Review: Phantom Breaker Extra (Import)
Phantom Breaker Extra is a 2D fighter by Japanese developer 5pb. Whilst at a glance similar to the likes of BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, it doesn’t take long to realise that this game fails to match the quality I’d almost began to expect as a standard for the genre. In fact, 5pb’s latest title reminds us that Arc System Works have been spoiling us with fighting games these last few years, and Phantom Breaker Extra is both underwhelming and unenjoyable.
Whilst fairly profilic in Japan, almost none of 5pb’s work has been released in the West. If you know them it’s likely for Steins;Gate, the excellent visual novel that has received a fan translation as well as an officially translated anime. Unfortunately, being able to make a great visual novel clearly doesn’t automatically mean you can make a great fighting game, and aside from a nice cameo from Steins;Gate‘s Makise Kurisu there’s pretty much nothing I liked about Phantom Breaker Extra.
Put simply, it looks bad and isn’t fun to play. It’s mechanically basic, the animation isn’t smooth, and the 3D backgrounds look like they belong on the PlayStation 2. Whilst the characters themselves appear interesting enough on the player select screen, they don’t look that great once you’ve selected them, and aren’t fun to use. If you’re use to the high quality experience something like BlazBlue delivers, then you’ll be disappointed by what Phantom Breaker Extra has to offer.
For those looking to import (why?), the menus are all in English which is great, and especially useful for changing important settings such as difficulty. But this is a bad game, and most of the alternatives are in English anyway. Then there’s the story mode, which basically consists of a series of single battles, and the dialogue here is entirely Japanese. However, fighting games aren’t often known for their compelling stoies, and based on Phantom Breaker Extra’s performance in other categories, I doubt that I missed out on anything even remotely interesting.
Also the interface is hideous, the soundtrack sucks, and every time you knock out a female character (which is most of the time as the female to male ratio is 8:1) she makes an incredibly distressing high pitched scream. Little things like this made me dislike the game, but it’s the fact that absolutely nothing redeems it that left me feeling so underwhelmed by Phantom Breaker Extra.