For a game that is slated for release in Japan by the end of 2011, details about Phantasy Star Online 2 have been quite scarce. That all changed when a sample group of Japanese gamers were picked via lottery to try out the alpha version of the game.
As described by Famitsu, the first major change is the vast selection of character creation options. In the previous versions of Phantasy Star Online, your choices were limited to a few preset models for each race/class combination. This time around you can go more in depth in terms of hairstyle or body proportions. The races still consist of Human, Newman, & Cast as well as the three staple classes: Hunter, Ranger & Force, so veterans of the original should be excited about that.
New to this version is the ability to jump and perform aerial moves. Players will also be able to create their own combos consisting of regular attacks and abilities called Photon Arts. While four person parties will still be the standard, there will be quests that can be accepted by up to 12 players, also known as multi-party quests. These new quests give a MMORPG flavor to the game, and it’ll be interesting to see how they pan out. In the meantime, here’s the trailer that was revealed at last year’s Tokyo Game Show:
I never got to experience Phantasy Star Online‘s original Dreamcast release, though the Gamecube version is one of my favorite multiplayer games of all time. Sega has tried multiple times to recapture the magic with the release of Phantasy Star Universe and even some of the portable titles like Phantasy Star Portable (1 and 2) as well as Phantasy Star Zero, all with varying degrees of success. Hopefully, this next entry can match the success of the original and perhaps make its way to consoles someday.