[25 August 2010] Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity revealed

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[25 August 2010] Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity revealed

Postby BenoitRen » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:05 pm

Phantasy Star Portable 2 hasn't even been released in the US or Europe yet, and Sega announces an expansion-like sequel to the game called Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity.

The Phantasy Star Fan Blog has a lot of details on it thanks to 2ch. Short summary of what's known so far:
  • New story that's 1,5 times as long as the non-expansion game. It's like a second episode.
  • New race: Duman, mutated human. It would seem they mutated thanks to the SEED attacks from 3 years before.
  • The new race's representative is Nagisa, a black-haired woman with an eye patch and a huge sword who travels Gurhal.
  • The new race has their own version of the beast's Nanoblast called Infinity Blast.
  • New difficulty mode called Infinity.
  • New gameplay mechanic called Reincarnation that allows you to go back to level 1 with extra stats.
  • New monsters lifted from PSO, including Olga Flow.
  • New lobby.
  • Lobbies can now hold as many people as PSO back in the day.
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Postby Wing-0 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:50 am

Well... Considering that PSp2's final boss WAS an update to Olga Flow, it was the most obvious thing to do. I'm also glad they decided to continue the story, as PSp2 is one of the best PSP games I have played. I just hope they keep Emilia as an important character. Nana Mizuki voicing a character in a game (Nagisa) is always a welcome touch. I'm hoping they get her to sing the new main theme, since she is such a good singer.

Hell, PSU has had several of my favorite voice actresses in it already.

Rie Tanaka: Karen Erra
Megumi Toyoguchi: Vivienne
Chiwa Saito: Emilia Percival
Atsuko Tanaka: Ursula Loran
Nana Mizuki: Nagisa

They know how to keep fans happy. I like Mr Sakai, the producer because he is a good manager for the projects AND has big, golden balls for promoting his game the way he does. He's awesome.
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Postby BenoitRen » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:45 am

I believe you when you say that PSp2 is a good game, but it sounds like with this game they're running out of creativity for the story. Suddenly there's yet another race? Adding to that, the name, Duman, sounds silly.

Still, the main thing that fans are uncomfortable with is that the previous entry hasn't even been released in English yet. I'd add that we'll probably have to wait a year before we get to play this new entry in English, and that's ridiculous.
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Postby Wing-0 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:27 pm

BenoitRen wrote:I believe you when you say that PSp2 is a good game, but it sounds like with this game they're running out of creativity for the story. Suddenly there's yet another race? Adding to that, the name, Duman, sounds silly.


Not really. All PS games since the first Phantasy Star Universe have been basically more of the same, with the exception of the very first one. Let's put it under a bit of analysis with a sort of line.

PSI: Introduced a female protagonist, 3D dungeons that you HAD to map and animated enemies, even with the limitations it had. It was a ground breaking game.

PSII: It followed the formula of the RPG of its time, but included a heavy science fiction backdrop interlaced with fantasy elements, which was a rarity. That, and the mindscrewing ending that still keeps people discussing from time to time as to its interpretation.

PSIII: Generation system that is seldom used, increasing replay value by a huge bunch.

Here's where it gets trickier...

PSIV: Goes back to the design canon of PSII. The formula is basically the same, only this time during combat, you get five characters instead of four, the Macro system and combination attacks. It also makes heavy use of still illustrations, which is something PSII did, only sparingly.

PSO: The combat turns into a real time combat engine, is a multiplayer game with no end to its gameplay portion, but the story can be revisited time and time again. Local multiplayer is implemented in some updated versions.

PSO EpIII: Includes card based combat. Other than that, I can't speak much about it, as I have never played it before (I still want to).

PSU: Makes a HUGE revamp of the PSO concept to put it on similar ground as its contemporary MMOs, adds dual wielding of certain weapons, customization turns into a large portion of the game, multiplayer is no longer local, but online. The basis is still that of PSO's, only the story is much more fleshed out with character interaction. NPCs can be recruited into the party and class change is implemented. Beasts are included as a character type.

PSU AoI: More of the same, only more content, new stages, combat engine tweaks. It was basically an update to both the main game and the story.

PSportable (PSp1): A carbon copy of the engine of Ambition of the Illuminus. A few stages were missing, like the Pavillion of Air, but there was a modified seabed facility included. Most of the enemies in AoI were included in the game. Lobbies, room and areas are all gone. The different offices and places for shopping and the like were removed, only 2D maps of it were used, with icons for representing the characters you could talk to were used. The story is a bridge between the second and third episodes of PSU AoI, with Vivienne as a focus character. Synthesis system is removed completely, as is the growth of the PM character, giving the player the choice to have any of the available PMs (maid, healer, dancer with cat ears, etc) from the start. Some characters, not all, return for recruitment. Multiple endings are available, depending on interaction with Vivienne. Free downloadable missions are available.

EDIT: Modified this following section into a list format because the wall of text is horrible while reading...

PSp2: The story focus changes completely from the Guardians to the Private Military Company Little Wing (yes, they're mercs).

Many new stages are included, as well as missing stages from AoI.

A new class, Braver is implemented.

Features like a lobby are reintroduced, only this time it is a single one with everything like offices, stores and mission lobby integrated into one.

Missions range from story missions, extra missions, customer missions, which are extra objectives during a normal mission, like slaying a boss under a certain time, to extra story missions that are part of the story, yet not relevant to the main plot.

The personal room system is back and is a carbon copy of the one in the online portion of the console versions, only this time more customization options are added, as well as decorations. Bikini models are worthy of special mention... Yes, they are.

The PM system remains the same, as well as the removal of the synthesis system.

Some characters return for recruitment from past games, most characters are new (and oddly enough, female female for the most part).

Returning characters wear new outfits (Maya's cleavage is gone forever).

Downloadable content is no longer just missions that use existing maps. Some of them rearrange map order or download more data and use it.

Product placement is introduced. Still, it is kept at a minimum and never obstructs the enjoyment of the game. Some of the missions are sponsored by third parties like Famitsu magazine, one for the Fanta brand. Most of them are Maximum attack missions from Sega.

Some items are part of said product placement. The only one I have seen is a shield that resembles a magazine, with the logo of Famitsu on it.

A few extra missions that are related to the story are introduced, featuring one of the NPCs as central characters. Tonnio, Liina and Vivienne feature in one, with Chelsea in another. Lumia, Lou and Maya in another one, etc.

VS mode is introduced, taking a cue from PSO Ep 2.

Maps inspired in PSO Ep1 maps and enemies are introduced as extras. The dragon, however, is rather small, yet more agile and aggressive.

Downloadable outfits are introduced, both as an extra as well as product placement. Examples of this are the Evangelion movie franchise and the Fate/Stay Night franchise (Most users like this, by the way), as well as Valkyria Chronicles 2 themed outfits.

Downloadable weapons are also available, following the same formula as extras and product placement. Examples of this are the Excalibur from Fate/Stay Night, which is a two handed sword, the Lance of Longinus from Evangelion, the Gallian rifle and the Valkyrian Lance and Shield from Valkyria Chronicles 2. These are new data, not something included in the game itself.

The story is completely new.

A reward is included for users who import their data from PSp1. A saber that can damage several enemies with a single swing called Igsam.

The combat system has been revamped with blocking maneuvers for several weapons, including swords, daggers, shields and a charged shot function has been added.

A rolling maneuver has been added to the moveset, making combat and evasion of environmental hazards and enemy attacks much easier. On the other hand, enemies are made smarter and much more aggressive, making combat much faster, especially in higher level missions.

During combat, orders can be issued by the player telling NPCs to attack, conserve TP, focus on healing, fall back and such, which gives the player a lot more control of the situation at hand, and an extra when an enemy is too strong and aggressive.

Well, as you can see by my long comment on PSp2's characteristics, creativity is something they definitely do not lack. I have played every Phantasy Star to date, with the exception of PSO Ep3, and can say without a shred of doubt that not only because of its gameplay it is one of the best PSP games available, it is definitely the BEST Phantasy Star to date in regards to gameplay. There is just too much inside that game to unlock in a single year. It is one of the games I have played the most, and I saw my statistics, and I'm not even done with half of the content it has. Once I finished the normal story mode, a Hard mode for it was unlocked. I haven't finished it. I'm not even near the middle.

BenoitRen wrote:Still, the main thing that fans are uncomfortable with is that the previous entry hasn't even been released in English yet. I'd add that we'll probably have to wait a year before we get to play this new entry in English, and that's ridiculous.



PSp2: Infinity is not going to be an expansion and that's it. By the looks of the site you linked to, some more changes will be added, and the inclusion of a second episode, that is 1.5 times as long as the original PSp2, means that the story mode will just get larger and longer. Content will most likely be similar to the one in PSp2 in terms of weapons, items and rewards. I am, however, fairly sure that this is not just going to be a simply more advanced version of PSp2's story, in which we have Emilia as a main character. Nagisa seems to be the focus in this new one. Whatever will happen with Emilia is up to speculation. I hope, that at the very least they keep her available.

Remember how the PSU games function:

Story mode----Content

Story mode changes from game to game, but the content is basically the same, only growing according to whatever developers try to add. A saber is in all of the games, but I'm willing to bet that Flowen's Sword wasn't in the first PSp1. It is, however, in PSp2. I can only guess what is going to be in the next game.

Short story short, Infinity shouldn't be called Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity. It should probably be called Phantasy Star Portable 3. New story, new game.

Getting a PSP and getting PSp1 and 2 is not a dumb move. The first one's story is actually nice, and Vivienne an endearing character. PSp2's story is under a very different focus, with the Little Wing group as an emerging mercenary company and Emilia a fun, and amusing character, with colors of sadness here and there.

If I'm right, Infinity will be a completely new story, not a simple expansion of the existing story. Also, I'm not surprised they have taken so long to bring PSp2 to outside of Japan. Two reasons:

1st.- The content is massive.
2nd.- Sega is directed by monkeys high on Marihuana. Only the brains of the developers work well.

Something that keeps me hopeful of the new installment is the very fact that Satoshi Sakai is a part of it. When I first saw him putting that weird ass costume and calling himself Dragon Sakai, I honestly thought he was a complete nutjob and laughed my ass off at him. Still, seeing how the first PSp was a faithful port of Ambition of the Illuminus, only to find out that the second game came out as a HUGE overhaul of what they had done with the first one, making it even more like a full console game, even adding a functional online mode, the ENORMOUS quantity of new content and little features, without forgetting to add an enjoyable story that doesn't attach itself too much to the original PSU formula (I'm talking about characters), I have to say that yes, I'm now expecting the new entry of the series and that I recommend to ANYONE who doesn't have a PSP, to buy it, even if for those two games. There are more games, sure, but those two are to of the most enjoyable games on the system, and are also two of the BEST portable games I have played in recent years.
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Postby BenoitRen » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:12 pm

When I said that they seem to be lacking creativity, I was talking about the story aspect. Including a new race out of nowhere? They better have a very good explanation for that.

Phantasy Star Portable 2 was a joint effort of the Phantasy Star Portable and Phantasy Star 0 developers. This is why you see PS0's new gameplay aspects in it.

Amount of content can't be the reason. Phantasy Star 0 had less content and it also took a year to be released in English.

I'm curious, though. At what point isn't it "more of the same"?
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Postby Wing-0 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:39 pm

BenoitRen wrote:When I said that they seem to be lacking creativity, I was talking about the story aspect. Including a new race out of nowhere? They better have a very good explanation for that.

Phantasy Star Portable 2 was a joint effort of the Phantasy Star Portable and Phantasy Star 0 developers. This is why you see PS0's new gameplay aspects in it.

Amount of content can't be the reason. Phantasy Star 0 had less content and it also took a year to be released in English.

I'm curious, though. At what point isn't it "more of the same"?


Only at the beginning of either the original series or the beginning of the online series. PSIV could be called "more of the same" in terms of how it used the concepts of the past games. Of course, in the good meaning of the phrase.

In PSU's case, it was more of the same in the good meaning again, but with features like local multiplayer taken off, a few good things spliced here and there, etc. In my opinion, it's a mixed bag.

Addressing your question regarding the one year gap between the releases of the Japanese one and the world release of it, allow me to quote myself:

WING-0 wrote:2nd.- Sega is directed by monkeys high on Marihuana. Only the brains of the developers work well.


Regarding the creativity of the new story, it is WAY too early to tell whether or not it is creative. I could tell you why I consider PSp2's story a creative one, even if within the canons of modern Japanese storytelling, but I would spoil it for you. Let's just say that seeing what they did with PSp2's story, I expect at the very least an interesting story out of Infinity.

Let's compare things the way I perceived them in order for you to understand why I think this way:

PSU: Ethan Waber was annoying as hell for half of the game. In the latter half, he grew up, which was nice. Several of the rest of the characters were for the most part enjoyable, with high points for Karen and Maya.

AoI: I hated Laia. Period. I can't stand that annoying beast. However, the story was interesting in itself because of the events that transpired.

Ep3: I didn't play but the first part of the very first chapter... Which sucks ass... I'd like to at the very least read it.

PSp1: Vivienne was a very nice character that in her naivety and curiosity developed into a memorable character because of how nice AND interesting she was.

PSp2: Emilia was funny, smart and in a few ways mature, in others immature. Still, as a whole, she was a very enjoyable character. The addition of Yuuto, Ursula, Crouch and Chelsea to the character dynamics only made the story more interesting because of their backgrounds, actions and reactions, qualities and even defects.

That's it.

Judging a project still under production at this stage, in which all we know is that a mutated human named Nagisa appears and her "race" is called "Duman" or "Dewman" or "A mop" is useless in my opinion. Because of what they have said about Dewmans being Seed infected humans, I have a speculation grounded on what I saw in PSp1, but that's as far as I can get. Still, that speculation in itself could mean they are doing something interesting with how the Gurhal system and its people work.
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