I will be frank: I am not expecting much from this game. It is a successor to Phantasy Star Universe, which was atrocious. However, I am going into it with an open mind, so we will see what becomes of it.
For now, all I have done is create my character - a CAST race with black and blue armor named Robomega. The character customization options are actually very impressive. I only explored the CAST race options when creating the character, and even that was surprisingly detailed, but easy to manage, by which I mean no pointless dials to change how far apart your eyebrows are or how big your nostril hairs grow out. It's nice and simple, but with plenty of options. Anyone who picks it up is sure to create something totally different from everyone else.
I also got to pick a companion, which comes in the form of a cute little robot girl. Each model has a different strength to aid in combat. I chose a healer, since I'm playing the melee class Hunter.
I haven't actually gotten into the game proper yet. Character customization was something PSU did really well also, except you couldn't use those characters for the story mode, which was more than a little irritating. This character IS for the story mode. Here's hoping the gameplay is improved as well.
4/16/2009 - 23:15
Well, my fears were pretty much correct, at least so far. The game is pretty underwhelming, though not completely awful. The combat is decent, at least, but a bit simplistic. It's fun, in a mindless, zombie-like way.
The story, though, is awful. Well, that's not really fair to say, because there really isn't much of a story. As best I can tell the aliens that would supposedly defeated in PSU may not have been defeated afterall, and now I'm some sort of galactic superspy trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Meanwhile all my cohorts are going off on wild tangents about inane subjects that serve absolutely no relevance.
In order to maintain slight interest, I am trying to be an big of a jerk as possible with my responses to the various questions that pop up, in the hopes that I might turn the 1-month old android chick into a filthy racist. It's a noble cause. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters always manage to spin it into something positive. God damn optimists, they're the bane of my existence.
4/20/2009 - 10:00
I've come to a realization. Phantasy Star Portable isn't bad. The game is functional, the mechanics aren't awkward and there aren't really any gamebreaking flaws or glitches that ruin the experience. Aside from the translation, everything in the game is done competently. It's just that, well, it isn't fun. It's boring, mindless, and repetitive. With a good story, it might have been enough to keep it going, but without it, there's absolutely no reason to play it. Once you've played the first mission, you've essentially played the entire game. You can mix it up by using different weapons, but that really doesn't do much. And for those hoping to use ranged weapons or magic, don't bother. They're even more tedious than the melee ones. Ranged weapons have no special skills at all, so you basically just go into first person mode and spam the square button, and magic is slow and difficult to aim from a distance.
So, basically what I'm saying is that the overall quality of this game is going to end up being determined by how bloody long they decided to make it. From what I've seen so far, I get the feeling it's going to be irritatingly long.
4/22/2009 - 10:15
So, Phantasy Star Portable has decided to be one of those kinds of games. You know, the kind that is mostly fairly easy with occasional challenging sections for the entire game, and then suddenly ramps up the difficulty for no apparent reason at the very end.
I'm fairly certain I'm at the final boss, and it is really, really pissing me off. This is mostly due to the way the game is designed, as if your character dies, the mission ends and you have to start over. So, when you're up against a boss that can hit for roughly 500 damage each attack, you only have 1500 health, your party AI is too inept to actually focus on healing, and you have a limited supply of healing items which you burn through like candy. I've been grinding for roughly 5 hours attempting to beat this stupid boss, and every time I manage to do so, another form shows up. THREE forms, and that I'm hoping is it. And your healing item supply has to last the entire length of the dungeon and all three forms. Plus, there's always a very strong chance (which is what's been happening to me) that sudden burst damage will wipe you out before you can heal yourself.
So in any case, it's back to grinding for me. I'm going to try to get to level 63, which is even with what the bosses are at (3 more levels to go). I could use some new gear, but I haven't been finding any that's more powerful than what I have.
This will be my last blog post before the review, but the thread will stay open until it's posted.
Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...