Phantom Breaker: Omnia
Developer: Gameloop, MAGES
Publisher: Rocket Panda Games
Genre(s): Arcade, Fighting
Platform: PlayStation 4
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 14/3/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Phantom Breaker: Omnia is an anime two-dimensional fighting game that focuses on simplicity and fast-paced gameplay. This title also features a story mode that ties together the characters. Does the gameplay and story elements come together to make a lovely package? Or was I looking for something else? Find out in this Rapid Review.
To start my experience with this title, I went straight into fighting a computer-controlled character in Versus mode. Everything worked perfectly. I was able to select my character, select the character for my opponent, and begin fighting with no technical issues. Though everything worked perfectly, I did not know everything there was to know about the game, as it was my first match. Even without learning the mechanics, I had fun figuring out different strategies from what I experienced.
The Grind is On
After a few matches, I headed into the training section to learn more about all Phantom Breaker: Omnia has to offer. Though it was a solid start to understanding how the game worked, it lacked the in-depth training options provided in Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown or Mortal Kombat 11. Instead, the mechanics are far simpler. There are no moves that require advanced button inputs. At most, moves will require two buttons. Still, there were a lot of advanced techniques to master in this game. I was disappointed that those were not detailed in a step-by-step interactive tutorial. Instead, there were long text blurbs that detailed all mechanics hidden in the menus. This made learning what the mechanics did less easy, as pictures are less educational. Plus, it made swapping from the tutorial to the training information incredibly time-consuming. Learning the mechanics was overly time-consuming.
Once I learned the mechanics, the game was a lot more fun. The controls were simple, but there were still a lot of inputs I could perform, and I always felt in control of my character. Despite the roster looking very basic, each of the twenty characters had a unique playstyle, and all of them had individual strengths and weaknesses. They even had unique statistics and options that altered these statistics, further differentiating themselves as members of the cast. Despite the innate simplicity of the game, I thought the character designs and move sets offered enough variety to keep me entertained.
Fighting for a Reason
With so many character options, I was eagerly awaiting the various areas in the game to make them shine. Phantom Breaker: Omnia featured a plethora of modes for me to explore in addition to the Versus mode. I competed in a Score Attack, bested foes in an Arcade Mode, and learned lore in a Story Mode. Each of these served their purpose, but most of them simply felt like fighting foes mindlessly. The score attack and arcade mode included brief quotes between fights that detail some of the interpersonal relationships but were largely broad. The story mode was the only game mode with substantial lore, but even then, it was not an incredible adventure.
In all honesty, I was disappointed by the story in Phantom Breaker: Omnia. A mysterious character named Phantom incentivizes characters to fight by granting them their very own wish. This is an interesting premise, and I was excited to see how the story unfolded. Unfortunately, every interaction blended, and though the characters had interesting desires and struggles, their personalities would rarely show, and many of the interactions felt anticlimactic. This was compounded by how almost any time any dialogue entered the screen, there was a corresponding fight. The story only focused on things that progressed the gameplay which for some may be exciting, but to me, this made the characters lack the personality and wholeness that a story mode provides.
Moreover, many of the encounters are seen multiple times, as many characters have their own storylines to pursue. This was reminiscent of Piofiore: Fated Memories in how characters would experience slightly different events depending on which character they were playing as. However, since the storyline did not have many gripping moments, revisiting them felt tedious. The story mode was repetitive and underwhelming.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Additionally, the menu was difficult to navigate. I struggled to find difficulty settings, the tutorials, and connect a new controller. The options for the computer-controlled characters are buried deep in options in a completely different menu option from the actual combat. While this makes it easier for settings to be auto-saved, it is not immediately clear where to adjust these options or whether they could be adjusted at all. I encountered a similar issue when trying the local versus mode. After I turned on the controller, I needed to press the options button to register it to the game. However, there was no on-screen indication, so I was confused and could not get it working initially. Even the tutorials are in an odd location. Instead of being in the training tab, they are placed under Game Reference. It was hard to find what I needed on these menus.
Still, most of the assets in the game looked good. The character models and animations were expressive, there were alternate costumes to select from, and the stages were distinct and pretty. The visual designs were nothing that blew me out of the water, but they were more than enough to keep me playing.
The sound effects on the other hand were less enjoyable. Many of the characters had high pitched squeaky voices and they would constantly be screaming as the games went on. This quickly got frustrating, and while the music was fine, my audio experience was underwhelming. This can be turned off in settings though, so it was not the end of the world.
Overall, I did enjoy Phantom Breaker: Omnia. I was confused in the beginning, but as I found my footing, I began to enjoy the fast-paced gameplay. Unfortunately, at the price point, I was looking for a more substantial experience both in terms of story and lore design that I simply did not get here. I was not attached to the characters, and outside of gameplay, most felt similar. Regardless, this title has a lot of good elements and is a blast when playing in the local Versus mode.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Phantom Breaker: Omnia on the PlayStation Store here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.