist.

The action:
It's fast and furious. This is not some boring point and click whatever. You're jumping, dodging, rolling and combo'ing all about the screen. Enemies are fast, so you've got to be faster to stay ahead of attacks. There are skills (throw off an an energy 'blade' from your sword to strike at a distance! learn a new kind of barta to freeze the whatevers!) which, just like PSO are learned as disks at whatever level of disk you find. No more PSU "grinding" by AFK spamming skills, you find 'em the old fashion way. And wow are some of these quite flashy & cool to see!

The monsters:
So far, nothing seems to be a re-skin. Remember how on PSO the Evil shark, pal shark, guil shark, dimenian, so dimenian, la dimenian, vulmer, go vulmer, melqueek, booma, go booma and all of those were basically the same guy? NOPE. Not here. They said variety, and they meant it. There are 2 types of dagan (a spidery, 4 legged thing that skitters over debris/walls/floors) however, they both make sense. The new dragon is not a re-skin of any current dragon. People annoyed by this can all relax, you'll have a varied fighting time here.

The Darkers & Monster Brawling!
The Darkers are the badguys here. Like the SEED in PSU, they can show up almost anywhere which throws variety at a level automatically. Also, the native creatures of wherever you are hate the Darkers too. Monkies will throw rocks at them, in-built defensive tech will fire upon them, and even BOSSES will FIGHT OTHER BOSSES. It is rare, epic, and awesome to witness the Ragne (giant spider) duke it out with a massive fire breathing dragon...and then give you exp. This is interesting to witness, and of course you can step in and help 'em all go down faster if you want. For a first hand account see: Captain Rockbear funny post.

The planets

This is a multi planet, space-faring game. There are several areas to visit on each planet, as...in reality, planets are big and have loads of different environments to explore. Being able to not only add entire NEW planets to the mix, but to throw more areas onto each one is also a creative opportunity. They're also NOT like PSU, where everyone is scattered over stupid, distant lobbies with meseta fees to get there. ALL games are always access able from the camp ship & main ship counters. No more "white beast" moronic set up. You go where you want.

Naberius is a forest type planet. It has a temperate forest with rocks, trees, waterfalls, streams & fields. Then there's a frozen northern forest.

Amduscia is a volcanic planet. It as a volcano interior with venting gas, pouring lava & falling rocks. It also has an outdoor igneous area with canyons, lava and a view of the sky which has...floating green islands for you to explore! There are people here too but they're confusing/zombie like because the darkers affect them (I guess?) and make them attack you.

Lilipa is a desert planet. It's very mysterious because it has intelligent harmless inhabitants. They always lived there. Another people came to the planet too...long ago. They built strange towers into the stratosphere, and mined the planet's interior. Then, they either died, or all left. Their remaining machines are tough and malicious. What happened here? You can explore the sandy surface or the underground mines.

Weather:
Weather is another interesting element. It can lightening storm (and hit you) fog (and reduce visibility) sand storm, rain, snow, or be sunny. This adds variety.

Code: Whatever
Throughout any mission, any number of announced "codes" can appear. Such as
collect (artifacts appear- get them!) or duel (a big creature in a non boss area- defeat it!) or
protect (a pilot has crashed his ship, save it from monsters till he can take off!) or
rescue (one of your non-npc team members is kidnapped into a cage- save them!)
Finishing these gives exp as a prize. They're random so they spice up wherever you are further still.

Mysteries Remain...
Other game play related mysteries remain, such as the story, the 'matter' board, how the non-attack rappies got to every planet despite not having space ships or however much...intelligence....they're a charming animal but...no hands. Are there badguys? Why are the darkers around? What's driving all this mess? Will we fight other humans/humanoids?

Mystery should remain at this point. It should always remain...because solving things & discovery are what drives big games like this onward with content & areas. Plus, with this Upcoming Update video, you can see that they're serious about content (& summer stuff too)


Conclusion so far:
Try it. It's free...and you'll have a good time if you liked this review.
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