The plot of PSO2 is more obvious than other, previous games.
This game actively wants you to know what’s going on, and to be a part of it, with your character. They don’t bother hiding it in obscure alternate paths like PSO did. The plot is delivered (and in-universe) advanced by a thing called “The Matter Board”. There are also “story quests” which you have to play with certain NPCs, going through battle situations with exposition and cut scenes. Those are unlocked via the matter board.
PSO2, in the tradition of most Phantasy Star titles may have a sequel-like title but then isn't apparently related to anything else "Phantasy Star", except throwing around item and word-based cameos. It may or may not be in the same dimension as other PS games. (PSU, remember, was in a separate dimension from PSO...as items eventually began leaking from one game to the other, as an excuse for cameo objects-they were literally called items from "another dimension")
The plot of PSO2 regards altering events over time as well as time travel. By influencing various events you can slowly prevent the Darkers (The game's main enemy form) from basically taking over /ruining everything in the universe. The game's setting is huge, thanks to the ability of the people there to create warp-like technology to basically "worm-hole" their ships almost anywhere they like in the universe. Distance between planets doesn't mean much when they can get between solar systems in minutes. The game spans planets, ships, and isolated outer-space constructs. Spoilers ARE everywhere.
This hub area covers the basics you need to know to understand the rest of the linked information on the other PSO2 pages here.
|The Arks (not to be confused with ARKZ of PSO Episode 3) are an interplanetary exploration force. They're somewhat loosely organized, kind of like how the Hunters were on PSO. This provides a fitting setting for any character you might make. The Arks go around through the galaxy in a fleet of ships. The largest ships are the size of moons, while the ship you generally inhabit is about the size of the Pioneer 2, or maybe a little larger. Like the Pioneer, it has a "regular" city in a giant dome, complete with roads, sky scrapers, and flying airships inside of itself. There are also smaller craft, such as the Camp Ship which you use to travel alone or in little groups to mission areas. Each size of ship seems capable of creating a warp to go through vast distances.
The plot starts when the Arks begin discovering darkers.
These bad guys are unintelligent (like animals that only attack/kill) for the most part but somehow started showing up on multiple planets & also out in space attacking Arks ships. Since they’re not apparently smart enough to build their own ships (most don’t even have hands) that’s what sets off the mystery for the Arks to investigate. They also infect and kill any native wild life found on whatever planet they land on. The Arks take it upon themselves to try to get rid of this menace and get to the bottom of who or what is controlling it.
This ranges from generally making peaceful things hostile (a regular animal or normal machine attacks you) to visibly infected animals & machinery. It can also infect intelligent beings and turn them against their allies. (so, like zombies)
Literally a rectangular glowing/floating tablet that indicates a story scene with NPCs. Since it’s an ORPG it needed a way to have an instance where just 1 character is there with the NPC/s away from randomly spawning monsters or other players so they made something for you to run up to and select. It’s purely for the benefit of the player, the characters themselves wouldn’t ever see things like a tablet because life isn’t instanced.
Event Tablet Incidentals
Not every tablet is from the matter board. Tablets randomly appear in missions that aren’t a part of the board. Which ones you get DO depend on how many boards / how far any board has progressed. These tablets can be seen over and over if you want.
The Matter Board
It contains “matters” (well obviously enough…) which are basically its name for incidents and events. The matters involve you killing a monster to retrieve a specific weapon, shield or item, or to witness or take part in conversations / altercations / incidents with other characters in the story. So there are 2 basic ways to advance the matter board, and you have to do all of both types to complete everything 100%. Once all of the circles/matters on the board are filled in, you will get a new board with still more plot in it.
The matter board is a real, physical item that is handed TO your character by another character, Xion. Xion created the board to help a person (your char) alter events because she is from the future & knows what will happen if someone doesn't meddle. So the matter board is basically your guide to meddling in the "now" to create a desireable result in the future through some seemingly random & not so random actions on your part.
Get an item:
This does not appear to ever actively advance the plot. The reason for it is given that by getting these certain items out of the monsters that you are somehow changing the outcome of other people’s events in the story. Speculation example: stopping a thief from being able to successfully rob someone with a weapon he got out of a monster because you got to it first. Think Marty McFly vs. Biff and the sports almanac, only instead of 1 book there’s heaps of stuff.
*This also serves as a way for the game to dispense to the player nice, specific weapons and armor to use for their character.
See an event:
Sometimes you interact with the event, sometimes you just witness something and sometimes someone just turns up and talks to you. They’re not all always 100% relevant to the plot. Some do insight into the characters’ personalities, others just have people complaining about stuff or looking for things for themselves. There are rarely choices/dialogue choices inside of these.
Xion is the NPC who gives you the Matter Boards. She is a scientist-looking woman thing who acts and speaks mysteriously on purpose. She acts vague, telling you all about why she can’t tell you about the matter board, but that you have to trust her, do it, and that it is important and will “change the future”. She appears human at first glance, but if you inspect her closely, she seems to be made of semi-transparent blue gel with glitter embedded in it, that has a beige/skin tone “shell” of rubber pasted over her exposed parts. Mostly.
Story Mode Missions:
When you complete all or part of a Matter Board, a Story Mode Mission may appear/unlock. This is a mission you must solo. Sometimes you're teamed up with NPCs while inside. These missions take place on specific pre-created maps, with non-random monsters & incidents. Cut scenes can happen at any time in here. Any NPCs encountered in this mission type all have relevent dialogue & are chattier than usual. This is where the plot REALLY progresses, for the most part.
Most story mode missions have TWO paths to take, making you run each one twice. Since this messes with time, technically you actually can do "the same thing" 2 different times in 2 different ways. Very interesting. Do note that sometimes there are more than just 2 ways to do a mission.