Phantom Brave (PC) Review
The plot to Phantom Brave revolves around the character Marona, a young girl who has the power to communicate with Phantoms, which are essentially the spirits of the dead. In the world of Chromas, her powers carry a negative stigma, and she lives on an island all by herself taking odd jobs to survive. However Marona has a guardian - the phantom Ash - a friend of Marona’s deceased parents tasked with watching over the girl.
Compared to Disgaea, the storyline for Phantom Brave carries more serious and emotional tones and it does a good job on all fronts. Marona is a very cheerful and musical character, even with all the misguided hatred towards her - she is very patient and keeps a very positive attitude even when she is at fault, while Ash can be a bit more serious on how Martona is treated. Marona and Ash, along with other characters, make for a very satisfying story and the narrative, is top notch.
In addition to the main story, the PC version also includes the “Another Marona” storyline, from the Wii and PSP remakes. This takes place after the main story, with everyone in the world except for Marona is killed, and it’s up to her and the sudden appearance of Phantoms to defeat the threat from 30 years past that has returned. This is a nice addition, since there are new characters with special abilities to enjoy on top of a good additional story to play through.
At its core, Phantom Brave is an SRPG (strategy role playing game) through and through. However, there are some differences that separate it from the traditional SRPG. Gone are the grid based squares that many SRPG players are used to. Each character now has a movement ring at their disposal, giving players a bigger area to traverse and wider range for skills. Moving and manipulating enemies will require a bit more strategy than your basic SRPG and it can take time to get used to but once mastered it can be very satisfying.
The other big change is the number of allies that can be placed on the field. Marona may not be much of a fighter, but she has many phantom friends to help her fight off enemies. However they are nothing but ghosts, lacking any physical presence in the world. Marona will have to summon the Phantom to an object on the field - a rock, a tree, or anything in the surrounding area. However, Phantoms are only allowed on the field for a limited number of turns, and after the timer runs out, the Phantom will no longer be able to be re-summoned during battle. Battles can change greatly on how the player utilizes each phantom. It’s not always best to summon every phantom on the first round. If the player is not able to reach the enemies in the amount of turns before the time on the phantoms run out, it will put the player at a disadvantage.
Overall Phantom Brave is really well balanced. I found it less of a grind then my time with Disgaea series. Visually the graphics haven’t changed by any stretch of the imagination. Text and character portraits look a lot sharper and character models are however pretty blocky and don’t look very great. Overall it’s definitely an improvement over Disgaea PC which had similar issues.
Whether you have played Phantom Brave before or not, this is a solid edition and a welcome addition to an already great lineup of PC games from NIS America. With the PC port the player gets a deep story, better graphics, addicting SRPG gameplay, and the additional storyline.
Phantom Brave PC is a must play for SRPG fans alike.
-DLC bundled in