Sonic Team are gearing up their Western release for the long-awaited PC version of Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II, including a new “Episode IV” mode and a limited free trial.
The new version, subtitled “Blue Burst”, will be available for free trial download from May 10 on the official PSO:BB websites for SEGA Europe and SEGA America. The trial will allow players to get a feel of the PC version of Ragol, while offering 30 days of free online play.
Interestingly, SEGA will provide special quests for BETA players, perhaps in a way to trial every aspect of the game experience before releasing the final version in stores.
New features for Blue Burst include a new character called Momoka, the ability to “morph” your character further than before, a “Team” system that works similar to clans, and even a future downloadable update – a brand new Episode to the PSO series, naturally dubbed “Episode IV”.
In a new twist also, PSO:BB player data is stored on Sonic Team/SEGA’s online servers, and not the player’s hard drive. The intent of this is not only to allow users from accessing their character from any computer with the game installed, but also allows Sonic Team to scan players for any discouraging activity and cheating on the servers; a problem that has plagued legitimate PSO players with ‘Black Screens of Death’ and other such “pleasantries”.
Blue Burst is said to already have been ‘hacked’ in the past, but due to the player data system, Sonic Team have managed to ban these idiots effectively.
The BETA Trial will be available to both US and European players, so it doesn’t matter which website you visit. Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst is set to be released in the UK in June this year.