Have you noticed the fighting game boom we’ve had in the last year? It’s a little different than the resurgence sparked by Street Fighter IV in 2008 or Tekken 7 in 2017. There’s a wave of retro love sweeping through the genre right now, in part because of the net rollback conversation -code in fighting games. While developers are doing their best to lock down optimal net code for their brand new titles, we’ve also seen classic games relaunched with new net code or entire re-releases. It’s a great opportunity for forgotten classics or overlooked cult gems to get a second chance at life, and Phantom Breaker: Omnia is the latest example.
That’s totally fair if you’ve never played or even heard of Phantom Breaker before – it was originally a Japan-exclusive Xbox 360 release in 2011 from visual novel studio Mages. Since then, there have been a few re-releases and updated versions of the title that have added new characters, gameplay mechanics, and story elements, but it’s only thanks to Rocket Panda Games that the latest upgraded version of the game eventually sprung up all over the world. In terms of localization, it’s not a rush job either – every bit of combat audio and story mode dialogue has been dubbed into English by an all-star cast, and they’re working with a fun, smooth script that adds a lot. of energy to the huge cast of 22 playable characters.
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Rather than taking the form of a crossover fighter filled with Mages game characters, like visual novel company Nitroplus’ Nitroplus Blasterz did, Phantom Breaker is an original story full of new characters and tons of skill points. absurd plot. Essentially, a big bad named Phantom has given random people superpowers and forces them to fight in order to generate enough special phantom energy to open a portal to an alternate reality. Or something. It’s a silly waste, but some of the characters involved are genuinely charming, and the fact that there’s a wealth of individual character stories to play through instead of a cut and dry Arcade mode is a delight. The East an Arcade mode too, but that’s pretty good – please don’t make me fight all the characters in the cast when there are nearly two dozen characters in it!
Even more surprising than the depth of the story in Phantom Breaker: Omnia is the depth of the gameplay. Fans of goofy looking anime fighters with fast and flashy fights will be in heaven here. For starters, each character has multiple styles to choose from, just like in Melty Blood or Capcom vs. SNK 2. Fast Style makes you a glass cannon capable of long combos, while Hard Mode boosts your defenses and boosts damage from base, but reduces your combo potential so you’re more focused on beefy individual hits. This build launches Omnia Style, striking a balance between the other two at the cost of disabling a few of the advanced counter-burning mechanics available to you. I love this style system because the choices seem really important, but are also simple enough choices that even a beginner can navigate. Are you playing a slow monster or a ranged zoner? You really want Hard Style.
Once you’ve selected your style, Phantom Breaker: Omnia doesn’t ask much of you in terms of raw inputs – you have three standard attacks and a special attack button, with all your special attacks accessible by simply pressing one or two buttons and a stick in one direction. Quadrants and Z inputs don’t exist here, and almost the entire cast uses the same inputs for their special attacks. If you’re a button crusher or just a casual gamer trying your best, the basic tools here are accessible enough to keep you entertained. Seasoned FGC veterans have an incredible amount of advanced tools to work with, however – a combo-expanding Overdrive mode, Third Strike-style parry, Counter Bursts, Combo Breakers, and more.
The fights in Phantom Breaker: Omnia are fun and flashy and well put together, and that’s the most important part of a fighting game, but I can’t help but be appalled at the major flaws scattered throughout the game. rest of the package. The game is a bit messy on PC, with barely any graphics/resolution options and a fullscreen mode that breaks if you open Steam Overlay.
Worse still, the game appears to incorrectly map Xbox One controller inputs into the game and provides no way to remap the affected buttons. Your only workaround is to download a community-created Steam controller setup that fixes the problem. Another weird and frustrating choice is that the command list is not accessible during combat or training. You can only see it by rummaging through the back pages of an obtuse set of PDFs in the main menu which are the game’s closest thing to a tutorial.
Aesthetically, the game is all over the place too. While most of the characters are rendered with drawn 2D sprites, some of the cast are rendered with flat images captured from 3D models. It’s what you’d see in games like King of Fighters XIII or old-school Mortal Kombat, but it’s incredibly off-putting when alongside standard 2D character sprites. The way they move and animate is also often different, which makes these pseudo-3D characters feel incredibly out of place.
Somehow, these elements of jankiness might end up adding even more charm to Phantom Breaker: Omnia for some people. I love a crisp anime fighter, and despite the visual inconsistency and nonsensical story, Phantom Breaker: Omnia is a joy to play. Still, technical faults such as inaccessible command list and controller input issues end up being much harder faults to ignore. Be careful, ‘kusoge’ Fans.
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