The world is covered in a mysterious dust that slowly detiorates your memory away after just being in its presence for only fifteen minutes.
You were found in a somewhat futuristic coffin laying next to someone else. Scouts known as Espers had found your body and brought you back to their small town underground. It’s Espers jobs to scout the surface and find out information on which had happened to the world now covered in the mysterious, memory erasing dust. Now monsters roam the surface, monsters which you must fight to complete certain missions. Now it is time to figure out who you are in this world, and what had happened. Why were you found in a frozen coffin? There has to be reasons why you and the other body in the opposing coffin are still alive.
Go out and explore into the dust. You’re now an Esper.
This game has superios gameplay compared to any other game I have almost ever played. You are always contained within a stage, so it is not as nearly explorable as a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City or something, but the level size is practically perfect. In this game, whether is be online of in scenario mode the main idea is to use your arsenals to complete specific tasks. Whether is be defeating an enemy or boss, saving a life, retrieving information or many other missions. Arsenals contain 30 empty spaces for you to put moves into. You can only use 2 school types per arsenal.
These schools include:
-Psycho- Uses force to move random objects in levels as its base power. Contains psychokinesis and other powerful -medium attacks as its base power.
-Optical- Uses light as its base power. Contains lasers, ect.
-Nature- Uses… nature as its base power. Contains elemental swords, ect.
-Ki- Uses inner strength as its base power.
-Faith- Uses risky skills as its base power. Contains skills like ‘Judge of Anubis’, ect.
But lets get even more technical. Each school contains specific kinds of skills. These include attack, defense, erase, status, special, and environmental. Attack is self explainitory, defense is as well. Erase allows you to erase a certain skill depending on the erase skill you use, to erase an opponents skill. Status skills either enhance your status’ such as speed, throwing accuracy, aura recovery rate as well as degrades your enemies. Environmental skills effect everyone in the stage. Environmental can do such things as cut skill costs by 50% to banning specific kinds of schools attacks for a given time.
In each arsenal you need something called ‘aura’ though. Aura is practically your ammunition. If you have a skill such as ‘bomb’ which costs 3 aura, you need to have atleast captured 3 aura particles by that time, or do so before the match ends. It is confusing, but after awhile you get very used to this system. Aura, like skills, pop randomly into gameplay at your spawn point. You return to your spawn point only if you fall off the level or you or an opponent use a specific skill to do so.
At this spawn point your aura capsules spawn as well, filling 3 designated spawn points. They cannot automatically override each other at these spawn points, so it is your job to manage them as they spawn to pick what attacks/defenses/ect. you want while also accumulating the specific amount of aura needed to use those skills.
Oh yeah, and don’t worry. When you get aura from your spawn points, they increase your level. Your level is just the amount of aura consumed basically. This number cannot go down for no reason unless you use a skill that says if you use it, your aura will decrease, or if an enemy uses one such as ‘Quantum Decay’ which can decrease your aura as well.
So overall, my gameplay conclusion is…
Gameplay Score: 9.5/10
The Good: Very solid and very flexible battles make it more fun and creative, even online.
The Bad: Some extremely minor glitches.
We all know that the games coming out on X-Box 360 outweigh the X-Box games graphics. But Phantom Dust being a decent age by now still to me has great graphics. Especially the awesome cinematics as well. Online gameplay graphics are still as good too, and the destructable environment just makes it all better. I was very impressed with the graphics when I played. I don’t see any graphics glitches at all, though I have heard of a few online but are hard to get to.
Graphic Score: 9/10
The Good: Awesome cinematics in my eyes. Also the destructable environment is something I have always looked for in a game for some reason.
The bad: They aren’t the best graphics either… but they’re damn good.
This is probably my favorite part about the game. I didn’t think ever that I would say that my favorite thing about a game is its compelling and original story besides for a few select games. This game is one of those few by far. The twists in the story are mind boggling, but they still make for a great game. I loved the story so much I replayed story cinemas over and over, which is accessible at the nurses position.
The nurse is at the first room you wake up in next to your buddy Edgar. Both of you have no idea is going on at all, yet you both wake up in this mysterious room with a nurse and another weird guy in a white weird uniform? You can look around the small medicinal room and see that the beds are made of steel, the computers are all tilted and messed up, and sparks are momentarily flying from freehanging wires from the ceiling and walls.
But further into the story you learn that Earth is now inhabited by weird beasts, and a mysterious dust. The mysterious dust aka phantom dust makes you lose your memory after being within its vicinity of 15 minutes. All battles are timed for 15 minutes, whether is be an easy fight, or a huge boss fight.
So, in conclusion…
The Good: It actually felt like it expanded my mind. Something that seemed to meaningless as dust upon the Earth turned into something so advanced and beautiful.
The Bad: Not everyone may like it. Everyone does have different tastes ya know.
Skills: More In Depth
The last thing I would like to talk about in this review besides online play is the skills in general.
-Attack Skills: Attack skills inflict damage on enemies. These skills have ranges; short, medium, and long. These ranges are indicated easiest by the autotargets colors crosshairs. Red is within short distance, orange is within medium distance, and green is within long distance. As long as you have the autotarget on someone and they are far away, it will read green. There are ways to get out of the autolock though like certian skills.
Though attack skills may seem the most necessary, all skills have to work together to be the most effective these can be. Some examples of attack skills are Vacuum Slash of the Nature school, Judge of Anubis of the Faith school, Octolaser by the Optical school, and much, much, much more.
-Defense Skills: Defense helps to eliminate or reduce damage inflicted upon you by other players. There are different kinds of defenses such as Absorbs which help you absorb whether it be health or aura, Brush which pushes a specific skill coming towards you making you safe in most cases, Barrier which blocks infront of the player, Shelter which is exactly like barrier but it covers the players whole body, and Course which usually takes a skill coming at you and sends it back at your opponent. Some exampled of defense skills are Photon Barrier of the Optical school, Psychic Wall of the Psycho school, Minds Eye of the Ki school and much more.
-Status Skills: These skills either enhance your skills or degrade an opponents. With these skills you can enhance your running speed, increase homing accuracy, and even incerase your aura recovery rate. Other skills on the other hand degrade your opponent. Some can flip an opponents stats over from +2 speed to -2 in a heartbeat.
-Erase Skills: These skills are advanced, but their meaning is obvious. With these skills you can erase a persons aura capsule or everyones aura capsules from their spawn points, erase a skill from an opponents hand, decrease an opponents level and so much more.
-Special Skills: These skills are skills that do not fit into any other category basically. Skills such as dash and armaros are in this category. These skills can turn a battle around almost instantly.
-Environment Skills: These skills, such as the famous optimization, effect the whole level and everyone in them.
There are more kinds of skills, but these are the main ones I would like to have talked about.
Here is a small key for aura capsule colors and types:
Red = attack
Dark Blue = defense
Light Blue= environmental
Green = status
Purple = erase
Yellow = special
White = aura particle
Once again, an arsenal contains up to 30 skills which can be a mix of two different schools (until you beat the game atleast), or you can keep it at one school. Do NOT use all your orbs from your arsenal in gameplay. If you drop to 0 orbs left, your life slowly decreases by itself. Try to keep a few unused incase someone decides to erase some capsules you have a backup ready to pop.
Aura comes back over time, you’ll see your level number increase. Some skills have a necessity to have your aura at its full level to use a specific skill like Aura Cannon or Finisher, so be aware of that as well. Also, in order to make a new arsenal you must purchase a new arsenal case at the store. You cannot create your own arsenal as soon as you start scenario mode.. it takes a little while, yet not too long.
This is another spike of greatness. The online system works as either 4 player rooms or 2 player rooms. You can mix games up by doing 2 vs 2 (known as tag team) to free for all. Also, you can change the rules from standard rules to other kinds of premade games. Also, you can change the levels freely in the main lobby. There is headset capability in the main lobby to talk to everyone (as long as you haven’t been muted by them and vise versa), as well as ingame to only your partner in tag team, or to everyone in a battle royal type match.
If it wasn’t for online, I don’t think I would have liked this game nearly as much. Instead of facing AI you face up to 3 real people battling with wits, intellect, timing skills, planning skills, teamwork skills, and so much more. Online can become extremely intense, and I guarentee it does.
Also, if your partner dies ingame in a tag team match, you are able to revive them. Stand over their body and press any of the A, B, X, or Y buttons as if you were to pick up a normal skill capsule. Hit the same button twice to send them back to their spawn point. If you are in a normal battle and you revive them, they will restart at 10 life now, and every time it keeps halfing. I do not believe you can exceed the starting amount after being revived by using skills like healing water or digestion.
Overall, I give online…
Online Score: 10+/10
The Good: Everything. Even the community is pretty nice and helpful.
The Bad: There are some bad people there, like everywhere else in the world. But online there are some ping problems, or atleast I have them. Getting into a game may be hard at times, and creating a successful game is hard as well. But after those minor problems, the game is well worth the effort. My advice is to add as many friends to your list that you can that play Phantom Dust to make it easier to get invited to private games as well as invite friends to self created games.
Overall Phantom Dust is a very great game that is indefinitly capable of blowing away many gamers from the main games of society of today like Halo 2. I even think if more people played this game people would become alot smarter then if they played violent games. Phantom Dust contains no recognizable blood. If more people played Phantom Dust, it would enhance their motor skills even further, as well as timing, teamwork, planning, and management skills. I think everyone should purchase this wonderful game, but it is hard to come by in stores. I suggest ordering it online, or just checking at a GameStop or EB Games near you.
Overall Phantom Dust Rating: ***38.5/40***
I seriously suggest this game to anyone and everyone that comes across it. It is also very cheap, $20 new, and I got mine used for $8 at a GameStop at the mall closest to me. Don’t buy another $50 game, save your extra $30 and get something nice. Spend that $20 on a lifechanging game instead.
But I do warn you, if you do play… I guarentee you get lost in the dust for long playing sessions in which time goes by fast unnoticed.
Happy gaming everyone.
If you have any comments or questions about my article or about Phantom Dust contact me at [email protected] Thank you all.