Sega's smartphone version of Phantasy Star Online 2 is an interesting experiment. As has been noted before, PSO2es is not a full port of the PC/Vita game, but rather a super simplified version that is far better suited for quick play.
The demo I played featured a dungeon and a boss fight. Progression inside of the dungeon was as simple as tapping icons on the right side of the screen which also served the purpose of granting your character certain buffs. You choose your path, so to speak, by selecting the buffs you want. Every few icons you choose will lead to a random battle against a group of enemies. Combat is simple and easy to get a grasp of; swiping left, right, down or up will result in your character rolling in the appropriate direction. This is the only way to get around the battle field as the game doesn't allow you to simply walk or run. By stripping down your ability to move, there's less opportunity for incorrect inputs on the touch screen.
Tapping the screen activates your weapon, and much like in the full version of PSO2, timing dictates how long you can chain combos and increase your damage. In the bottom righthand corner of the screen is a wheel that you can turn to gain access to your abilities and items.
Visually the game was unremarkable. The demo I played was on a fairly standard Android phone, but the framerate was smooth and the monster animations were generally solid. I asked a Sega representative if players would be able to use our PC/Vita characters in the smartphone version and while she didn't go into specifics, she told me that the feature is planned.
Phantasy Star Online 2 es didn't blow me away, but I wasn't expecting it to. As a smartphone app, I can still see myself pouring unhealthy amounts of time into the game when I get the urge to play PSO2 but don't have access to my computer.
I recorded the boss fight for your viewing pleasure and posted it after the break.
Sega is looking to release PSO2es this winter in Japan.
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