Phantasy Star Online 2 PS4 Ver. Hands-On – Phan Service [TGS 2015]

Oh dear.

This is like bringing your recovering alcoholic friend to a party at a frat house. He pulls out his 6-month chip and stares at you, hoping you say it's not a good idea and pull him away from this place. But you do no such thing. Your selfish ass is only concerned with getting drunk, but you don't wanna go to this party alone, so you bring him right in and let his crippling addiction run wild, consequences be damned.

I felt like that helpless friend of yours while I was stepping up to play Phantasy Star Online 2 on the PS4 at 2015's Tokyo Game Show. I enjoyed what I played of Phantasy Star Online 2 on the Vita and PC, but it being on a console — as it was when I found myself addicted to the Dreamcast and GameCube versions — makes it feel so much more at home to me. After hardly a minute of running around, I felt right at home in a comforting, yet dangerous way.

I only got a feel for the solo play, however, as I was the only person playing this game when I did. When I played on Vita, there were other people around. Still, slaying monsters was fun, and I could always hold my own, despite being outnumbered. I didn't get a true grasp of the difficulty, because I had unlimited potions and auto-revive, but it felt decent.

The game looked good, but one can't say that PSO2 is to PS4 what PSO is to Dreamcast. No. It looked very good, but in this era, this level of visual quality becoming the norm rather than anything that stands out. A slight frame rate drop was showing up when rotating the camera and running at the same time. The art is, of course, fantastic, but the game looked a little more, how shall I say, grainy than you might expect from the load of bullshots published by Sega.

What's also interesting to note in that slideshow is the evolution of marketing for the series. Look at photo #9 in there. It's a plastic folder that was given out at Sega's booth. The front is a shot of Phantasy Star Online's recognizable character classes, similar to the original Dreamcast version's box art. The back of that folder is a girl in a compromising position wearing a swimsuit very common to Japanese fetish magazines and porn, according to… my ah… friend.

Why? I ask, even as a PSO fan and even as a girls in swimsuits fan: why? It works for Senran Kagura, but are we really needing to make Phantasy Star Online into that, too? The whole thing bothered me. It used to be about the phantasy and the star, not the phantasy, the star, the boobies, and the swimsuit. Yes, I'm the same guy who said he'd get weird with a FOnewearl in the video embedded above. And I stand by that. But just like chocolate milk and Coca-Cola, some things are great, but should never be mixed.

And if you mix those things and like it then you can fuck right off. We can never hang out.

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