Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis has launched on the Xbox consoles and PC recently, and the new free to play MMO had at least one of us excited to see what the game had to offer. Many of the crew are longtime Phantasy Star fans that just want a new story focused title...but until that time this will have to do.
Initial impressions for me were mixed, mostly due to technical issues actually getting the game to successfully launch. Once past that hurdle you are thrown onto the beaches of a strange world having mysteriously dropped in from orbit. Players can choose between a few different classes - all your standards are here - close combat, ranged, and support with a few mixes in between. Classes dictate weapons and abilities you can use, and eventually you can unlock a subclass that lets you quickly switch depending on the scenario.
Combat is definitely the highlight of the game with it being fast, fluid, and satisfying. The giant open world is a huge change meaning if you see it, you can go there - no more hub world into instanced missions only. This also yields some great world events fighting the DOLLS in the game (think giant glowing robots) with many other players.
All of that said there's still a lot of QOL features missing in the game, and while there's a pretty strong tutorial in the beginning - we still found ourselves asking a lot of questions. Even the most basic things like starting a party for co-op seemed like we had to jump through several hoops. Perhaps the most egregious thing we found was just how deep into the F2P tropes the game has with high failure rates for core activities unless you purchase items that increase your chance of success. No bueno.
We're still pretty early into the game, as evident below, but we do run through some of the basics including leveling up, upgrading weapons and armor, and the open world the game lays out for you. Take a watch and let us know what you think.