Oh my God, I’ve been waiting years to type this sentence: Phantasy Star Online 2 is FINALLY available to be played on PlayStation.
Now, this game launched a decade ago so it definitely looks dated but I’ll be real, I never play SEGA games for their looks. I play them for the mechanics they never seem to let go off and that’s what I got here.
Playing the game almost immediately took me back to my Dreamcast days when I played the first Phantasy Star Online and was blown away that the people I was playing with were real. When Phantasy Star Online 2 first came out on PC I played it for a couple of days until the overseas audience got REAL sick of American antics and banned all foreign IPs. So I’ve been waiting.
So, now that I have it downloaded on my PS5, yeah, it definitely looks dated. Especially with the fruit snack-like textures SEGA loves to give us in a lot of their games. But, oooh, it plays good. It’s everything I remember from the previous game but a lot faster paced.
What’s different though is the game has been dragged through free-to-play hell. Normally, in a Phantasy Star Online game, whether the ones for Dreamcast, Vita, 3DS, or otherwise, you’d find cool weapons and armor by completing missions. But now, a lot of that fun seems hidden behind an insane gacha mechanic.
I also miss how many of the previous games had a fantastic hub world which seems a bit bastardized here. For example, your can still have your own room, but you literally have to pay rent on it if you want to use it. And instead of the excellent system of hopping into small isolated mission instances, a lot of the game seems to just use the tired open world mechanics of all other MMOs which is honestly a step backward for the series, in my opinion.
It’s still a blast to play once you get through the incredibly long tutorial. And the combat is really interesting to experiment with. So once you get past a lot of modern inconveniences, returning fans will still find something to love here.