REVIEW: ‘Phantasy Star Online 2,’ ARKS Prepare for Battle in the West (Xbox One)

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Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2 is a free-to-play lobby based action RPG with MMORPG elements currently only available on the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Developed by SEGA, this game has been a long time coming. Since it was first teased about being released outside Japan nearly 8 years ago, we now have the game in our midst to digest and enjoy.

The concept of Phantasy Star Online 2 is simple since it’s built like a hub-based RPG. You are a highly trained military personnel called an ARKS. Your task is to go to various areas of the planet Naverius and suppress the hostile entities there. This usually requires you to fight your way through two randomly generated areas to reach the final area and take out the final target(s). As you do this, you will be able to level up your ARKS operative and gain access to better weaponry and armor and use more powerful skills.

The story is pretty long and can get very confusing very fast. But, if you’re really curious about the background of the characters, I would say play it. At the time of writing this article, there is an event going on that will reward players for playing through the story. On a personal level, if a developer has to incentivize playing through your story with an entire event, it can give off the impression that you may have a weak story. However, if you prefer to, you can skip the entire story mode and just focus on grinding out your ARKS operative’s classes which there are currently 9 of.

I call Phantasy Star Online 2 an action RPG more so than an MMORPG because of the style of combat. It’s very fast, flashy, and fluid. You have a normal attack and also have the ability to equip up to 5 skills. You can play in parties of up to four, which comes with its own set of benefits as compared to running solo. Playing in a group of four gives all players bonuses to gold, experience, and rare item drop rates. Playing with human players gives a more lucrative bonus, and will get a less lucrative bonus if running with NPCs.

Phantasy Star Online 2

The game isn’t really hard to pick up and play, as the tutorial does a good job of teaching you how to play your class. The game does however fail to teach you about everything else the game has to offer, from selling items to what certain terminals do until you happen to stumble across them on your own. Once you do, you’re given a pop-up window with about 3 pages of information, which can be either helpful or not. I have to explain to several of my friends how certain things work because the game doesn’t hold your hand anymore after the main tutorial has concluded.

Phantasy Star Online 2 has been a blast to play. It easily satisfies my itch for a good RPG. The fact that you can either hop on and play for 10 minutes running your dailies or play for hours with friends makes this game really fun. However, playing with friends can be a major hassle at times as the current issues with PC clients have lead to a lot of people turning away from the game. The fact that it’s also cross-play is a major bonus, but when the PC players get kicked from the game, the game deletes itself from your PC or forces you to have to download the game numerous times in hopes that this install works. Suffice it is to say, there’s a lot of work needed to be done.

Overall, I can’t praise this game enough, to be honest. Anytime someone asks me what I’m currently playing, this is the first game that comes out of my mouth. My favorite part about saying that is that I can tell people all about this game, and possibly persuade them to check it out too. I feel once Phantasy Star Online 2 expands to other consoles like it’s Japanese brethren, and possibly even pops up on Steam, this game will take off and be around for years to come, especially being that they announced new content being released in the West in August.

If you’re curious to check out Phantasy Star Online 2, you can download it now on Xbox One or the Windows 10 store.

Phantasy Star Online 2
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Overall, I can’t praise this game enough, to be honest. Anytime someone asks me what I’m currently playing, this is the first game that comes out of my mouth. My favorite part about saying that is that I can tell people all about this game, and possibly persuade them to check it out too. I feel once Phantasy Star Online 2 expands to other consoles like it’s Japanese brethren, and possibly even pops up on Steam, this game will take off and be around for years to come.