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Phantasy Star Online 2 (Vita version) Hands-on Impression from TGS

Posted on Thursday, September 20 @ 06:46:29 Eastern by Heath_Hindman

Three Asian journalists and one white journalist walk up to a table and sit down. This is not the beginning of a joke.

No, this was the situation when I played the Vita version of Phantasy Star Online 2 at the Tokyo Game Show.  The booth worker pointed to me and said "And the player in THIS chair is the team leader!"

Fortunately, with that great power came no extra responsibility. There was a little bit of slowdown as the four of us warped through a tunnel to the battlefield, but once we were there, play seemed very smooth and easy to follow. Sometimes with a game, no news is good news, by which I mean, with a lot of these TGS games, bad things stick out in my mind whereas a lot of the positives are viewed more as "things that didn't go wrong". Fortunately, that tiny bit of zone lag was pretty much the only hiccup with PSO2.

Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast was my first online gaming experience of any kind, and the GameCube version provided me and my siblings with hours of offline co-cop entertainment, so the series has a special place in my heart. I was greatly looking forward to jumping back in, and I was welcomed with a game that felt fun and interesting to play.

My character was dual-wielding pistols. Per action RPG standard, I had a couple of variations of regular attacks as well as a few specials. One of my character's more dramatic moves would have made Bruce Willis proud: He dove while shooting both guns, rolled, then jumped up, extended both arms outward (crucifix shape), and began firing while spinning in a circle. It was pretty great and I told my team next to me, "That's move, my move, I found the move that I do, guys. I will do that as much as possible."

I got no response because it was a socially awkward situation and I was definitely being a douchebag. But I was their leader and trying to encourage my troops, so they were also being douchey followers. Sega's attendant denied my request to fire the team and hold interviews for new followers. Sega's TGS manager denied my request to fire the attendant on hold interviews for new attendants.

We trekked across a pretty green area killing all the toadlike monsters in sight before teleporting. We of course fought a giant dragon in a volcano next. The fight was furious, and I got snapped with a hard tailwhip right into some lava; the combination of the two knocked me out, but since this was a demo, I got auto-raised. It's kind of a different game when you realize you're invincible, so from that point the four of us took no regard for our health and just slaughtered the thing. We died several times each, I'm sure, but hey, demo rules. Without that, I could tell that PSO2 would be a much more strategic, careful, difficult, and intense affair.

I'm definitely looking forward to the Vita version, after the great playthrough at TGS. The game is out now on Windows PC in Japan not yet in other territories or on other platforms.


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