'Phantasy Star Online 2' will finally come to North America next week

Rachel England
Contributing Writer

It's been a long time coming, but Phantasy Star Online 2 is set to make its North American debut this month. Japan's hotly-anticipated online action RPG will launch in open beta on Xbox One on March 17th. You'll be able to start downloading the client from March 16th.

You'd be right to be wary of such promises, of course. Sega has been saying for years that the game was heading to the US, and then in 2013 announced a delay without explanation. Things have been largely silent since then, although an English language version was released in Southeast Asia not long after.

But for avid PSO2 fans, the game may have been worth the wait. From the get-go it'll include episodes 1-3, representing over three years' worth of expanded content updates from the start. The open beta will include fully localized text and character voices in English, and when you first log in you'll get your hands on a variety of weapons including swords, assault rifles, rods, and gunblades as well as consumable items to get started.

The North American version will also include the most-up-to-date balancing and quality-of-life improvements from the Japanese service. Players will be able to choose from four races and nine classes and explore up to 14 locations while tackling various missions and collecting Xbox One Achievements. And if you want to take a break from questing you can play a casino mini-game, hang out in the Alliance Quarters, or attend all-new live stage events.

Again, there's no word from Sega as to why it's taken so long to get the game out of Japan, but with its launch date tantalizingly close it doesn't really matter anymore – players will happily believe it when they see it. Sign up for the open beta on the Microsoft Store.