Asiasoft announced that they were publishing Phantasy Star Online 2 in English (PSO2) about a week ago, and just this afternoon, I got several hours hands on with the game during a closed door media preview.
Having already tried the Japanese service, I had some high hopes. This was a Sega title, after all.
For the uninitiated, PSO2 is an MMOARPG (the ‘A’ here stands for action, in case you were wondering) with console style graphics and aesthetics where you play an ARK recruit in a sci-fi setting.
ARK recruits are essentially the equivalent of space cadets, and once you’ve customized your character (and the level of customization is quite comprehensive) and picked one of several races and classes (with localized archetypal names of warrior, ranger, and wizard), you’re thrust into a fairly deep and involved story line with all the hallmarks of a classic JRPG.
The good thing of course is that the game can be played solo or with friends, and features instanced dungeon maps linked to a central hub. Friends, naturally, make things go a whole lot smoother.
I was a little sad that I didn’t get to roll a Deuman or Braver at the outset, but I’m sure that the good folks at Asiasoft will be making them available sometime in the near future. *hinthint*
Now, on to the localization.
One of the biggest challenges I’d expected this release to face was the dialogue and the VOs. The original Japanese cast included some top name seiyuu, and matching up would be a tall order. It was a pleasant surprise when I discovered that rather than dubbing the NPCs over, the company had chosen to streamline the written dialogue instead, without compromising any of the nuances from the original.
And that, of course, was a win in my books.
Needless to say, PSO2 is a game best experienced, and with the Beta test coming up 10th to 13th April, we’re giving away some Beta keys to a few lucky readers who live in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, or the Philippines.
These keys will also give you early access when the game goes live sometime in the next two months, so be sure to check out our Facebook raffle for more details!
You can also keep tabs on the latest developments PSO2 in English developments through their official Facebook page.