Starting off our Phantom Breaker: Omnia review, its progenitor, Phantom Breaker, is one of the more underrated titles for the Xbox 360. Back then, around that same time was the emergence of BlazBlue, another anime 2D fighter. A very niche following for this game proceeded until well after it’s initial launch with more titles like Phantom Breaker: Extra which added in more characters to the cast.
Another spin-off title that still remains canonical is Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds, a side scrolling beat ’em up with pixel graphics and four player co-op gameplay. This latest entry returns to form with it’s 1v1 fighting with 3 fighting styles and distinctive art. Should you play this newest entry? Find out in our review.
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review or read the full review of the game below.
Phantom Breaker: Omnia
Publisher: Rocket Panda Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Price: $39.99 USD
After a strange man named Phantom comes to Tokyo, he pits combatants against each other, even from different dimensions. Mikoto, a girl who wields a sword named “Maestro”, fights against not only other combatants but also against herself.
Her goal is to win the wish that Phantom grants after surviving, one that will allow her uncle who took her in after her parents passed; Hoping that one day she can play a concert for him with her violin skills she learned from him.
Other characters also have their own situational stories that will take them across many fights and explore more backstory to them. While this is essentially another survival style anime story, it’s pretty interesting for what it’s worth and can be played through via the visual novel style cutscenes.
During these scenes however, the visual novel style is almost static except for mouth movements, meaning there is no expressiveness at all. It’s something that could have been implemented since this is a massive update to Phantom Breaker: Extra, so it sort of falls short in that regard.
The game boasts 20 unique characters including Kurisu from Steins;Gate and Rimi from Chaos;Head. There are a ton of returning characters from past entries of the franchise that also appear again with two brand new characters, Maestra and Artifactor. Most other characters have been retuned and rebalanced for various play styles, you can choose from Quick, Omnia, and Hard.
There are advantages and disadvantages of each but is there to adjust to your playstyle with any character. You can do huge combos and special attacks to overwhelm your opponent or do massive single hits to deal more damage, albeit a bit slower.
In this way, I feel like the gameplay of Omnia is easy to button mash but it won’t get you far since there chances that someone has mastered sidestepping and knows how to stun effectively. This is a high marks type of update for gameplay that can be praised on it’s own.
Other modes besides Story, there is Arcade, Versus, and Online. Arcade mode takes you through all of the characters on the roster with best 2 out of 3 style as opposed to the Story’s one win style.
Even in the story mode for some characters, there are specific challenges required to move to the next chapter. This is somewhat unhelpful for those wishing to complete the story fairly easily rather than “Clash 10 times during a match” with one of the three styles.
A mixed bag of things can be brought up here as the graphics are also mixed. There are some characters that are modeled from 2D sprites and then there are others in 3D sprites. While this isn’t necessarily a negative, it’s somewhat jarring to see when you have both styles on screen at once.
Not just characters are affected by this either, on one stage in particular, you can see some distant trees in the background that have black pixilation behind them. I couldn’t tell if maybe it was supposed to be an aura effect or just the low quality of the tree PNG they used.
Art for the characters is also reminiscent of the anime of old. Everything up to this point has been positioned as “styled”, that’s because this game has art that has style. From Rin to Shizuka, every character is distinctive and easy to tell apart and everyone can remember.
One huge added feature is the dual audio, so you can now play Phantom Breaker with English dubbing from well known names like Erica Mendez, Luci Christian, Cristina Vee, and more. You can of course toggle this based on preference along with text in the game.
There’s somewhat of a lower quality of audio design when most of the game doesn’t have much bass, at least that I could hear. Not a huge gripe, but for those that may want a more arcade-y experience, it could be important to note.
Overall, my thoughts are simple, it’s a fun game. I learned a little bit more about this off-hand title that I first played in Japanese completely on the Xbox 360 and it payed off in the form of this new update. Fighting games don’t get much shine, maybe because of the reputation of the community up to this point, but disregarding all of that, this is another solid fighter to add.
Despite some of it’s smaller issues, this is an excellent game to play casually with friends. Mastering mechanics and then taking them online is another challenge in and of itself.
Pratfalls like the aforementioned graphics and sound design can almost be redone with a patch, but the only problem is that this is an “update.” All in all, for the $40 price tag, you can get a lot of playtime out of this and never have to deal microtransactions or additional characters since this includes it all.
Phantom Breaker: Omnia was reviewed on Windows PC using a copy provided by Rocket Panda Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Phantom Breaker: Omnia launches on March 15th, 2022 on Windows PC (via Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.