Is the new Phantasy Star Online 2 PC release worth playing in 2020, 8 years after the initial release in Japan?
Judging by the amount of hours I’ve put into the game in the first few days so far, my short answer is *yes*.
I think the winning aspect of this game is the combat system, even though PSO2 is around 8 years old, I was pleasantly surprised by the slick combat and how responsive the gameplay is. This game can be compared closely to monster hunter and diablo. You hang out in town where there are tons of things to do – shop, gamble, craft, etc. Then you accept client orders (tasks) and queue up in a mission to board your ship. Essentially, this game is a dungeon crawler and not an open world MMO. Each mission is self contained and you can redo them on different difficulties for exp and loot.
The combat itself is slick – enemies don’t feel too much like bullet sponges and you can swap between a target lock on system or use free aim mode which turns the game into 3rd person shooter style for ranged attackers. Animations are done really well; melee attacks are pleasing to the eye and satisfying to land, they also give me flashbacks to Devil May Cry. For those who don’t know my taste in games, I love the concept of MMOs/Dungeon crawlers, but often hate the combat system and how enemies just feel like sponges while you spam every key on the keyboard. So when I enjoy the combat in a game like PSO2, it means it has to be pretty good.
There is still a ton of content I haven’t explored yet, but I did have a lot of fun at the casino. I explored a few of the mini games, and you’ll find some familiar things – roulette, blackjack, slots, and more. My friends and I definitely spent a bit too much time hitting the slots, but at least we know never to go to a real casino together, because we apparently have a gambling problem.
There are definitely some quick tips that I wish I knew before blindly trying to level up my character.
- Spend some time doing the initial tutorial missions, especially the ones from Afin and Cofy, who are found near the ship entrance, they will unlock extra things to make your life easier
- If you don’t have friends on ship 2, consider starting in ship 1 or 3, less people means less lag
- You can usually do missions 5-8 levels higher than you relatively easily for better experience
- ACCEPT CLIENT ORDERS, these provide the most experience for you to level up significantly faster – you’ll be focusing on the orders on the far left, far right, and at the counters by your ship gate entrance.
- Do urgent missions that pop up during certain time frames, they are fun and efficient for leveling/loot
- Look up guides on how to distribute your class skills, you can level your class skills at one of the counters
- Don’t bet all your casino money in roulette
PSO2 has a few bugs here and there. Some people are having issues with the Microsoft store; fortunately, it was all seamless for me. There is major lag in the main lobby when your block (server) is full, but NVIDIA did release a driver that helped a little bit, but didn’t fully fix it. I’ve also been disconnected at extremely inconvenient times and lost out on bonuses. Hopefully there are some fixes for PC, it has only been out for a few days.
I am enjoying the game and I think anyone who enjoys this genre should give it a try. You also don’t need to worry too much about the premium plan or paid subscription. The game is free to play and the paid bonuses are nice to have, but not game breaking at all. The only thing I’m missing out on is the inability to sell items or trade with my friends (kind of sucky, but it could be worse)
Grab it in the Microsoft Store.