Sega's PC-Only PSO2 Screens, Video

After a long wait, Sega has finally released the first batch of screens and gameplay footage from its upcoming PC-only sequel to Phantasy Star Online. The game was originally revealed last year at the Tokyo Game Show, but little else has been revealed since save for news of an alpha test launching sometime during the next few months.

According to Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) producer Satoshi Sakai, participants for the test will be chosen at an unspecified time over the summer. To quality in the drawing, interested gamers must (1) grab a code by playing Phantasy Star Universe and/or Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst, or (2) purchase one of the first copies of Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity for the PSP handheld and grab a code from that. More details about the alpha test drawing are expected soon.

However, just recently over in Japan, Sega showcased gameplay footage from PSO2 to the press. According to Andriasang, the story was translated as follows:

"The ship fleet Oracle (written in Japanese, "オラクル") which travels the endless stars. A new adventure that awaits on the countless planets. Invasion of the malice that covers the universe. The name of the people who face off against them is Arcs (in Japanese, "アークス"). Will the universe be saved, or will it be swallowed up? It's in the hands of the hero (you)."

Also during the PSO2 press event, Sakai took the stage and told the audience that Sega is aiming to bring "endless adventure" back into the RPG genre. He said the sequel is a "brand new title" and hopes long-time fans, online gamers and even new players to the series will enjoy the new installment. The baseline structure will reportedly feature randomized fields to keep the gameplay consistently fresh. The original third-person perspective and combo moves from prior PSO games will return, and players will actually have the ability to jump.

Looking ahead, Sega may want to ditch the subscription-based model and go with the highly-popular play-for-free scheme with PSO2, allowing gamers to download and install the client for free (or for a small price), and then pay for items like special armor, weapons, MAGs, access to specific planets and so on. Then again, this is Sega-- F2P is probably out of the question.

As seen below, we have gameplay footage taken from the recent press event held in Japan. The screenshots (15 in all) can be accessed from the PSO2 official website here.

Phantasy Star Online 2

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  • PSO (and V2, and Ep 1 & 2) were great back in the day. Had a pretty advanced character creator for its time, especially for a console. Communication was good too, again for a 1999 era console. The visuals were great, and I loved the MAGs.

    If they manage to recapture some of the magic, while making it much more modern at the same time, I might play it. Going PC-only though may bite them. I don't think they have the resources to deal with cheating, and it is easier to do on PCs.

    They should take some elements from PSU, like player shops/apartments, and the crafting/grinding elements. They eventually patched it so that a failed grind didn't destroy the item, only reduced its max rank by 1 each failure, which was nice. But items need to display how many failures it has suffered, useful when buying a used item.
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  • I disagree, PC only will probably save the game by consolidating the game population, so that you don't have split servers for different systems (which hurt PSU). Also being PC only, Sega will be able to patch how it wants and whenever it wants, not having to wait on approval of patches from Microsoft or Sony; simply having this freedom can help a developer with the game.

    I also think they need to be careful about adopting things from PSU, some of which were PSU's downfall. To me it would be best to go back to more of what PSO was like, and get rid of the grind that was in PSU. PSO took forever to hit lvl 200, but it was fine because playing the game was fun, it wasn't grinding in the essence of what grinding means. PSU forced you to do things you didn't want to do, but had to in order to be the best, and that is the essence of grinding and they definitely need to stay away from that.
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  • PSU AOTI was one of the best games I've ever played on pc!
    Even better than WOW!

    The only thing is that it is expensive ($48 per copy), and it needs an internet connection, even to play offline!

    System requirements are also pretty low, could run on max settings on a C2Duo 1+ Ghz with GMA950 @400Mhz (using GMA Booster) at 1024x768 and frameskip 1, perfectly fine. You did had to disable mip mapping (I believe), or the bloom effects would slow down the game too much.
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