Phantom Breaker: Omnia Review – Quantity Over Quality

    Title: Phantom Breaker Omnia
    Developer: Rocket Panda Games
    Release Date: March 15, 2022
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: MAGES
    Genre: Anime Fighter

Phantom Breaker is an anime fighting game developed by MAGES, originally for Xbox 360 in 2011, then arcades in 2013, and then updated slightly and released on the PS3 the same year. If the company name rings a bell to you, it’s probably due to MAGES focusing on visual novels, such as the Science Adventure games like Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes. None of which are fighting games.

However, I am a big fan of those visual novels and have wanted to play this game for ages because of the inclusion of two characters from those games. It seemed destined not to be due to its Japanese only release, but suddenly, Rocket Panda Games thought an updated re-release in 2022 was a good time to bring it to modern consoles under the name Phantom Breaker Omnia. I’m not complaining.

Phantom Breaker: Omnia is a fighting game with a story that fits the anime crossover fighting game mold. The two crossover characters who are here, have no relevance to it. An evil dude named Phantom gives a bunch of random people superpowers and then orchestrates a series of duels across the city between these people to open some sort of rift between dimensions for evil bad guy reasons. Take over or destroy the world, I literally cannot remember, it’s that unimportant.

You play through individual character stories that have your character run into others, fight, move on, fight again, then you take on the obligatory character route final boss and do it all over again. And it’s fully dubbed too, the direction is marvelous and I love how cheesy everything is.

You can switch back to JP voices if you’re cringe though. When I say fully dubbed, I mean everything, the opening and credits songs are dubbed too and they’re fantastic. There are also tons of new visuals and art that look great. The entire soundtrack, which was already really good, has been remixed, so it’s now even better.

ChaosHead Noah

However, they didn’t really update the look of the game, or the game itself, for that matter. Phantom Breaker Omnia is a 2d fighter with directional inputs, no motion inputs, and a very simple control scheme that would make it really easy to pick up.

It’s a 4 button fighter with light, medium, heavy and special attacks, with a meter being used to perform a more powerful special attack, a super move, an emergency burst or clock up, a direct Kamen Rider Kabuto reference in which you mash a bunch of buttons for absurdly quick attack strings.

There’s a lack of quality options such as the game’s tutorial requiring you to read through multiple in-game PDF files, as opposed to modern interactive tutorials which teach you moves by having you use them, and you can’t actually check your moveset in-game. Also, considering how little meter you have, the emergency burst shouldn’t take any of it, that should be on its own counter.

Phantom Breaker Omnia 10

There are three different ‘styles’ per character, similar to Melty Blood’s actress again’s moon phases. They are Quick, Hard, and Omnia. Quick lowers your stats and allows combos with more finesse, Hard makes moves deal more damage and sometimes grants extra super armor, but leaves you more open after attacks.

Omnia is a blend that prevents you from using more technical mechanics, for a raw power boost. You also have a different super per style. I practically only used Quick though, because I found it most enjoyable but I also got used to it more quickly as the story locks you into quick for half the cast.

Phantom Breaker Omnia 3

Animations are janky, and attacks rarely seem like they flow smoothly into one another, even when canceled into. The hit markers and sound effects make the moves feel like they have some weight, but they aren’t enough to fix the animation problem. Especially since some of the character sprites look really aged and outdated in a way that makes them clash horribly with other characters in the same game.

Phantom Breaker Omnia 11

Phantom Breaker: Omnia is a cacophonic mess, and if you’ve got local friends and want to play a janky anime fighter, then this is literally the best game of all time. The lack of basic quality-of-life additions found in modern fighting games, as well as aged and clashy sprite work almost feels lazy when every other addition improves the experience. It makes me question why the game wasn’t rebuilt entirely to start. The only way this game is remotely feasible online is through using Parsec on PC, as the game will not be getting rollback netcode.

Despite all of this, I really enjoyed the game and had a total blast playing. Probably due in part to being able to play as some of my favorite fictional characters and I hope I’ll be able to play it with some friends down the line, as well as 100% the title. But I think I’m going to be one hell of an outlier with this experience.

Score:
6/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jacob Kavanagh

Staff Writer - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter