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[9/5/2004] Phantom Brave

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Title: Phantom Brave

Genre: Strategy RPG

Platform: PS2




Ash treads through "Evil Island" with his friends. Suddenly, demons attack! There are too many, you retreat. Your retreat gets cut off by a huge Wraith!




"You shall go no further! For her sake, I will not fail!"


He fails. But his friend uses his last breath to ressurect him as a phantom. So Ash travels back to his friends' (They were married) island and watches over his kid. Ash, the parents, and Marona (the daugher) are all Chromas. Which is basically a mercenary. Marona is special, she can see phantoms, like Ash. She can also confine them to objects in this world, so they can interact with it for a short period of time. This forms the basis of the battle system. Marona uses her spirit summoning powers to earn a living as a Chroma, taking requests to solve other people's problems.




As soon as I entered battle and started confing my phantoms to things, I realized something. EVERYTHING can be used to confine phantoms to! Be it rocks, trees, weeds, starfish, stone pillars, few items are left out when it comes to confining. Soon after I started confining, I realized a second thing. All the mediums can be picked up and used as a weapon! You confine Ash to a rock, then have him pick up a nearby tree and smack people with it! And each item class has its own unique skills. Use Arbor Day to smack someone with your tree, or Thorns to perform a multi-hit pointy attack against an enemy. Sometimes it's more fun to send your phantoms in unequipped so they can take advantage of the scenery.


Phantoms can only stay on the battlefield a certain amount of time though, so you have to use them very strategically. Some last longer than others. The Soldier is weak, but will stay on the field a long time. The Witch is strong as flock but will dissapear after 3 turns.


And on the topic of classes there are a TON. Following the patern of Nippon Ichi's most recent games, classes are found in abundance. You get a huge amount of human classes, as well as most monsters. Many classes have jobs outside of battle. The Merchant and Healer are easy enough, but the Dungeon Monk has the important job of creating the random dungeons Disgaea fans love. The Titlist grants new titles to items, characters, and dungeons, altering their stats.


New classes are unlocked by killing them in battle. Some maps will have neutral characters, that, when killed, allow you to summon them en masse as spirits.




When phantoms and items participate in the battle, they gain mana, which can be used to power up the item, or transfer skills between characters through fusion. Transfering skills can be important. When fusing characters together, their mana totals are combined, and any skills the second one has, can be transfered to the first one at the cost of mana. Important skills include the skills that give you more mana or XP, and the skill that increases the amount of time you're confined.


I could keep talking about all of it's features, but I won't, to save space. I could literally add several more paragraphs to this thing.


New to the series is the fact that you move around in 3d. Gone are the days of cardinal direction movement, you can now move wherever you want. It also makes some maps that much more crowdable. The random dungeons in particular.




The graphics are still in beautiful 2D, though the due to the amount of items available, some of them are awkwardly wielded. The sound is still good but it's missing the touch that Tsunami Bomb gave Disgaea.


The controls can screw you up sometimes, it all depends on the order in which you select things. If you select the posistion or target first, then the action, it will ask for confirmation and show you some important stats. Selecting the action first doesn't give you this privelege.


The one big problem I had with this game is O.B. It stand for Out of Bounds, and happens when a character or item get's thrown off the map. When an enemy gets thrown of the map, all the other enemies levels increase by 1. When an ally get's O.B.ed...it's gone, and that's it. This is very annoying when weak Scrabbit's roundhouse you off the map in Episode 3. The shear ammount of Scrabbit's in the area made it easy for you to lose your entire team to O.B., with no benefit whatsoever.


Gameplay: 9/10

Graphics: 8/10

Sound: 8/10

Controls: 7/10


Overall: 8/10


You should play this: if you're a hardcore RPGer.



Edited by LordKanti
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I'd like to add to this, a few of the concepts behind the game get really annoying. "Robber" enemies, which have an INSANELY high steal% (I've seen 160% before) do NOTHING but take your items and throw them off the map, rendering them useless. They like to do the same thing with your characters. At a certain point, the game just sucks because of this. Skills are primarily item based, so without an item, you have no skills. Due to the fact that your phantoms can get OBed at will, I tried making Marona more offensive. I succeeded, except for the fact that everyone steals your items and throws them off the map. Items also have their own HP, and randomly attempt to block attacks, absorbing some of the damage. I wish I could just opt NOT to do this, as it leads to loss of said item, which leads to loss of entire stage because you can't attack.


It's still good if you're lucky. These problems only surface during a few chapters. But I still quit for a couple days when I reach them...


Gameplay: 4/10

Graphics: 8/10

Sound: 8/10

Controls: 7/10


Overall: 7/10


Prepare to have your patience tested...

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