E3 2019 kicked off with some rather unexpected news. After years of never getting any sort of official English release, Phantasy Star Online 2 was revealed. It actually will be appearing outside of Japan, and there will be some changes that really shake things up. Like, you know, it being exclusive to a console on which this game has never appeared before. To help people prepare for the sudden arrival of this beloved MMORPG, Michibiku is here to take you through everything you need to know!
What’s Phantasy Star, in general?
Well, we actually did cover a bit of Phantasy Star before. (You could say we’re Phans.) In general, the series has always been about fighting back against evil, a Dark Force, as it attempts to wreak havoc across the galaxy. People can be resistance members, government agents, or mercenaries that end up visiting different planets as they attempt to save the day. Since it is a futuristic affair, different sorts of races appear, such as androids, cyborgs, humans, and half-monster Newmans.
Phantasy Star Online 2, being one of the MMORPGs in the series, is slightly different. All players are explorers who find themselves on one of the Oracle ships. This is a fleet looking for a new home planet for its citizens to live. Each avatar is an ARKS member who is helping with the exploration efforts while also dealing with Dark Falz Elder and its Darkers minions. (See? There’s that Dark Force.) As of right now, Phantasy Star Online 2 allows people to make CAST, Duman, Human and Newman characters. The current classes are Braver, Bouncer, Fighter, Force, Gunner, Hero, Hunter, Phantom, Ranger. Summoner and Techer.
How did Phantasy Star Online 2 get started?
Well, Phantasy Star Online 2 has been around for quite a long time. It first appeared in 2012, after it missed its initial launch 2011 launch window. It was originally only for the PC, and has always been a free game. Instead, people could pay for a Premium Service that added some extra features or acquire ARKS Cash microcurrency to buy certain items.
After its PC launch, Sega gradually rolled out the game out onto new platforms. The PlayStation Vita was first, getting its port in 2013. A few years later, the PlayStation 4 version launched in 2016. Most recently, the Nintendo Switch version debuted in 2018.
In North America, people will be able to play the MMO on the Xbox One and PC in Spring 2020. This comes after Sega initially announced an English localization in 2012.
There is also a supplemental Phantasy Star Online 2 game. People with Android or iOS devices can get Phantasy Star Online 2es. It showed up in 2014. While it is not identical to the full MMORPG, it acts as a complement and has its own storyline.
Right now, there are six Phantasy Star Online 2 Episodes available. Each one offers new story missions, sometimes new races, new places to visit, different monsters to fight and other additions to keep the adventure fresh.
Has Phantasy Star Online 2 ever been available in English before?
Yes, it has been! Back in 2014, Asiasoft put together an English-translation for Southeast Asia. However, since it was for a different region, people would have to use things like Torrents and Tweakers to acquire the game, then turn to VPNs to fake locations and get started.
This English version of the game ran from May 29, 2014 until May 26, 2017. It not only offered a localization, but some of the game elements, like the menu, were altered to make it easier for people to understand.
While the official Southeast Asia English version is gone, there is a Phantasy Star Online 2 English fan-made patch. But, considering the current state of the game in the West, it would probably be best for people in North America to wait for the 2020 Xbox One and PC launch.