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Platform

Playstation Portable

 

Genre

Action / Role-Playing

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Developer

Alfa System

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 14, 2010

 

 

- Character customization and classes
- Massive amount of items and loot
- Free online multiplayer

 

 

- Inconsistent difficulty
- Spotty camera
- Long dungeons with no quicksaving

 

 

Review: Valkyria Chronicles II (PSP)

Review: Phantasy Star II (Genesis)

Review: Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II (XB)

 

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Phantasy Star Portable 2

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

phantasy star portable 2          phantasy star portable 2

 

Sometimes, a game that was originally met with lukewarm reception can find new appreciation in another console; such is the case with Phantasy Star Universe, which began as a PS2/PC successor to the cult classic MMO Phantasy Star Online. The sequel failed to live up to expectations, and was shunned by fans and critics alike. Fortunately, we all know Sega isnít one to stop making shoddy spin-offs just because everyone hates them (just ask a certain blue hedgehog), so one portable rebranding later, and the series found a new home on the PSP under the name Phantasy Star Portable.

Fixing many of the problems of Universe, Portable was met with a much warmer reception, so it was only natural that another game was made. But even as a clear improvement to Phantasy Star Universe, does Portable feel as fresh the second

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time around?

As an online-centric spin-off, Portable 2 features a story mode where players create their own original protagonist. Whether male or female, human or alien (or any of the other sci-fi races, including the Avatar-esque Beastmen and Gundam-esque CASTs), your custom character serves no purpose in the story beyond aesthetic design. While rescuing a young girl

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named Emilia, your character is hired by a mercenary group called Little Wing. Your admission into the group is really a pretense to undertake various missions across different worlds, with specific Story Missions that advance the plot forward (spoiler alert: the entire universe is at stake).

For those who havenít played any of the Phantasy Star Online games (or for those who played the original four singleplayer titles, moment of silence there), two words can summarize them nicely: Dungeon Crawler. While the process of traversing open areas, defeating hordes of enemies and obtaining all the loot your character can carry is common enough for PC games these days, PSO was one of the few titles to popularize the genre, and Portable 2 delivers more of the same but with more content than you thought a PSP could handle; various armor sets, rare weapons, and AI companions are available for you warriors looking to bring on the pwn, but for the Otaku type who loves to dress up their shapely female aliens in sexy attire, hairstyles, and kawaii furnishings for your personal room, the game has you covered as well.

 

phantasy star portable 2          phantasy star portable 2


As with many PSP titles, however, the biggest flaws found in this game all revolve around the fact that itís a PSP title; dungeon trekking tends to take a big longer than your average bus ride to school (or lunch break for you older office workers), and without a quick save feature (or even a chance to pause the game), youíre forced to flick the power switch on your PSP to go to sleep while hoping it doesnít power off instead. The camera can also be a chore to navigate and hardly ever tracks the enemy youíre locked on to; speaking of enemies, the gameís difficulty is quite inconsistent as well, with moments where you can easily mow down armies of adversaries in your sleep, but come across an exceedingly difficult boss with loads of HP. And in typical dungeon-crawling tradition, once youíre knocked out, youíre forced to start over from the beginning of the dungeon (a checkpoint feature allows you to take on the boss again if youíve made it that far, but at the cost of a smaller reward).

Simply put, if youíre not a fan of the genre, than Phantasy Star Portable 2 isnít for you. If you have been a fan for this long, then the good news is that thereís more missions and loot for you to spend the next few weeks collecting, as well as a fully online multiplayer thatís both functional as well as free. Whether youíll find an audience of fellow PSP players connected at the same time, however, is almost as uncertain as the universe itself.
 

- Jorge Fernandez

(February 3, 2011)

 

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