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Phantasy Star Portable 2

For: PSP

Systems online

Product: Phantasy Star Portable 2 | Developer: Alfa System | Publisher: Sega | Format: PSP | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Phantasy Star Portable 2 PSP, thumbnail 1
The original Phantasy Star Portable was a likeable action RPG which came tantalisingly close to replicating the brilliance of its esteemed relation, the near-legendary Phantasy Star Online.

It had all the vital ingredients, including thrilling combat, deep customisation, and oodles of enemies to fight. But one thing was notably absent: online play.

Since then we’ve seen the launch of Phantasy Star Zero on the DS – a game which thankfully gets things right by boasting internet connectivity – so it simply wouldn’t have been acceptable for this PlayStation Portable sequel (once again coded by respected Japanese studio Alfa System) to lack such an element.

Fortunately, it doesn’t – and is rendered a much more mouth-watering prospect than its predecessor.

Aside from its direct relation, Phantasy Star Portable 2’s closest match is probably Capcom’s insanely popular Monster Hunter.

You create an avatar, tinker with its appearance, kit yourself out, and then venture into hostile zones to hunt and slay various outlandish beasts, taking along fellow players with you to make the task a little easier.

Friend or foe

Enemies are encountered either in packs or as standalone boss monsters, the latter of which require strategic thinking and some dependable friends fighting at your side.

With both local and online multiplayer supported, you should never have a shortage of allies, although it’s worth noting that the AI-controlled characters are much smarter than they were in the original game.

A lot of content is carried over from Phantasy Star Portable, making this more of an update than a fully-fledged sequel, but the developers have nevertheless fine-tuned the game engine to remove some of the inconsistencies present in the first title.

Previously, it was possible for players to resort to 'spamming' certain attacks or manoeuvres, and that exploit has now been removed, making the game more challenging – and ultimately rewarding – as a result.

Despite the spit and polish – not to mention the inclusion of online play – Phantasy Star Portable 2 remains an acquired taste.

It’s arguably deeper than Monster Hunter, and although this type of action RPG has a rabid following in its native Japan we can’t help but feel that uninitiated western players are going to struggle with the sheer volume of options on offer.
Phantasy Star Portable 2
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 28 September 2010
A vast improvement over its offline-only predecessor, Phantasy Star Portable 2 is a worthy challenger to Monster Hunter’s crown, but isn’t a game to be taken lightly as its depth and complexity is considerable
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