With the demo available on the Japanese PSN late August, I could give a try to Sega’s major exclusive for this end of year in Japan.
Whereas Phantasy Star Online 2 is online only, Phantasy Star Nova (PSNova) is thought as a single player game. The game system is roughly similar to God Eater, that is to say a solo adventure with an actual storyline, in which you can invite you friend in local multiplayer.
The world where PSNova takes place reminds us about Star Ocean 4 quite a lot. Nothing surprising since the developer behind both games is the same : Tri-Ace. So we’re off exploring inhospitable exoplanets. That said, mechanical rabbits and armored dinosaurs make a rather bizarre bestiary, far less impressive than God Eater or Monster Hunter. Some of them are gigantic, but that’s the only thing about it.
Technically speaking, it’s quite magnificent : characters as well as environments have been modeled with great care, which makes it a top game as for graphics. A true pleasure reinforced by the character design, classy as always in PSO. However, it’s a shame that like in God Eater 2, you can’t play as such attractive secondary characters. Also, the sound environment felt pretty poor : bland music and worse of all, terribad English voice-over!
Like in PSO2, the player creates a character of his own. This demo was fairly limited though : only 4 classes available and non-customizable in any way! It gives an impression of rigidity a bit unsettling… I tried the two female classes in the one and only mission selectable. No real issue in gameplay, the good old PSO2 recipe still works well. Dodging, combos, magic, lock, heal via touchscreen… Tri-Ace delivers. Each class has 3 or 4 different weapons. There seems to be a lot a possibilities, although none of the characters showed very nervous gameplay.
My main worry is that like Tôkiden, the action is kinda slow and it’s not as thrilling as God Eater 2 in that department. True, it might vary depending on classes and weapons, but I’m yet to be convinced on this. On the other hand, PSNova seems more challenging than God Eater 2 : your character will drop dead quite fast if you’re careless, and the number of revives looks limited at higher level.
Impossible to say much on the story, but the Star Ocean feel is real and engaging. In short , a demo too much limited in every aspect, but with there is definitely some charm in PSNova.