Phantasy Star Portable 2
You’ll still be hunting for loot, 100 hours later.
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Players: 1 (up to 4 for Multiplayer)
The worst situation for a long running video game series is to have its fans bemoaning each sequel, since the problems plaguing it are never rectified. How many franchises have gone down in a blaze of glory early on, with subsequent releases never reaching the mark of their predecessor? The Phantasy Star action RPG series has been a member of this unfortunate category, and just has never been able to match the all-out success that its first entry, Phantasy Star Online, has reached. Phantasy Star Portable 2 has definitely set the ailing franchise back on track towards success, and is an excellent RPG for your PSP library.
By now, if you’ve heard of the Phantasy Star series, you either hate what it’s become, or have been sticking around, hoping that it will come around to achieve its former glory as one of the most prolific Action RPG series of this decade. While recent titles like Phantasy Star Zero have been inching its way to what most gamers used to love about the series, Portable 2 drives remarkably closer to that nostalgia that originally drew us in. This is definitely a game to get your hands on.
There are a variety of unique characters to choose from. Your alter-ego can be one of four races; Human, Newman, Cast and Beast. Their fundamental differences are only apparent in their statistics. For example, Beasts have the most physical power, while Casts are the most accurate in landing attacks. Conversely, Newmans excel in mental capability while Humans are versatile in every stat, but are masters of none. Next, you can choose one of four battle Types. You can be a Hunter, which is a primarily physical attacker, a gun-touting Ranger, a spell slinging Force, or a Vanguard (a hybrid of the three). Finally, you can select which weapons to be proficient with. You can choose any combination of weapons categories to focus on, although some mixes may not have the best results. Even though you may be a Hunter, it may not be very smart to run around using a magic wand. Your Type and proficiencies can be changed on the fly, so experimentation is encouraged.
The major premise of Phantasy Star Portable 2 is simple. You fight monsters, acquire better weapons, and grow as a character. All while you’re doing this, you’ll be getting strong enough to challenge even more powerful foes. The majority of your playing time is spent tackling the 50+ open missions, which typically entail battling monsters with no end in sight. Your character progresses relatively quickly, and you’ll never be stuck in any one place for too long. With 200 levels to achieve, you’ll constantly be getting stronger to face monsters that were previously too difficult. While combat in a Phantasy Star game has usually centered upon simply attacking with the familiar 1-2-3 rhythm, there were some holes in this. You could never block your opponent’s attacks, nor could you dodge them. Both of those issues were addressed in this game, and these two additions make fighting a lot more enjoyable. Similarly, monsters can do the same as you. They work in groups, and actually pose a challenge.
This is a really long game. Although the story mode can be completed in about forty hours, there’s much left available to do after that. There are four levels of difficulty for each mission, as well as over 1200 weapons to collect. Most importantly, there is a multiplayer mode. You have the choice of either connecting with players locally, or if you connect to Playstation Network, you can play with others over the internet. Working together with teammates is where this game really shines, as there’s nothing better than taking down a huge boss, or conquering a difficult mission with the help of your friends.
Phantasy Star Portable 2 is an excellent action RPG for the PSP. There are a number of things to accomplish, and online play definitely will help you spend an insane amount of time playing with friends. Most importantly, you can carry it on the go!