Back in January of this year, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis received its first major update, adding the region of Retem, and fixing a lot of the problems that were present during its rocky release. Fast-forward to six months later, and we got a brand-new update, the Frozen Resolution patch, where players explore the snowy mountain of Kvaris, with some brand-new enemies, sceneries, and another slew of quality of life improvements. This update further makes the release seem like dark ages gone by, even if there are still many issues afoot.
First, let’s address the elephant, or should I say, the mountain in the room, which is Kvaris. The protagonist is requested by Crawford to go there because the Central Cannon that was recently used to subdue Dark Falz has been severely damaged, and in Kvaris lives a researcher named Ilma, who’s very knowledgeable on the ins and outs of how the cannon works. You’ll also get acquainted with Ilma’s four brothers, all with different personalities.
The story does take a backseat compared to Retem, however, and I felt that it was a bit too short, because immediately after saving Ilma and learning about how Kvaris was once the capital of Aelio, that’s … pretty much it. And I’m not alone in this, as many of my friends had the same “Wait, that’s it?” sort of feeling, and we’re left yearning for more. And sure enough, the Quest Counter, which was also added as a way to replay past story quests, shows that there were way fewer quests and content in the Kvaris story quests compared to Retem. Though I want to say that more will be added in the future. It’s hard to say.
The level cap has now been raised to 60, and to complete the Kvaris story, a Battle Power of 2045 and higher is required, but leveling up and increasing your Battle Power has never been easier in recent memory, thanks to the addition of the new Battledia quests in Kvaris. If you time your farming well and obtain enough boosts, you’re looking at upwards of 500 thousand EXP per run, and that’s not even counting the more than 50 side quests available in Kvaris, each giving upwards of 300 thousand EXP by just collecting and exploring. These sorts of implementations are always welcome for those who aren’t hardcore players such as myself, and just want to level up quickly.
One of my favorite additions has to be the brand-new Throwing Actions that were present during certain battles in the main story and quests. By breaking certain objects such as crystals, you can throw their shards into enemies and deal massive damage. Further, you can also damage certain structures around you and make them collapse, such as the icebergs around the cave in Lost Central. These make defeating large groups of enemies a lot easier, and also help players who have yet to enhance or augment their weapons. Also, it is rather fun to deal 3000 damage just by throwing crystals around.
Next is the addition of Floating Boards. Scattered across Kvaris are a series of points that will summon a snowboard that you can control for 60 seconds. In that short period of time, you can perform boosts, jumps, and even run over minerals to instantly obtain them. The mountainous parts of Kvaris are designed in such a way that using a snowboard is easier than gliding and jumping, and some minerals are even set out in a specific line so that you can easily pass through them. Even though the controls did feel a bit wonky, I think I’ll put the blame on my own skill, not the game.
New competitive minigames have also been added, such as the Track Races, where multiple players can compete against each other in races, or you can do it solo and play a time attack mode and try to break your record. As you’d expect from a major update such as this, The Sechetyl Series and the Evoleclipse series of 6-star weapons, as well as the Kaizaar series of 7-star weapons were added, and brand-new enemies with unique mechanics have been added.
For those looking for an extra challenge, among the newly added enemies is a class called Ancients. Much like the previously feared Gigantix, the Ancients scale their HP based on the number of players in a given sector, but if you do manage to beat them, you’ll earn Icicle Cubes. Remember the Kaizaar series I mentioned previously? Yeah, by spending sixty of those cubes, you can obtain a Kaizaar weapon of your own! (Provided you have the actual time to grind because those enemies are TOUGH and take a while to beat.) You can only fight them at Rayjord Gorge, and if you don’t have enough protection from its freezing temperatures, you’ll be dead pretty soon, as the cold weather ticks away from your precious health.
Exploring Kvaris was fun, but the biggest concern I have right now is: What comes next? After all, as I’ve said previously, this is the last update that was teased in the roadmap last year. Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis has come a long way since its release, but it, unfortunately, will need a lot more end-game content to retain player activity, and I hope they make yet another roadmap, so as to have complete transparency, and to let players know that yes, the game is not over yet, and the story will still continue. I’m excited to see what regions we will explore next.
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