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Phantasy Star Portable 2: TGS 2009 Hands-on

By Janelle | September 24, 2009 at 7:04 am

The first demo that I picked up today at the Tokyo Game Show was Phantasy Star Portable 2. Even though the line was empty, a booth worker stalled me, asking me to wait for a little while, though there were empty PSPs. I was a bit confused until I saw her rounding up two other people. This was going to be a multiplayer demo! Good thing I had no idea what to do prior to our 2 on 2 grudge match.

I grabbed one of the demo PSPs and a tutorial popped up on screen. I was on the yellow team (with the booth worker) against the red team (two businessmen), playing as a female character with a big sword. This was going to be a kind of base capturing mini game, and my goal was to use catapults to hop to various islands, finding and disabling red team towers and characters using some action RPG slicing and dicing. The square button could be used for a normal attack, or I could press triangle to use a special magical attack, throwing shockwaves from my sword in huge arcs. Tapping circle would initiate a dodge roll, but was also the button that would either claim neutral towers or disable enemy towers if I got close enough.

With that, it was go time. The map was straightforward to the point of being a bit boring, the islands arranged in a cross shape. Leaving my base and catapulting straight ahead a few times would put me into red territory. From the middle, going left or right would take me to some neutral zones. A bar under the map showed what percentage of the map’s towers were red and yellow. My character started at Level 1, but was at Level 11 by the time the demo ended. No indicators that I could see flashed up on screen to tell me I had leveled up, but I noticed when I started dying a lot less quickly.


After we had just started to get comfortable killing each other, a big notice flashed up on the screen with two minutes to go: monsters were being released onto the field! Now I had to worry about running into giant beasts as well as enemy dark knights. After one minute, another notice: it was a big chance time, apparently. I wasn’t clear on what this meant, but it might have changed the value of each tower, or given the losing team (us) a handicap, because suddenly that bar started getting less and less red, and more and more yellow, as we hacked and slashed out way through the last minute.


Unfortunately, in the minute it took me at the start of the demo to get my bearings, the red team had established a lead that we couldn’t reclaim. We pulled closer near the end, to the halfway point, but in the last seconds, red claimed a tower and the victory. The versus game was fun, though I don’t know if any version of it will actually be in the finished product. The battle system was fun in the time that I had with it, and the game played without glitches, interface quirks, or slowdown, so the demo was overall a positive experience.



Topics: Phantasy Star Portable 2, Previews, Sega, Tokyo Game Show 2009