A Great SRPG from NIS
Story: Phantom Brave follows the story of Marona a young orphan who works as a demon/monster hunter. Marona is not well liked by the populous do to her ability to see, interact, and summon phantoms to the physical world to aid her in combat. The story in this game tugs on the heart strings and you want Marona to succeed and become accepted by others.
Characters: The main characters in this game are Marona and Ash, a swordsman. The game largely focuses on Marona and Ash acting as a guardian of sorts for her. I enjoyed watching these two interact, and Ash's abilities make him probably the best character in the game in terms of combat.
The rest of the cast is made up off story relevant characters to move the story forward and an array of phantoms you can create to make a rag tag army like Disgaea.
Gameplay: The gameplay in this game is a grid-less turn-based combat system. The game focuses on strategy elements, but the lack of a grid makes combat feel different but similar. The true effects of this system come to play with maps that have slippery or bouncy floors. As far as combat itself goes you have to summon phantoms onto physical objects like plants, rocks, and other items that are laying about. Of course, you do have a chance to capture these items as well.
You can also fuse items and characters together to grant the base character or item new powers and abilities or strengthen there overall stats. The game focuses a lot on title customization as well. The game offers some depth, but not so much so that it feels overwhelming or poorly executed.
Though the title customization ability can be used to essentially break the game in terms of combat for the main game and much if not all of the post game content as well.
Graphics: The visuals in this game are rather colorful and well done. The characters are represented by sprites in and out of combat.
Sound: The soundtrack for this game is rather well done, but none of the tracks stand out as something you'd want to listen to by itself. They do work well with the game though to enhance the experience.
Level Design: The levels in this game tend to be the right side. They are neither so large that combat takes forever to engage in, but so small that it is impossible to get some breathing room either. The levels in some dungeons can also effect strategy as well since certain levels include bouncy and slippery floors that can shake things up in terms of movement.
Level Design: 9
Unlike any other...
Phantom Brave is a heavily under-appreciated SRPG that features an entirely different battle system, and promises the gamer endless hours of re playability. It's loads of fun, and anyone with a little patience can pick up and enjoy this game for as long as they want. (If you want a description based on the Gamestop rating, scroll down until you find) There are no grids! A very unique quality of the game is that your movement and attack ranges are entirely circular. The terrains in this game have different descriptions such as: Slippery, Firm, Bouncy, etc. that adds a fresh layer of variety to the game. On ice stages you will find your characters slipping, and because of this, you will try to find the best possible way to close in on your enemy without slipping past him. Moving off of elevated terrains will allow you to bounce and further your distance (don't worry, if you make a mistake, you can cancel your movement and start over). Unfortunately, there are very few stages that boast these descriptions, and the only way to appreciate this feature further would be to generate a random stage with these descriptions, or to replay the stages with those descriptions. This game is turn-based, so the ones with the highest speed goes first, and as they end their turn, the character with the second highest speed would go next (be it enemy or ally). Another interesting asset is how you are able to bring out your characters onto the map. In Phantom Brave, you need to 'Confine' your characters into items to summon them to battle. At the start of any stage, you will begin with your main character, Marona. Within the stage, there should be an abundance of items (trees, rocks, treasure chests, pillars, etc.), and to summon more characters to battle, you must select Marona, then 'Confine', select an object, and choose the character. Instantly, your character will appear in place of the object, with boosted (or decreased) stats depending on what kind of item it was confined to (e.g. if you confine a character to a ROCK, his DEFENSE stat would go up, but his SPEED would lower). Marona can confine as many times in a turn as she likes (as long as it doesn't pass the limit of characters you can bring out). While your characters are in battle, however, there are only a certain number of turns you can keep them in battle for, which will be labeled as a REMOVE stat. REMOVE 5 would indicate that after your character has ended 5 turns, he will be removed from battle. The abundance of items you can confine your characters in to, along with the REMOVE stat are two very unique traits in the game you won't expect to see anywhere else. The level cap in Phantom Brave is a jaw-dropping 9,999, so you can expect for a lot of re playability if you should ever wish to reach such a high level (the highest level in the main story you would have to achieve to complete it would be a mere 90 - 100, so don't be intimidated if you don't find level grinding enjoyable). Phantom Brave also features the Lift & Throw action (this is where Bouncy maps come into play). You can lift anything, even characters. If you wished to shorten the distance between your ally and an enemy, you would only need to lift your ally (make sure the lifter and your ally are both unarmed), and throw him/her toward the enemy. Tossing weapons to unarmed allies, or maybe bones (which decrease HP) to enemies are part of the strategies you'll want to plan out in this game. You'll also have to face the 'O.B.!' feature in this game, 'O.B.!' translating into 'Out of Bounds!'. So if you find one of your enemies as a nuisance, you would only have to lift it, and literally, toss it out of the map (beware that your enemies may also do that to your weapons, also, it should be noted that the last enemy or an important enemy may not be thrown off the map, but instead, would re spawn at the edge of the stage). ANYTHING you lift is a weapon. There is only one single equip slot for each character, which serves a
Average Game I Suppose
When it comes to storyline games, the number one thing that gets me to pick up a title is the art and character design. I saw Phantom Brave sitting on the shelves and thought it looked rather enticing. Its unique anime style, interesting characters, and a cheap price all made this game rather appealing. So I bought it, took it home, and started playing. One of the first things I noticed was the terrible cut scenes. The voice acting was totally unenthusiastic and downright boring. The action in the cut scenes was two dimensional and completely uninteresting. Everything about the cut scenes seemed fake and forced. The storyline was strange and rather interesting, but the way in which it was presented was just disastrous. However, the deal breaker for this game was the overly complex and difficult game play. I enjoy a challenging game, but when I, a skilled gamer, can get destroyed on the first or second levels, there is some serious problems with the game design. Tutorials for the game were minimal and boring, and I was left wandering around trying to figure out what the heck to do next. All in all, I really can't say that I recommend this game for anyone other than the extreme gamer who has played every other game under the sun. If they invested more money into the voice acting and improved their direction and battle systems, the game would be worthwhile. Although by that point you'd be basically creating a new game... Do yourself a favor: go buy Final Fantasy Tactics instead.