Phantasy Star Portable 2
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
The Phantasy Star series has a long history and a very dedicated fan base. The original Phantasy Star Online is viewed in many people’s eyes as one of the best RPGs ever made and a pioneer in MMO gaming, specifically on consoles. While its popularity may not be at the same level as other RPGs, Sega is still churning out games. The latest in the series, Phantasy Star Portable 2 attempts to give handled gamers a worthwhile experience by improving the online side of things. While it does manage to offer plenty of multiplayer options, you will have to deal with a few issues to truly enjoy what is available here.
PSP2 takes place a few years after the events of Phantasy Star Universe and the first Phantasy Star Portable game. Here you’ll be able to create a new character from scratch or if you have a save file from the first, it can also be imported. Your character is recruited by a private military group called “Little Wing” after you encounter one of their members early on in the game. As a member of Little Wing, you will be tasked at doing assignments while progressing through the game’s story. The SP element has its moments, but it feels more like a training exercise for the game’s main feature: the online play.
Unlike lats year’s first Phantasy Star Portable title - which only had local multiplayer - PSP2 offers both local and online co-op for you to enjoy. When playing online you have the ability to partake in a number of mission types. Your mission options include Open ones, which typically have you and your party defeat boss characters on the four available worlds. Tactical missions will have you do various tasks such as completing dungeons, finding items and collecting samples. If you’re looking to do battle with other human players, then Battle missions will satisfy your needs allowing you to battle others either as a team or one-on-one. The last available mission type, Challenge, puts you in specific mission scenarios that require you to complete missions as quickly as possible. These are definitely a hand full and will be a treat for those looking to see how good they really are.
In story mode, Battle and Challenge Missions are replaced with Story Missions (which are required to progress through the game) and Trade Missions (which have you trading specific items with other in-game characters). In terms of the single-player campaign, mission availability unlocks as you progress through the story; when playing online, you unlock them as you play.
The way you play the game is entirely up to you, some may find playing the single-player story enough but thankfully your character’s skills and experience are improved upon in both modes.
Combat is done in real time. You can modify your character and their weapons and armor a number of different ways. This will be required as certain foes can only be attacked with a specific weapon type. Your character can wield two weapons at a time and switching hands is a simple as holding the R button. Also, some weapons can use Photon Points for Phonton Art attacks which yield more damage.
Photon Points are actually fairly important as all ranged weapons, guarding and dodging use them. While it replenishes at a fairly quick rate, you will need to learn to use it wisely in order to progress.
Combat can be enjoyable at times, but it is seriously hampered by some really poor camera options. We’ve heard complaints in the past on how bad action games can be on the PSP and this is no exception. The camera controls are adjusted using the directional buttons but you can also reset it behind your character by pressing the L bumper. Holding the L bumper is also supposed to help lock onto enemies. You will rely on this quite often to help you track a fast moving character, but unfortunately, it doesn’t track properly. If your character or the enemies you’re facing are moving around a lot, it doesn’t lock onto anything at all.
Adding to the problem is that your AI teammates are not very bright and the commands leave much to be desired. Seriously, expect to die a few times before you progress. In some spots it can be manageable and there are ways of working around it, specifically using ranged weapons; but when you’re dealing with larger or faster foes, you will be at a serious disadvantage. The only saving grace is that even when you do die, none of the items you’ve obtained or experience gained is lost.
Visually, PSP2 doesn’t manage to offer much due to poor draw distance and some minor clipping issues. While there is a nice selection of enemies and the bosses are well done, some of the environments are quite unimpressive and a lot of sections are too linear to offer much variety. On the audio side, the areas with spoken interaction fit the typical JRPG landscape and some of the effects are alright. Again, not spectacular but it gets the job done.
Ultimately, your enjoyment with Phantasy Star Portable 2 will correlate with what you plan on doing. If you’re going to play alone, you will have to deal with some noticeable camera issues and hours of grinding. If you’re planning on playing with friends or strangers, you’ll still have to deal with the same problems, the amount of content available may make up for it.
+ Online is a lot of fun
+ Lots of customization and items to collect
- Level grinding
- Weak AI
- Ho-hum environments
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Release Date : TBA
System : PSP
Publisher : SEGA
Developer : Alfa System Co
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : 0
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