Phantasy Star Online 2 promises closed beta testing dates ‘soon’

    
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Phun phor the phamily.

Calm down, Phantasy Star Online 2 hopefuls! Why would everyone be so antsy about a lack of any firm dates for the game’s closed beta testing? Other than the fact that the game has been running in Japan for ages and was so long delayed that basically everyone interested had long since given up any hope of it coming out… oh. Well, that explains why people might be anxiously awaiting beta news, but the official announcement is still that the testing will be announced… soon.

As mentioned, PSO2 has taken the long road getting here, but Sega has been promised to get a release on Xbox One and PC via crossplay in spring of 2020. The closed beta signups were open as of mid-December last year, with the caveat that the actual closed beta would be taking place via the console only. So we can understand people being a bit anxious for the wait, but just… be patient a little longer. Please. Soon.

Source: Twitter
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Ian Wells

The problem is that it has been stated in a couple places that the game will be launched in its current version. Having played the “current version” (as of a year ago), I can say the game has not aged well. I am not talking about the graphics or combat, both of which are very nice, but the gameplay loop and a number of decisions made by the developer.

When the game launched, the core gameplay loop in early-mid game was very story focused and focused on single player quests (other player could join you on the surface so you could play with friends, but there were cutscenes and the like that told a cohesive story). As the game aged, they reached a critical point in the story that resulted in a 2 or 3 year timeskip, with two separate instances of the hub world for pre and post skip. For a long time, new players were always in the pre-skip hub, with a rotating cast of NPCs that would load in and out as they progressed through the story and met them or they died off in one encounter or another. Player who had made it past the time skip could switch back and forth, and make new characters in the post-skip period if they chose.

Eventually, as the game’s population plateaued and aged, the pre-skip period became less populated and they eventually made the decision to have all characters made past that point being made in post-skip, regardless of the player’s progress. No big deal though, right? And it wouldn’t be if they didn’t remove all of the old story content from the game at the same time. So instead of story, new players just have a MASSIVE list of stages to complete before they are allowed to progress in any story content at all, as all the previous stages are still there at their designated level ranges.

The major cut scenes are still viewable through a specific NPC that helps your character “regain their old memories” and new characters are rewarded for watching them – however this just amounts to several hours of sitting and watching cutscenes with minimal context in exchange for some free restoratives and a few premium booster items. Trying to follow the story at all is like putting the pieces together from a tattered blanket that is missing a lot of pieces, because the player isn’t engaged at all and you are missing the context of certain events that are provided by cut-in dialogues over the player’s coms.

TL;DR – Game play is fun, visuals are great if you enjoy the flashy anime esthetic, but curb your enthusiasm if you are looking forward to more Phantasy Star style story telling as the only story content unmarred by the lost pre-skip periods are a tie in with an anime about people from our world who play PSO2 where your character gets sucked into the “real world” (yeah…) and the latest story arc which is basically just an isekai where you get sucked into a fantasy world through a black hole.

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Grave Knight

Wait, the CBT hasn’t started yet? Isn’t it a little late to do a CBT for XB1 if they want a Spring release? Then again the XB1 is probably close enough to a computer that it’s mostly just doing translations.

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Armsbend

I just care about the Switch version.

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Dankey Kang

ngl, a switch version of this would be pretty poppin’

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Saxon Myers

There’s a Switch version in Japan and it’s not very good. Basically, the game is run from the Cloud and is capped at 30 FPS

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Sorenthaz

Hard to imagine a Switch version doing very well even if the engine is like 8 years old or so at this point. As much as I’d like that to work, it seems like ports over to the Switch really don’t work too well.

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Sorenthaz

Hopefully this won’t be 6 years later “soon” this time.

Still annoyed that PC has to wait on Xbox when the PC layout/etc. should mostly just require a translation job and then maybe adjusting the cash shop stuff.

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silverlock

The only thing they need to test for the PC version is the translation which they can do on the XBox version so it makes sense to skip doing a PC beta.

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Castagere Shaikura

So far I’m not liking how Microsoft is playing this. Testing for the Xbox first and not both systems together. I can see them pulling some crap favoring the Xbox.

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Grave Knight

It was probably a SEGA decision not a Microsoft one and that’s because they’re porting a PC title to the XB1. If they did a CBT for PC all they would really test is if the translations break the code or not.

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Jack Pipsam

I’m pretty sure Microsoft just provided the server infrastructure, encouragement and E3 spotlight, as far as I’m aware SEGA is handling everything when it comes to the actual bringing the game over.

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Marisa Kirisame

I’d really like the launch of this to go well, but I’ve played enough of Sega’s online titles to have close to zero faith that it will.

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Sorenthaz

PSO2’s original launch went fine. Some ships were crowded, but that was to be expected. Chances are that unless something drastically changes, the English launch will be smooth. Especially since this is an old title.

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Utakata

Off topic: It’s weird having a Touhou Project fan post here. And that’s not a bad thing. :)

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silverlock

Soooooooooooooooooon…

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kgptzac

I guess now is still too early to guess how long this version will last before getting shut down.

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Grave Knight

Well, at least it’ll have a bigger market, and we’re suppose to get the most recent Episode update when it launches, so I’d bet probably longer than the SEA version. (Did they even get the Braver job?)