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   PlanetDreamcast | Features | Previews | Phantasy Star Online Version 2

Phantasy Star Online Version 2
The PSO addiction continues with Version 2. - by Celeryface

PSO V.2 Logo

Last winter (2001) Phantasy Star Online hit the Dreamcast and took the world by storm. Phantasy Star Online was the first online console RPG and THE time filler for many gamers across the world. PSO uses a revolutionary communications tool that breaks languages berriers, giving all gamers the chance to play together. But what about gamers in Tokyo, or Toronto, how do they setup times to meet? Well the "Beat System" was developed and is used in PSO as a unified time zone that PSO players live by in this online world. It goes without saying that Phantasy Star Online was a revolutionary game in many ways. To fill the hunger for more PSO, Sonic Team has developed an add-on disc of sorts called Phantasy Star Online Version 2. The game is already a huge success in Japan. The response has been great for the game, and has brought many to import the game here. The US servers are already up, and importers have been enjoying Version 2 for months now. So wipe the drool off the side of your mouth, and lets check out what will be included in this add-on.

PSO Version 2 is considered an add-on disc, but not in the traditional sense. Gamers will not have been required to have previously owned or played the original PSO to play Version 2. The title will include the original Phantasy Star Online within its entirety, so if you do not own the first disc there is no worries. So not only will it include all the addictive goodness found in the original PSO, Version 2 will have a new set of features, bug fixes, and gameplay enhancements.

The Delsabers are back again!

Check out this new environment... Looks pretty nice, ehh?

One of the major upgrades in PSO Version 2 is that it breaks the level 100 character limit. Now you will be able to earn your way up to level 200! You will also be able to covert your existing character over to Version 2, or you can create a brand new one. Many PSO players have been estatic that they will be able to break out of the level 100 cap, as many hardcore players have been living at level 100 while still building up experience points. Unfortunately, any experience points gained after a player reached level 100 will be lost when converting their character to PSO V.2.

New powerful monsters have been added to the game to help build your character's experience, and to add some new faces to the game. Also, new rare items can be found throughout the PSO world, just inc ase you are into collecting all those treasures.

Sonic Team has gone all out for the PSO fan. They have included an Infinite Challenge Mode (to test endurance), the Ultimate Difficulty setting for those hardcore players, Battle Mode (Deathmatch style) where you can battle player vs. player, and soccer Lobby Ball featuring up to 12 players and the ability to chat with others (recruit players for your team). Another very cool feature that has been added is the online day to night transitions. Sonic Team has added day to night transitions that actually take place in the online world, using the Beat Time system. It will be interesting to see how this actually works, but I'm sure Sonic Team has it working quite well.

I don't even want to know what this thing is.

The new lighting in the forest is very eerie.

One of the major concerns for many PSO players is Sega's new "Pay-To-Play" online strategy. Server and maintenance costs can get pricey so Sega has decided to have a fee to play the game online. US gamers have been enjoying the first PSO online for free, and many don't want to "pay to play" the next installment online, for obvious reasons. But Sega has been trying to keep the cost as low as possible for us gamers, and has come to a final price point. The online pay system will cost you $15.00 for 3 months of unlimited play. If you're still concerned, remember that Japanese Dreamcast gamers have been charged for online games for a long while, and this is our first online Dreamcast charge. So I think $15 for 3 months is a pretty fair deal. But if you are still concerned about the cost, the original PSO will remain free of online charges.

Don't play PSO online? Well there are some that don't, so they will be happy to hear that the game still can be enjoyed offline (with no charge, only the cost of the game), but certain quests and features will only be available online. Sonic Team has been releasing new quests for Version 2 fairly often (in Japan), keeping the game interesting and fresh. Sonic Team has also been striking down on cheaters in the game, by doing server maintenance and patching to get rid of cheating. So Sonic Team is trying their best to keep the game enjoyable for the all PSO players.

Phantasy Star Online Version 2 will be released this September 12th, 2001 for the Dreamcast, is rated "T" for Teen, and will feature a $39.95 price tag. Look for our review shortly after its release.

Essential Links:

  • The Official Sonic Team Website - Your source for all Sonic Team related information.
  • Sega.com - The only truly reliable source for news and the release date of the American release of PSO V.2.
  • PlanetDreamcast's PSO Review - See how we rated the first PSO.
  • PSO World - The best place of the Internet for all things PSO.
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