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  1. #1

    Default Here's the one thing that PSO2 has to nail to interest me, and (probably) you.

    I'm not writing this game off based on Sonic Teams past failures, be they many, and I'm not here to start that argument either, I'm posting for the first time outside of the "Off Topic" forum just to point out one thing that I think is incredibly important.

    While the rest of you are discussing balance, character customization, mag inclusion, item synthesis, and etc, and while all of those things ARE very important, they are not, to me at least, the most important aspect of giving PSO a proper sequel. The lack of proper implementation of those systems is also not the biggest thing that drove me away from PSU, or PSP, or that makes me so disinterested in PSP2.

    The single, greatest thing in PSO, the one thing that so few games, and even less JRPG's get right?

    Mood and Setting.

    It took me a long time to actually realize that that was what turned me off to PSU after trying to convince myself I liked it for two years. Sure, PSU has a LOT of problems, and so do its offshoots, but the fact is, its combat is nearly so clunky as PSO's, and it has a lot of cool ideas (Job systems for instance).

    So why was it that I couldn't enjoy PSU? Why was it, that even Phantasy Star Zero, a game that was a barely updated version of the original PSO, was so much more fun (discounting the comparatively small amount of replay value) than PSU, when I readily stated its many age-related problems?

    The answer finally hit me eventually, its all about the mood, and setting of the original game.

    Now, lets get one thing straight, PSO had a barebones story, that much is true. There was some hidden depth in the sidequests, and I actually really liked that system (for those that have played it, Demon's Souls pulls the same thing) because it appeals to people like myself, that are interested in the crafted universe, and to people that only play games for the game part.

    But their was one part of that story that every player of PSO, no matter how well learned they were on the backstory of the game, came away with.

    You are a lone Hunter (possibly with 3 friends), and you are investigating a hostile alien planet where a mysterious incident occurred that wiped out thousands of colonists in a single fell swoop. Investigate.

    Now lets compare that to what the player is made aware of in a short amount of playtime in PSU:

    You are one of a large group of glorified bounty hunters that are (generally) sent into situations too small for the military to bother with. You will be policing 3 planets with active civilizations, being bombarded by an alien lifeform that can be easily eradicated with simple tools.

    Which of those basic plot's interest you more? The one where you are all alone, investigating a mysterious incident, or the one where you're really just another soldier in an effort to contain a simple alien outbreak, that was thwarted already by a lone human male with virtually no combat training?

    I think it's pretty obvious. I am much more motivated in the scenario that pits me against unknown odds in a hostile environment than I am in the latter.

    But that's really not the only part of setting a mood or personality to your game, theres a lot more to it than that obviously. I think next on our list is a big one.

    Music.

    How many of you still listen to PSO's soundtrack? I wish I could say I was lying, but truth be told, I'm listening to a playlist on grooveshark of Ep.1-4 right now, as I type this. Strong, ambient tracks that sunk you into the world you were in, but didn't bore you, because they changed to fit the situation. Probably everyone that's played PSO can recognize an area on tune alone. It's really some great stuff.

    By comparison, lets take PSU's soundtrack. I preordered PSU at a Gamestop, which gave me a soundtrack CD when I picked it up. I threw that CD away a month or two later, I don't think I even ripped the music to my PC. It was completely forgettable. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever heard (that title goes to PSU's theme song) but it wasn't interesting, or compelling really either.

    I even know of a large group of people that switched the sound files on there PC version of PSU to play PSO's music! These were folks that played PSU long after I did, and genuinely liked it, but they still admitted to PSO having a much stronger soundtrack.

    I can name a lot of the PSO BGM by title off the top of my head, but I couldn't give you the name of a single track in PSU.

    Art and Design.

    This one right here is the most important in my mind. Admittedly, I'm a bit biased, being a working illustrator (in game art nonetheless) but I think it's the one everybody can appreciate.

    I'll give some screenshot examples:





    Now those are two screenshots of the same area, good ol' Forest 1 and 2. But lets see the variety there, we've got one, that takes place during midday, taking you through a babbling stream and some small valley area's, and upon entering Forest 2, we now have a rainy, darker area with swamps that eventually breaks way into the outer edges of the dome.

    Thats just the forest, the very first area you play in when you boot up the game. Now lets compare and contrast that too Linear Line, the very first area in PSU:



    That's....it. Really, I could post more pics, but it would waste both our time, even if you go into the later missions of that area, its still the same generic, large spaces that really don't have any personality. Nothing unique about them. In fact, the most interesting rooms in the game are oftentimes the lobbies that break up missions, and theres no point to exploring them, and you arent fighting in them. They're glorified rest stops.

    And thats not just the case for the first area of either game. Which is more compelling, the Ruins of PSO, or the Hive of PSU? In Ruins, we have several unique room types, and we get these massive views of the outside of this alien spaceship. In Hive, we get the same vaginal walls and ceilings for the entirety of the area. Meat curtains as far as the eye can see.

    Now you can argue that PSO had less areas, and therefore more detail can be put into them. I have one simple response: Thats not an excuse. Quality over quantity, by far. I would rather play Mines a hundred times over than play one more run of ANY of the badly reskinned "Relics" sites in PSU. You know how I know that to be true? I still play PSO's Mines from time to time! But since giving up on PSU 2 years ago, I havent even felt a single need to touch any of the bland areas of PSU.

    Another thing that fits into this category of art and design, is character design. I noticed the thread in which a lot of people are arguing over character customization and wether it should be more PSO or PSU based, honestly, I think the more customization, the better, but the fact is, the characters in PSO, looked like people that would do the job they were assigned to do. They looked like tough, almost western designed characters (with the exception of the FOnewm and FOnewhearl) that put a solid footing in the fantasy-sci-fi design of PSO. They had anime influences, sure, but they were utilitarian first and foremost.

    PSU's character designs look decidedly more cliche anime, in fact, I could see virtually everyone of them fitting right in with the majority of the futuristic anime out there, and that is bad. I don't play games to see the same thing I saw last week on TV, I play games like PSO to be, and excuse the corniness of this, transported to a different place.

    That's what PSO2 has to get right.
    Illustrator! Pixel Artist!:

  2. #2
    [゚д゚] < ナカソネティーチャー Mike's Avatar
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    None of the above. They're all nice things to have but what are you going to be doing in the end? Grinding for weapons. And the best thing to have when grinding for weapons is good company. In other words, community. And multi-region servers.
    Last edited by Mike; Nov 19, 2010 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Spelling!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    None of the above. Their all nice things to have but what are you going to be doing in the end? Grinding for weapons. And the best thing to have when grinding for weapons is good company. In other words, community. And multi-region servers.
    I had no problem playing PSO, grinding through areas that were actually interesting and engaging, with stellar music, in a setting that depicted a certain amount of urgency.

    I could not stomach grinding in PSU, through bland, uninspired terrain, BGM I turned off after hearing the tracks for the 3rd time, and in a plot that made me feel unnecessary on the whole.

    They could make PSO2 a tactical-turnbased RPG, and as long as it got those things right I would still play it. Hell, they did, PSOep3, and that had more personality than PSU and its expansion combined.
    Illustrator! Pixel Artist!:

  4. #4

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    @Plot: PSO may not have been very frontal about the plot, but it interested me far more than the cliche story that was told throughout PSU. Call me crazy, but to this day, PSO Episode 3 has been damn near the top of my list of "favourite game plots." In spite of how much effort you needed to put in to figure out who these characters were, any why you should care, Episode 3 was well worth it. Episodes 1 and 2 didn't focus nearly as much on plot, but wherever you went looking for it, you'd find amazing results, and would anticipate the next secret you'd uncover. When I learned just how much of a monster Dr.Osto truly was, I found myself spending less time in games online, and more time delving deep into the plot buried underneath PSO's skin. I felt Episode 4 to be a bit anticlimactic, though it did serve to tie up loose ends. Episode 4 still did a better job in catching my interest, but that's also because PSO had a lot more interest to work with. In PSU, the way the plot unfolded was fine. The methods they used to reveal the plot were fine. The plot just wasn't interesting enough.

    @Music: PSO's music was, as you put it, very memorable. And now that you mention it, I may finally know why PSU's music felt so off for me. I loved a fair number of PSU's tracks, such as Rozenom Line Milate 04 (Parum Train music) and Galenigare Mine (Moatoob Mines music). But, part of what made PSO's music so great was that, like you said, the music fitted the mood. There were separate tracks for dangerous and calm situations. And both tracks to each area were very fitting for where they played.

    I'll use Abysmal Ball as a general example. Abysmal Ball was the track title for the music that played in the Seabed of Episode 2. Abysmal Ball Intermission for out of combat, and Abysmal Ball Banquet for combat. Intermission was slow-paced, piano music accompanied with a few nifty echoing sound effects, vocals, and the occasional rumbling of hulls. And let's not forget the occasional demented laugh from the final boss, Olga Flow, who patiently awaited our arrival, so that he could finally be put to death. This track was mysterious in the most beautiful way imaginable, and every time I listened to it, it screamed to me, "You're wandering the desolent, flooded halls of a laboratory on the ocean bed." I'd look around... and that's exactly what I would see.

    Banquet took this soothing music and threw it into a techno grind, with rat-a-tats and bass beats replacing the soft piano music. The tone stayed the same, and it still struck me as a, "You're all alone in a horrible place," but this time, it also said, "There's a massive, dark beast lurking the halls ahead of you." I can't even begin to comprehend a way to sum up my feelings for this, other than to simply say, it remains one of my favourite songs, not just in videogames, but in any music in general. I only wish more "final level" areas in videogames had a track as inspiring as Abysmal Ball Banquet.

    @Area Design: PSO's areas were downright beautiful. After running the same 11 areas over and over, they would, of course, get stale, but not nearly as stale as what PSU presented us. PSU took a variety of uninspiring areas, and copy/pasted them repeately, and that really took from the overall beauty of the game. I've retained very few fond memories of PSU in an actual area, because it tends to blend together.

    I really do hope they try a little harder with area design in PSO2. I can only imagine what it would be like to have Mortis Fons or Unguis Lapis brought to life, but I can settle for "new" areas to explore, as long as they remain reminescent of the old PSO areas.

    @Character Design: To be honest, I love a wide variety of customization in games, which is why I was so drawn to the character creation system in PSU, but looking back, PSU also ruined part of it, in a way. Other than the classic PSO outfits, and one or two "Army" suits, I don't recall Humans, Newmans, or Beasts getting anything remotely close to armour in PSU. Characters were transformed from foot infantry to average joes. Don't get me wrong, I do like having that level of selection, but the only people that could really take combat seriously in regards to their wardrobe were the Tech-users and the Casts. If I was going down to an alien planet to fight some horrible moles, oversized insects, and whatever metaphor you want to use for those goddamn Deldepths, I wouldn't do it wearing a hoodie. Line Shields were their excuse to these casual clothes, which makes enough sense for them to get away with, but... rrgh!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, I want more clothing options that say that I'm about to run into the thick of combat. Seriously, when PSU first came out, and I saw my clothing options, I actually missed the HUmar model.
    Verdana is a pretty good font.

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    None of the above. Their all nice things to have but what are you going to be doing in the end? Grinding for weapons. And the best thing to have when grinding for weapons is good company. In other words, community. And multi-region servers.
    Community serves to improve anything though. Realistically, all of these attributes are secondary-at-best to making PSO2 the best game it can be.

    Gameplay is above all else when it comes to designing games. If the game itself is not fun to play, with fully-realized mechanics, well-balanced character interaction and creative and interesting content in which to play, it begs the question of whether what you're wanting is actually a game at all and not simply The Palace.

    Not to mention, you can't really design community into a game - you can only provide them tools to help form a community around said game. If the game is good enough, and word gets out of it, its own community will form (but I'm sure you knew that already).

    ProTip: To damage your credibility, simply call any of the Phantasy Star games "massively-multiplayer."

  6. #6
    [゚д゚] < ナカソネティーチャー Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niered View Post
    I had no problem playing PSO, grinding through areas that were actually interesting and engaging, with stellar music, in a setting that depicted a certain amount of urgency.
    You'll have to inform me what sense of urgency there is runing areas over and over again to find a rare drop. A great sense of urgency was never what I felt in PSO. Nor would I say the music was stellar. It was good but the field music got old after listening to it X^X amount of times save for the openings/endings and a few boss tunes. I do the same thing now that I did when I played PSO: I turn off the music and listen to something else. The fellow in charge of music for PSO is the same who was in charge of music for PSU, PSP2, and PSP2i actually. I wasn't able to meet him but he seems like an interesting guy from the PSP2 and PSP2i promotions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent View Post
    If the game is good enough, and word gets out of it, its own community will form (but I'm sure you knew that already).
    Whaat? Community websites based on certain series of games? I had no idea those existed!
    Last edited by Mike; Nov 19, 2010 at 07:21 AM.

  7. #7

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    I agree with many of your points. Specifically, I like how you pointed out the musical element of PSO as well as the art style. I always felt like I was at a rave party playing PSO. Lots of bright colors in open zones; It's great! I guess PSU had bright colors and a somewhat good art style

    I hated the hell out of PSU, probably one of the worst MRPGS I have ever played in my life. I can't understand why any of the people on this forum would dare play that game in comparison to PSO. I'd even go as far as to say the same for PSP1 and PSP2. They are ports of PSU with PSO elements. Same generic looking crappy, shitty maps.

    The big driver in PSO for many people was the rares. PSU had a terrible rare system with all rares being synthesis. Really retarded.

    I still think the best way to make PSO2 as good and hopefully better than PSO1 would be to make the game almost exactly the same in every way: Same artist with better rendering, same musical composer, same rare/drop system, and Layered levels like PSO1: Forest >> Caves >> Mines >> Ruins. They should include about 50 more+ levels though... Like "Ice cap" or something.

    Idk... Just my 2 cents. Dont add or change too much b/c thats what happened with PSU and it sucked.





    Bring back mags etc.

  8. #8
    Trueblade 剣聖 Wayu's Avatar
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    Gonna make this short and simple.

    Wants:
    PSO music.
    PSO-level creativity in areas and enemies
    PSU character creation + movement (dodging, movement speed)

    Also, SEGA better not be afraid to spend immense amounts of hours creating this game. Take a look at Final Fantasy XIII and XIII Versus - the former was in production for years and years (5 or 6?). The latter isn't out yet, but has been in production for 11 god damned years. And just look at how amazing that new trailer is!

    -Wayu




  9. #9

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    I agree with everything you've pointed out so far. I definiltely love being that 'one guy that saves the day' rather than that 'person who's helping a joint effort' in my stories. I mean, if I'm playing a lead role of a grand story, I want my part to be the most massive.

    It's why FFXI sucked me in for 7 or 8 years so far. Haha.

    But one thing I'm worried about, if this is to satisfy our need to be pulled in...
    Pioneer 2 landed on Ragol at the end of Episode 3. Episode 4 had us investigating some meteor crash or something (I haven't played through Ep4 honestly... though I'm slowly working towards it!). Since this is a direct sequel of the PSO storyline, wouldn't that mean We'll be joining the forces of the HUNTER's guild, which shold - by now - be considered to be joining one of those joint effort groups?

    I dunno. Maybe SEGA will surprise us, but I'm not expecting a similar scenario for PSO2 that we got in PSO.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    None of the above. They're all nice things to have but what are you going to be doing in the end? Grinding for weapons. And the best thing to have when grinding for weapons is good company. In other words, community. And multi-region servers.
    This is your argument? Then just play PSU, plain and simple. :| We don't want PSU, nobody does except you.

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