Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis has kicked off its closed beta test on PC

    
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As promised when the global closed beta was first announced back in April, testing of Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis has begun in earnest, kicking off on PC yesterday at 9:00 p.m. EDT via everyone’s favorite games distribution platform, the Windows Store.

Of course, this being a beta, there are a number of known issues with the build to bear in mind, but if you’re among those able to get in to the test, there’s a variety of in-game rewards awaiting for those that achieve certain goals like reaching level 10 or defeating the Nogleth boss enemy. Rewards include a set of Rappy earrings, SG Tickets, and a stamp.

Bear in mind that testing is extremely limited, running between now and Sunday, May 16th, until 10:00 p.m. EDT. The number of people admitted into the test is reportedly in the “tens of thousands” so there is still a very real opportunity to kick the tires and offer up feedback.

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Bruno Brito

I’m going ballistic here because my windows updater isn’t working properly and so isn’t my microsoft store. So, i can’t install the Xbox Insider Hub.

Sigh.

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Bruno Brito

So, still the same game with some improvements and open maps? Eh.

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Dankey Kang

Not in the slightest, it’s more like breath of the wild meets monster hunter now.

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Blaaznar

So… Dauntless?

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Bruno Brito

You’re making me wanna play this.

Please, don’t do this to me.

Real talk tho, if it’s like still Hub-based were you can only make one quest per mission, etc etc, then it’s similar, but i do wanna test it.

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Dankey Kang

It’s not really hub based at all now. Basically you start in the city and you can come and go as you please. There are NPC’s which give you tasks but you can take multiple tasks and do them at your leisure.

The amount of freedom you have is actually really impressive. You can climb that massive mountain outside the city and then float from that mountain to the tower in the city with no loading screens or barriers or anything.

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Bruno Brito

Cool. So it’s not like everyone hangs out on the ship hub anymore? That i like. Finally solved the WUpdate issue and i’ll probably be playing if i get in the beta.

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Dankey Kang

So I don’t know how they managed to do it, but they’ve made an open world MMO which feels and plays like a regular action game. Everything seems so AAA, the movement, the combat, the soundtrack etc… There’s some consolitis with the menus but it’s not a big deal really. Exploring is super rewarding and enjoyable, the public event system encourages people to group up naturally, it just all works. Waifu game is on point too.

Definitely going to be making this my main MMO when it releases, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a game this much, let alone an MMO.

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kgptzac

If you check out PSO2 gameplay vids you’d find the music in New Genesis is… a mere imitation. I don’t know what happened but there’s a definitely a drop in epicness with the music, when the original has set the bar sky high.

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bobfish

PSO’s music has been getting a bit weaker with each version.

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Dankey Kang

It has but PSO1 had stellar music, some of the best I’ve heard in a game. Gameplay/graphics are things you can generally improve on over time but music is a tricky one.

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Cyber_Nietzsche

Hows the interface? i remeber PSO2 had a terrible menu driven interface

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kgptzac

I think it’s gotten a bit better, but not a whole lot. The whole system is still driven by (and limited by) a console-oriented control scheme that you are familiar with as in PSO2. At least now minor windows can be repositioned on screen. Still there isn’t typical PC game stuff such as opening two windows (ie char stats and items), or mouse over tooltip box. Basically the important stuff aren’t buried 3+ levels within menus.

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Vanquesse V

It’s the same basic structure of menus and archaic shortcuts, but instead of having 30+ menus to browse through to find what you need it’s like 8 now. It’s not the greatest, but everything is in a very logical and easy to find location

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psytic

I don’t know what it is but every time I play this beta I feel like playing something else like another game does elements that I like in this game better. Like if I want a sci fi fix I’d rather go play Destiny 2 the game play feels tighter to me. If I want to go kill giant monsters I could go play Monster Hunter World or even GW2. Characters have weird alien faces as well so its hard to make a character I like. Something about this game leaves me feeling like “meh”? Open world does look nice though as compared to say FFXIV which has a good engine but bland over world.

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Drunk3nShaman

So far is good, will play more.

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kgptzac

I was curious how much “more” of a MMO feeling New Genesis offers compare to the original PSO2… and the answer is, not much more. The core gameplay is still revolve getting a quest from town, and go out in the field to kill mobs. Only now the fields aren’t procedurally generated but much more vast and detailed.

Specifically, it’s not the typical MMORPG where even outside of towns, there are NPC littered around in smaller villages and settlements, providing side quests and lore to the world. There are none in New Genesis, which is a sad direction this game as gone for.

The pacing of the combat seems somewhat slower now. Maybe it’s due to the zone being low level and players tend to scatter around the huge and quite vertically traversed terrain. Minions and lesser enemies take much longer to kill in solo, and boss fights are mostly certainly not worth the time doing unless there are multiple players on the spot.

Basically this game is a flashback to my time in JP PSO2 during its open beta, where there are very limited amount of things to do and the most wow factors are stuff being new shinies. New Genesis is still a much-instanced game, only transition between instances are under the rug now. I’m not sure the new iteration is more or less into the Monster Hunter paradigm since I am not a fan of MH myself, but the influence still is felt quite acutely, which unfortunately is not targeting new audience who wants a different and truly fresh entry point to the Phantasy Star franchise, but more appealing to those who are already played/playing the original PSO2 and are fine with New Genesis taking a smaller, iteratively evolutionary step towards “newness”.

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bobfish

The time to kill is quite annoying, even once you’re a few levels higher than a mob, you can still spend a silly amount of time trying to kill it, as the game is really focused on gear score.

I never felt powerful in the fights, though the Trials, with groups, were fun.

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iShirow

From a PSO2 player’s pov I have to say that NGS has vastly improved the game from what I have seen so far and I really like it. Just reached lv10 w/ power level 1050 on my gunner so I have earned all the cbt rewards, here are some thoughts on NGS:

As expected the game graphic visuals have been upgraded and it does look amazing. It has proper AA techniques such as TAA and FXAA, which was one of the usual gripes people had when it came to visual quality on the DX9 version of PSO2. Everything looks sharp and modern, though I wished they had gone with DX12 or Vulkan as seeing that DX11 is starting to fade. However, the game is really taxing under DX11 if you want all the graphic settings to max, before I could max 120fps (my monitor’s refresh rate) while using reshade with shaders like Global Illumination and other techniques but now it has dipped to around 45-60fps. This is using a 3700x Ryzen 32GB ram nvme ssd w/ a RTX2060 Super.

For fashionistas they have upgraded how many visual accessories you can wear from 4 to 12 in total now. The game always had a great deal of customization when it comes to looks and they further expanded upon it. They also now allow you wear weapon camos(skins) for every weapon and not just one.

Gameplay wise it has become even more dynamic. While watching their streams showcasing their movement skills like gliding I was pretty ho-hum about it, but now in-game I can see why they were a bit proud about it. The freedom of movement really feels great, you can easily scale walls and mountains to reach the top. They even had a trial where you had to run, double jump and escale walls which could of been easily in a Sonic game.

With these changes to movement you no longer need to rely on using PAs like the katana one (which I hope they add that weapon style soon, it’s my favorite) to move about so it is a good QoL from my view.

The world exploration is seamless and doesn’t require any loading at all when moving in between zones, the only time you would need to load is when you decide to teleport far away. Combat zones/dungeons are limited to 32 people, which feels similar to what the Secret World did during their instances making people a bit scarce but not enough so you can hunt together or alone if you like. You can always switch room instances by clicking on the tower if you feel there are too many/ not enough people around like when a boss spawn shows. Bosses, like usual in this game, are gigantic and even in these low level zones have massive HP pools and can one hit kill you if you aren’t careful enough.

They have shuffled quite a lot of stuff from the previous game/version. You no longer gain skill points for your class from leveling instead you earn them by doing trials called cocoons. You find cocoons by exploring the world.

Weapon augments are no longer extracted from weapons that need to be sacrificed instead you gain them by using modules. You won’t lose previous augments that were in the weapon when you decide to add a new one now. Augment slots are gained now by unlocking the weapon potential/ limit break. Overall seems more streamlined and less of a pain, you won’t lose augment slots if you spectacularly fail now.

Haven’t done any UQ quests since I haven’t been online during one and couldn’t find a timetable for it. Hope I get to see one before the end of the weekend cbt since UQ quests are one of the things that make PSO2 fun.

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Dug From The Earth

closed beta test rewards?

what now?

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iShirow
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Vanquesse V

The poly count didn’t go up that much but textures are better and the shaders are making the game look stunning in a pretty unique way.
The game phases you between instances as you move about on the world, so as you move around the game will put you with new people near you.
Character models are much prettier, and there are no more gender locks for cosmetics.
having loot be auto pickup is another nice change. Not to mention not having to deal with mag feeding (it was an incredibly counter-intuitive system, and one of the biggest noob traps I’ve ever seen in an mmo).
Moving from small instances of mostly corridors to a giant open world with a stunning view distance is really cool

Leyaa
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Leyaa

Wow, thanks a lot for your detailed review. Sounds great! For someone who couldn’t continue PSO2 after ~25 hours due to technical issues, this sounds like a fantastic upgrade. Fingers crossed that it will work for me this time!

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ashiru_1978

I watched a stream to get an idea, because I don’t have a Microsoft account (and don’t want to have one) so I can’t sign up for the CBT, and my impression is that it literally looks the exact same thing as the currently existing one.

If it launches on Steam or somewhere that does not require a Microsoft account, I will definitely give it a honest try and see if I like it.

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Dug From The Earth

Well… I dont hate it. I found myself enjoying it more as I played more.

Its definitely foreign feeling, and I dont mean because its from Japan. Combat is fun, but targeting is SUPER clunky and awkward. Graphics are beautiful, but SUPER unoptimized (my gtx 1070 had to run the game with everything on low to not have my GPU running at melt down temperatures). Sound effects are very anime, even the interface noises. Game seems to have a lot of intricate depth to it, even down to the chat system which is nice.

I enjoy that it feels more open world (even though its really not true open world) than its predecessor. There are even secrets to discover as you explore. Movement is great. Love the double jump, the wall jump and the glide. One of the best movements in games like this next to something like city of heroes.

Aside from the optimization, my only real gripe is how very little the game explains all its systems and such, when so much of the game is pretty complex and full of mechanics. Even simple things… one of my characters attacks (linked to middle mouse) was this swipe attack that had this hex grid shield visual. Only, it didnt do any damage, didnt seem to protect or put a buff on me, and there was no description for what it was for or how to use it. The game has a slew of options, but many of them are labeled for game elements unique to this game that you wont even know what you should set them to until you actually familiarize yourself with those elements.

Given time to learn the game, and hopefully the industry finally making GPU’s available for purchase at realistic prices, I think I could quite enjoy this game.

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Castagere Shaikura

Did they give you more options for keymapping?

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Dug From The Earth

More? I wasnt super familiar with the first game, but i was able to map a few of the combat keys to other things i wanted, including remapping the middle mouse to one of my side mouse buttons.

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Castagere Shaikura

They have strange restrictions on what keys you can use. Keys you can’t use like arrow keys is the strangest one. Every MMO I played didn’t have the restrictions like pso2.

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Vanquesse V

keymapping and control customization is *generally* really good in pso2, but as you mention further down there are some really weird arbitrary limitations.
My “favorite” is that scroll lock is hard coded to toggle making any keyboard input go directly to chat.
I generally hate double tapping to dodge or similar, and while NG has a keybind for your dodge move, I don’t think you can trigger running in any other way than double tapping W.

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Dankey Kang

You can. I have dodge on my sidemouse and it triggers running if I hold it. I turned off double tap dodge immediately since it kept firing by accident.

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Vanquesse V

Thank you so much!
I didn’t spend too much time tinkering with settings as I didn’t plan on playing that much, but this is great to hear.