SEGA has announced that the sequel to one of the finest online RPGs and a pioneer of the genre, Phantasy Star Online, will be free-to-download and free-to-play. The game model will be based on microtransactions with items and other benefits costing money. However, it will not be required to buy anything in order to progress and there will not be a level cap or any other restrictions for non-paying customers.
PSO2 had already been announced for PC and PlayStation Vita, and now we know that a third version is being developed – one for Android and iOS devices. This version will share character data with the main PC/Vita versions, but will be more simplistic and will not offer cross-platform play.
The PC version is scheduled for a summer 2012 release in Japan, the smart phone version follows in the winter, and the Vita version is to be released in early 2013. The PC version’s second alpha test for the game was recently completed and reached a scale of 50,000 users. A closed beta for the PC version will start in April, with a scale set to 100,000 players.
I am really happy with this news. Since I would not be able to put in more than 10-20 hours of play a month, I was never going to get the game if it had monthly fees. Now it is a definite for me. If it has even half of PSO’s magic, I will enjoy it greatly. I have a total of about 200 hours logged into Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst for the PC (138 on my currently existing character), and I still play it occasionally on Schthack’s server.
My first real post is going to be a short story about why I chose the title of this site.
It was actually suggested by my girlfriend, and I liked it a lot. Aside from the obvious wordplay and the implication that games can be a serious matter, not just a way to recreate and pass the time, there is the inevitable division between the material and the virtual. “Life” is a blanket term for the material world used quite often online, while “Games” are only a part of the virtual one (not any less so than books or movies), but games are the main focus of this site, so I will concentrate on them.
Back when I was young, games and playing outside were the two major things I was busy with aside from school. Already then, the compromise existed. Sometimes, I would choose to play a game instead of studying or playing football. Still, most of the time I would just go outside with my friends. Today, though, I no longer have that choice. Working on a desk with internet access 8 hours a day gives me the chance to keep up-to-date with gaming news, but little time to actually play games anymore. My backlog keeps growing, but I still do my best to put in as much time as I can.
So there I am… Between life and games. I can’t skip work, refuse to see my friends or to take my girlfriend to see a movie because of a game anymore. I’ve grown up, I guess… But games still hold the same magic. They have helped shape me as a person and I will help the people who read my articles with my advice. Because, indeed, there are games that every human being deserves to experience. The magic will never fade away!
My name is Vlado and I am an independent video game journalist from Bulgaria. I am a newcomer in the game journalism field, having only written my reviews and articles on several forums on gaming sites like GameFAQs, GameSpot, Backloggery, UnikGamer and Netrunner2k2. Nevertheless, I have always received generally positive feedback regarding my writing and the content of my work. The goal of this project is to have a single point where my materials will be shared, and to establish another independent viewpoint on the gaming world, safe from any influences but my own impressions of games and the industry.
My systems of choice are PC, PS3 and PSP, meaning I will cover games on many systems from NES/Master System to PS3/Xbox 360/Wii. My preferences currently lie with the PlayStation brand, so expect reviews of games on PlayStation systems more often than others. I will comment about games I’m currently playing, write reviews of games I have finished, and occasionally post news and comment on the video game industry as a whole.
I truly hope you enjoy my work. Feel free to leave a comment, if you’d like.