Exploring Phantasy Star Online 2’s Sakura Memories Crossover Event
On September 16, Sega brought a bit of the Taisho era to the decks of the ships in the Oracle fleet, with the launch of the “Sakura Memories” crossover event in Phantasy Star Online 2. In addition to a new set of scratch cards, the event decks out the main lobbies in a style befitting the Imperial Combat Revue.
The chance to check out this celebration of the Flower Division was too tempting to resist, so we did the sensible thing: we rolled a new character, played through the tutorial quests, and made our way to the depths of Ship 3 for a first-hand look.
Upon logging in, the first thing that many players will undoubtedly notice is the music. The standard Lobby themes have been replaced by a rotating trio of tracks from the Sakura Wars franchise:
Of the three tracks, Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan and Hanasaku Otome are presented in their entirety, while Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan <Shinshou> is the shorter cut used in Sakura Wars 2019’s initial reveal trailer.
The Main Lobby
To the left and right of the Quest Counter are a pair of terminals, used to collect login bonuses and manage character inventories. Above them hangs a massive monitor which, throughout the event, plays the Sakura Memories teaser on a loop.
Across from the Quest counter, near the elevators, stand two replicas of the Sakura Wars series’ mechs. On the left stands a model of Sakura Amamiya’s Kobu Mk. III, which proudly stands mid-sword slash. Much like its Sakura Wars 2019 equivalent, the unit’s paint job is battle-worn from years of combat. On its back, the emblem of the Imperial Combat Revue is visible, along with its locomotive gear.
On the right, Seijuro Kamiyama’s Mugen poses ready for battle. Its untarnished white paint job and glowing red optical sensor stand as a stark contrast to the Kobu just a few meters away, as it poses with swords akimbo.
The Shopping Plaza
The celebration continues in the Shopping Plaza, which has received a makeover to suit the campaign. A massive cherry blossom tree stands at its center, atop a gentle green hill. A sea of sakura petals gently flutters down from above, onto posing replicas of Sakura Amamiya’s Kobu or Seijuro Kamiyama’s Mugen. The two rotate regularly, which allows players to get up-close and personal with the mechs for photos.
The rest of the plaza is dotted with blooming cherry blossom trees, which line the perimeter of the zone, as well as the steps leading up to the middle of the Shopping Plaza proper.
While a picture is worth a thousand words, a video speaks volumes. The video below, which was taken on the first day of the event, runs through the major zones in which the event is taking place. From Sakura’s Kobu posing majestically in the shopping plaza to the quirky standees in the lobby, we made sure to catch all campaign’s major sights.
While Sakura Memories will likely be just one of countless events to grace Phantasy Star Online 2 in the years to come, one can’t help but heartened by the little flourishes that help to bring new life to the familiar lobbies. The detail on the Kobu and the nostalgic tunes are sure to charm Sakura Wars fans new and old alike, while the displays in the Shopping Plaza provide an attractive backdrop for photos.
Though the real star of the event is the list of impressive AC Scratch Ticket prizes, it’s clear that the development team’s heart is in the right place for the overall campaign. There are enough elements to endear the newcomers who’ve wandered in from Sega’s steampunk classic, while providing an attractive, yet unobtrusive makeover for the lobby maps that Phantasy Star Online 2 players have become more than familiar with over the five months.
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