Phantasy Star Online still ranks as one of my absolute favorite online video games, so I’ve been pretty upset with SEGA’s decision to keep the English version from its North American audience. Modders of course have found way around its IP barriers, but from this week, the English game can finally be accessed without any modding of any kind. The IP barriers have been dropped for the South East Asian version of the game, opening it for the whole world to enjoy.
As with every online experience these days, there are a few catches. For one, you’ll be playing the South East Asian version of the game. This means that the English is not entirely perfect, rough by today’s standards but hardly a problem for JRPG gamers who grew up in the 90s. The content is also a year behind the advanced Japanese version, but you wouldn’t know that without extensive experience with the Japanese version as well.
If you’ve been playing that, then none of this news should matter.
The probable killer is that the South East Asian version is set up to take your money . Microtransactions loom around every corner, and while they might be easy to ignore, they might also be difficult to avoid as well. I haven’t gone hands-on with it just yet, so I don’t know exactly how often the windows pop up.
If you can deal with these, then this could be your next online RPG fix. Fans of the older game seem to be head-over-heels for this one, so it might just be the real deal. This version is run by AsiaSoft, not SEGA.