Wednesday, December 29, 2010

[Game Review] Phantasy Star Portable 2

I will be working on getting some more info on TN HEN up, such as plugin suggestions, soon, but for the next few days I'm going to post reviews of the 3 new games I got on Christmas, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Invizimals, and of course today's review, Phantasy Star Portable 2.

The first thing I can say about this game? Wow. Just wow. The amount of improvements is hard to count. The AI's are actually useful now, they improved the "class" types a ton, gave the game a much nicer town, and added a shit-ton of new features. Yes there is so many I found the need swear. Sorry little kiddies.

Lets start with the AI's, since that is the single best fix they made over the first Phantasy Star Portable. For anyone who hasn't played the original, imagine this. You are a Force, which is this games mage, blasting at a boss from afar and buffing your partners up. Everything is fine, except one minor detail. Your partners are sitting beside you staring into space. Not only can you not tell them what to do, but they won't attack something unless it's right beside you. If you start walking away, they usually stop and stalk you again. In the new version they actually do something, making Forces and Rangers much much more playable. They're still a bit stupid sometimes, but much better still, and you can tell them what to do. Though they never seem to listen to me tell them to heal... *shrugs*

As for the types, this was one of the more interesting ones. In the first one you had 3 basic types and some advanced ones that behaved like MMORPG skills, they required different combinations of levels in the basic types. In the new one, you have 4 types, and instead of getting better versions, you can extend them with abilities, and you get to choose which weapons you use. Weapons that are off-type, such as a wand on a Hunter, are more expensive to use, but still possible. I love this, it gives much more room for customization and making strategies. The types also take much longer to level, which makes them quite a bit more satisfying, considering the abilities and extend points you get as a reward.

The town is a simple, very needed improvement. The game is much like the original Phantasy Star games now, with you able to actually walk around the towns to the shops, and even more so in this one, you get your own customizable room, which in the multiplayer modes, you can invite friends into. Wow run on sentence. Anyways. The town is split into a big 5 point star. At the top is Little Wing, your mercenary company, complete with annoying boss and sexy secretary who seems to be from Quebec. Then clockwise from there is the residences, more on the rooms later, then the main shops (weapons, armor, items, types), then the "extra" shops (decorations, costumes, salon, mystic), and lastly the Cafe, which you get non-story-related quests from.

For those rooms, those contain a ton of features themselves. Your little apartment is made up of 2 or 3 rooms, depending on your design. There is the front room, which is the one you do the most decorating in, the bedroom, which has your bed, MySynth(aka partner machine), changing room, storage, and Visiphone, which lets you do what the old room did, access records, get rewards, etc. The third room which is optional is this tiny side room with a table, 2 chairs, and a window. To customize the front room, you talk to your MySynth and tell it you want to decorate, and a bunch of grids appear everywhere. You can place your decorations with these grids, and theres a bunch of spots in your bedroom for table-top decorations.

There's plenty of other small things. They redesigned a majority of the game to mimic the online versions of Phantasy Star, from item sprites, to the way armor modules work.(no more of that specific stuff from the first one) Still no trainable MAGs though... The mystic is just someone you pay for random blessings, which can improve almost anything for a single mission. They also revamped the controls. The circle button's quick menu now has an armor slider, first person is now done with L+D-pad, and select is the quick message/AI commands. You can also dodge now, by pressing cross at the same time as pointing with the analog stick, though it costs PP.

All in all, I love this game. It's gotten the most playtime out of the 3 new games. If not for the fact it's on a PSP and lacks the trainable MAGs, I would consider this better than the online versions. Still pretty damn good though. I highly suggest this one to anyone with a PSP.

For those who actually have the game or get it, and read through all this, here's a little gift, possibly the cutest decoration ever. On your Visiphone, enter this code: 51355133

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