Top 10 reasons why Phantasy Star Portable 2 is a hidden gem

Phantasy Star Portable 2 is one of the most overlooked PlayStation Portable games I can think of. I’m having a huge amount of fun with it and I know of other people also having a good time with it. Hit the jump to find out why this is such a great game!

10. Story

While the story has some cliché moments, it’s surprisingly engaging, as it throws some light dating Sim elements into the mix. There is a relationship growing between the protagonist and the main characters which is always great and keeps you going.

9. Longevity

I’m now 16 hours into the game and play it on a daily base. While there is a limited amount of story missions, there are plenty of side quests that you can do on several difficulty settings. There are even Time Trials for certain missions with some added rewards! Add in the multiplayer modes together with several classes and you’ve got yourself many hours of good entertainment!

 

8. Graphical Style

The PlayStation Portable isn’t a powerhouse anymore, but the graphical style chosen for this game makes the most of it. Anime-styled cutscenes and dialogues are really clean and fit the ingame graphics quite well. It’s colorful and features a lot of effects. The monster designs are absolutely fun too, so you can forgive some blurry textures and blocky models!

7. Classes

Classes are the life-blood of any good RPG and Phantasy Star Portable 2 does its best to provide variety in this area. Basically, every role is covered, from the close-combat fighter to the healer and buffer to a distance fighter. The fact that you can specialize in certain weapon types also adds a lot of variety to it, so two different persons can play two different variations of the same class.

 

6. Phantasy Star universe

The Phantasy Star universe allows for some great stories, but has been severely underused in the past decade. This entry of the series does its best to fit into the universe while creating its own charm and characters. The best thing is, that newbies, like me, will have no problem getting into this game, since it’s a rather fresh take on the universe.

5. Collect-a-thon

Drops are one of the many factors that keep me going in RPGs and Phantasy Star Portable 2 does everything right in that perspective. If you choose harder missions, you can get drops of better weapons and gear than you can buy, further rewarding you for the huge risks you are taking. It actually happens quite often that even though you ended up dead during a super hard mission, you still found an amazing new weapon that will enhance your character in some way! Another great thing is that skills are also dropped and vary in their level, so there is always a chance of finding a better skill than you had before.

4. Upgrades, Upgrades, Upgrades

You can upgrade everything! Your weapons are upgradable, your proficiency with weapon types is upgradable, your character class can be upgraded, your armor can be upgraded in several ways and so on. These options add even more variety to the gameplay and it’s fun to experiment with all those variables.

3. Constant progression

Here’s a thing I never quite understood in a lot of JRPGs: If I die in a mission, I have to reload a previous save and begin from that point on all over again. It’s a fantasy game, there should be better solutions for this! Well, Phantasy Star Portable 2 has you covered: If you die in a mission, you’ll be beamed back to the base, sure, but you keep all the items, money and experience points you’ve got during that mission. This means, even though you fail all the time, there is constant progression!

 

2. Characters

Some of the characters in this game quickly became my favorites in terms of videogames. And yes, I am talking about the awesomness that is Chelsea! There are many reasons for this, so I might even to a Top 5 on why she is awesome, but for now, let’s just say: She’s awesome! The other characters are fine too, even though they are a bit clichéed, but over the course of the game, they’ll grow on you.

1. Online and Offline Multiplayer

This is pretty much the obvious reason. Weather or not you play this game online, the offline multiplayer is downright awesome and being able to play online with friends from all over the world is the best thing since Phantasy Star online on the Dreamcast. Actually, this game reminds me constantly of the bigger brother on the Dreamcast, but there is one downside to that: I never personally experienced the online mode of Episode 1 and 2, simply because I didn’t have a Dreamcast at the time and I didn’t have the Gamecube online adapter. But even the Offline multiplayer was memorable and this game is no different in this respect, since it has some really complex multiplayer missions. There are also some competitive mode, if you’re not so keen on being friendly.

  • Sven, you are a genius and a very sexy man. I need to play this when I can put Disgaea 4 asied.

  • aside, even! Jesus, I shouldn’t be allowed on the internet at 3:30 AM.

  • Oh, wow, thanks a lot, Kris!

  • grolt

    I have the first one on PSP but your prose makes this oh so tempting, Sven! Do you think the online multiplayer will still be up for awhile, or is it already nearing twilight? I still get my online Phantasy Star fix by playing the Dreamcast one on those fan servers and still have a blast, but it would be cool to be able to do it from a handheld.

  • Grolt, I’d assume they’ll be up for at least a while yet, but it’s been a long time since I’ve hopped online! Even so, the offline content is pretty solid. 🙂

  • @grolt
    It still worked and even if they stop the servers, Adhoc Party on the PS3 is a great workaround!

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