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Phantom Brave Preview for PlayStation 2 (PS2)
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 @ 02:25:00 am E.S.T

If you are a fan of turn-based strategy titles, then you have undoubtedly heard of software developer/publisher, Nippon Ichi (NI), who has been staking their claim in the stateside market ever since their American debut in 2003 with the sleeper-hit Disgaea. In May of 2004, La Pucelle: Tactics was released in the U.S. for the Playstation 2, a game that had been on Japanese shelves even before Disgaea. Now, a title new to both countries is coming to town, and its name is Phantom Brave.

The story of Phantom Brave revolves around a young girl by the name of Marona, who has the power to summon phantoms. Marona and her phantom sidekick, Ash, make a living as hired muscle for the residents of their island, which is also home to dozens of phantoms ripe for summoning. As any good protagonist should be, Marona is also possessed. Details of said possession should unfold with the gameís story, which, if previous NI games are any indication, should be quite over-the-top and entertaining. The story unfolds through standard RPG in-game cut-scenes, which play out as you travel throughout the game world.

Phantom Brave brings a lot to the table in terms of gameplay. It is innovative enough to keep veteran turn-based strategy (TBS) gamers happy, but at the same time is just difficult enough for newcomers to be able to pick up and enjoy. While battles do take place in a rectangular battlefield set off from the rest of the world, unlike most TBS games on the market, you do not move on a chess-like grid, but rather to any space in a 360 degree circle around the character. This makes for much more interesting battles, with reportedly strong AI to keep up. At the start of every battle, due to her summoning abilities, Marona will have to summon phantoms of your choice and bind them to objects on the playing field. The object that a phantom is bound to also determines what type of roll in combat a phantom is best suited for. For instance, binding a phantom to a living organism such as a plant will make for a more healing-oriented fighter, while a phantom bound to a rock or piece of wood creates a more aggressive contender. Elements of previous games are also present, such as being able to pick up and throw characters and objects across the field.

The sights and sounds that the game dishes out are shaping up to be NIís best work yet. Phantom Brave features character models have that distinct, anime look and feel that its predecessors sported, as does the scenery throughout the island. The battle maps are very nicely detailed and textured, but seem to, at times, look as if you still had to move your character on a grid. Launching into one of the gameís grandiose special attacks looks better than ever, as well. The music and sound effects in the game sound brilliant, adding to the full experience one comes to expect from a NI title. Full voice acting will be featured in the cut scenes, as will charactersí in-fight battle cries.

Phantom Brave is shaping up to be Nippon Ichiís best offering to date, and will only reinforce the companyís name in the American gaming market. The game is scheduled to be released on August 31, 2004 for the Playstation 2 gaming console.


Preview By: Andy Lee - 2489 Reads


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Phantom Brave Screenshots for PlayStation 2 (PS2)
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