Phantasy Star Online 2 is a pretty great MMO but two of the things holding it back are its dated graphics and awful user interface. Menus are a mess to navigate, and the game frequently looks like something out of the PlayStation 2-era, which is why Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is so intriguing. It looks like a complete overhaul of the game, with much-improved graphics and a new user interface to boot. But it's not exactly clear exactly what New Genesis is.
Debuted at the Xbox Games Showcase this morning, New Genesis showed a lot of hectic melee combat as characters fought a variety of monsters in a lush forest planet. But the changes from the current version of PSO2 are stark, with the environments looking bigger, more detailed, and the general look of the game feeling much more modern.
Details are scarce, though. Over on Twitter, the official PSO2 account describes this as "a brand new title" in the PSO2 series. On YouTube, the above video's description states New Genesis "is the latest entry in the series, updating PSO2’s game system and graphics engine. We’re planning to release this update on a global scale, including Japan and North America."
But that's still pretty confusing. Is New Genesis an overhaul of the existing PSO2 or a standalone game, like a remaster? Will progress from one carry over to the other? Will the old version of PSO2 carry on alongside New Genesis?
Either way, this much prettier version of PSO2 is exciting. I started playing the original version when it launched on PC earlier this year and, aside from some technical hiccups and a bad launch, PSO2 is surprisingly fun and innovative. The combat is like a more arcadey version of Monster Hunter, and the grind to get new gear is satisfying. It's free-to-play, too, so it's worth checking out if your're looking for something new.