Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle is a PSP port of the 2004 PS2 game Phantom Brave which was later ported to the Wii as Phantom Brave: We Meet Again. Phantom Brave is a tactical RPG in which you take the role of Marona. Marona has special powers which allows her to control beings called Phantoms in battle. Each Phantom has their own special abilities and as time goes, Marona is able to summon even more powerful Phantoms. For those of you who have played the game think of it as an update, but is this update worth $20?
As stated before you take the role of Marona. She is an orphan who lost her parents several years ago. Now Marona lives with a Phantom named Ash who looks after her. In the beginning of the game you are driven through some painful but important tutorials which will teach you the battle system. Skip this tutorial and you might as well throw the game away. However, there is a mode for people who have completed the game in which no tutorials are played but for the rest of us get ready to be confused. In the beginning you are introduced to the battle system and how everything works. In order to summon Phantoms you must use confine and you must confine them to such items as: Trees, Rocks, Flowers and grass. Each item gives a special power to certain character which allows them to grow stronger. The same ability is also given to enemies and at times can use such items as protection cutting your attacks by a certain number until said item is destroyed.
The Phantoms also have the ability to pick up items and use it to their advantage. You can pick up a sword which gives your character a new special ability or you can pick up rocks and hurl them to your enemies. As you continue the story you can unlock even more characters and can summon up to 14 Phantoms into battle at once. A new addition to The Bermuda Triangle is the addition of several Phantoms from NIS’s other games. These characters are: Etna, Lahar, Flonne, Mid-Boss, Myao and Baal. Phantom Brave is a tactical RPG but uses a different system than the old style Grid system. In the beginning you are given a certain distance to travel and you can freely move anyway you want to.
During battle there are a few things to keep in mind. One is that a player can now fall off the map if they are bumped so regardless of how precious that sword at the edge of the screen is you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. There are also times when you are fighting against an enemy that just keeps coming. If there are 2 enemies on the screen and are defeated that doesn’t mean the battle is over.
When not in battle, Marona can return to her home where Phantoms take the role of NPC’s. Marona can use the Phantoms special abilities to heal, purchase items or fuse characters with other characters, characters with items or items with other items. There are plenty of customizable options for you characters as well including weapons and armor.
The story is told via 2D cutscenes in which the characters move behind a 2D and sometimes a 3D background. At times you will see the characters express their reaction in a comical way which brings some comic relief. Phantom Brave does feature a voice cast which adds more to the game than people think however most of the time this is only through cutscenes so you will find yourself reading some dialog.
The Music is not the greatest but at times it can be catchy. However for a few of the songs in the soundtrack you’ll be lucky if your ears start bleeding as your body is trying to do you a favor and tell you to turn the music down. That’s not saying the whole game is like that, there are exceptions with a lot of the songs and battle theme music.
There is a lot to do here in The Hermuda Triangle that should keep you entertained for weeks if you manage to get past the battle system which I have to admit is confusing at times. Of course practice makes perfect but this will definitely put off some players specially the new ones coming to the scene. As for the old veterans of the PS2 and Wii version, if you haven’t played it in a long time the newest additions are a welcoming gift. Of course it is $20 so this title is definitely worth the purchase if you have a PSP.
Phantom Brave for the PSP may be a port from the PS2 and Wii version but it is a nice port with a few additions. The only problem is that Phantom Brave for the Wii Version is the same price as the PSP version so you must decide if you want to play it at home or if you want to play it on the go. Of course on the PSP the graphics look much sharper than playing on the Wii on an HDTV which looks blurry. If you are an avid PSP user then Phantom Brave is worth checking out.
GamePlay: Trial and Error is a must in this game as the battle system can be confusing in the beginning. 7/10
Graphics: 2D on a 3D background with some nice camera work and detailed characters with comical expressions. 9/10
Sound: Decent soundtrack with great decent voice acting though some songs can get annoying. 7/10
Story: A great story with lots of humor that will have you laughing like a maniac on the subway on your way to work. 8/10
Life Span: Customizable characters, power ups, 14 player battles and a long story will keep you entertained for weeks to come. 9/10
Total Score: 80/100