Initial release date: March 15, 2022
Developers: MAGE-X, GameLoop Inc.
Publishers: Rocket Panda Games 🚀🐼, Limited Run Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Genres: Fighting game, Action game
"Review Copy Provided By Rocket Panda Games"
The Phantom Breaker series is one that has been around for roughly the last decade or so and while popular, has never officially released in the west and has always been one of the fighting games that’s kind of been one that was a word-of-mouth title that only the hardcore of FGC talked about or played. With 2 titles already released, Omnia looks to bring the series to the west with a full-on localization featuring some of the most high-profile English voice actors in the business and an in-depth story mode covering the original title all the way up to the current one. The question is, will Phantom Breaker: Omnia be the first title in the series to bring in a western fanbase and catch on to the mainstream? Or will it be a another fighting game that’s left to the hardcore? We’re going to find out in this review!
The plot of Phantom Breaker: Omnia centers around a mysterious man known as Phantom who gathers together the cast of fighters with the promise of granting them any one wish that they will want. Those who are enticed by this ( and those dragged in by fate) go on to be known as Duelists and are granted magical weapons allowing them to amass power to fight against one another. Unfortunately, the wish granting power of Phantom happens to bend the laws of reality and dimensions and are signs of more sinister schemes being in place leading to those who are seeking to have their wishes granted, those who are wanting to be free of the machinations of Phantom, and those who are secretly working for Phantom.
Phantom Breaker: Omnia is the 3rd entry in the series which is itself both a continuation of and a collection/recap of the previous Japan-only entries as it gives you every character from all the previous entries along with Artifactor and Maestra. Each of the characters are rebalanced and retooled with the mechanics being overhauled. There are remixes of the soundtracks with the original tracks being readily available as well.
I Phantom Breaker: Omnia on PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 & 5 and the experience was the same across the board with silky smooth gameplay, a locked 60FPS, and detailed characters and backgrounds. It’s no Guilty Gear Strive or KOF XV but its still a great looking fighting game
The cast of fighters in this game consist of primarily magical girls with giant swords and or weapons with many having gothic lolita looks like Mikoto who is the main character and is your primary Shoto-like character that has your traditional projectile, rushdown, and rising uppercut like attack. Mikoto has an alternate version of herself with blonde hair and a white dress and also Maestra who plays just like her as well. These characters have varying stats such as Shiro-Mikoto having only one form to select and being a powerhouse that’s slower than Mikoto and Maestra being much faster but substantially weaker than Mikoto. You have your rushdown fighters, zoners, range fighters, and mix-up fighters and more. You have the singer and idol character Mei who utilizes a wand and is able to attack from a distance and control the range of battle and zone you out and then you have fighters like Cocoa who utilizes a deadly giant hand that allows hr to do a barrage of strikes and slashes that are easy to put into combos. You’ll even find characters from Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate such as Rimi and Kirisu.
One of the things I really enjoy about the gameplay is the simplicity of it with you having a 4-button setup. You have a weak, medium, and heavy attack along with a special attack button that doubles as a counter button allowing you to perform what’s called a burst counter which allows you to absorb attacks and then punish them with a incredibly damaging attack. If you hold down the special attack button while doing a Burst Counter then you’ll do a massively damaging attack that can do upwards of 50% damage. Special attacks are done by pressing the button in combination of pressing left, right, or down with up + special attack being a jumping variation of one of the special attacks. Combos are done typically by pressing attack buttons in ascending power order and finishing a combo with a special attack. You can also do Super or EX Special Attacks by holding down the left back shoulder button and pressing the special attack button and a directional input.
Styles are what really set this apart from the previous entries as you have one of 3 different styles to pick from being Quick, Hard, and Omnia. Each of the styles changes dramatically how you fighter plays; for example, Hard gives you super armor and higher health with the cost of losing access to light and medium auto combos while Quick gives you what’s called a Slip Shift dodging ability and gives you access to the light and medium auto combos. Omnia is the middle ground between the two giving you access to all the abilities and auto combos with the drawback of having fewer defensive options and also replacing your Phantom Breaker technique with an All-Range Attack that fires off a homing projectile that every character will share. Not every character gets the benefit of utilizing all 3 styles and many do have substantially better usages for certain styles over others and thus gives the game and each character a lot of replayability and versatility.
Outside of the combat, Phantom Breaker: Omnia offers a good amount of additional content, there’s your standard VS mode to play against other players or the CPU, Arcade Mode where you fight through a series of combatants, Survival Mode, Time Attack, Score Attack, Training Mode, and Online Modes. Due to when this review was made during the embargo period, I couldn’t play online with many other players, but what I will say is that the online when I did get matches was fairly good although I’m unsure if it was utilizing delay based as it doesn’t have rollback netcode.
With this being the first entry in the series to release in the west and being both a collection and continuation of the series, Phantom Breaker: Omnia is an excellent anime fighting game and one that I recommend for both fighting game vets and especially those looking to get into fighting games with its simple controls and easy to learn yet difficult to master mechanics. The voice acting for characters is superbly done and the cast of characters are really interesting and a lot of fun to learn their play styles and back stories. If you’re looking for a new fighting game to dive into or your fist fighting game, then Phantom Breaker: Omnia should be at the top of your list!