Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle Review (PSP)

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NIS America brings us the third incarnation of this phenomenal series. Phantom Brave made its debut originally for the Playstation 2. Its next release Phantom Brave: we meet again was for the Nintendo Wii and now the last remake has arrived to PSP.
This game keeps the visual style we all love from NIS, a veteran game comes to our portables. Phantom Brave includes all the improvements made for the Wii release plus new content. The game includes cameos of known characters from games like Disgaea and 5 new heroes.


Story
Welcome to the land of Ivoire, a magical world full of adventure. You play as a girl named Marona and her Phantom (ghost) companion Ash whom she can see because of her ability known as “Chartreuse Gale”. Her other skill “Confine”, summons and binds Phantoms to objects that aid her in battle (or domestic chores?)
Tragically Marona’s parents died at the hands of the evil Sulphur when she was a young girl. Marona’s parents and Ash were all Chroma (type of bounty hunter). In a last effort her mortally wounded parents try to save Ash with their power, this results in ash becoming a Phantom form and now he protects Marona from evil.
Now a 13 year old Marona and Ash along with new friends must face this evil once more time!

Nice cutins with interesting storyline


Gameplay
Phantom Brave is a tactical RPG with a 3D overview, the style of the scenery is very similar to other games from the company. But the game is distinguished from other NIS titles as it doesn’t have a grid to move around the map. This brings more liberty to move around and place your characters for the fights. The downside is that it also brings some problems like releasing an attack in the wrong direction.

Every fight starts with Marona as your only character, so you must start binding ghosts to objects on the map to form your party.
It is common to be able to lift allies and enemies in other titles from the company. In Phantom Brave you can lift almost anything, rocks, flowers, you name it! All this is more than a novelty as you can bind ghosts to inanimate objects, so lifting stuff plays a more important role in your strategy this time.
If a ghost is defeated by the enemy, it cannot be summoned during that fight again. Learning how and what to bind is important. Some ghost will have advantages, if they are binded to a rock, a flower or different objects, so be wise planning your moves and strategy, also Marona. She is not a strong character (a child after all) so be careful and protect her, she can summon ghosts but cant be used as a frontline attacker.

Phantom Island, a place to rest between the fights!


One peculiarity is the island where you live, because there are different characters who act as merchants and other NPC’s that will help in several ways.
In addition you can decorate the island to your liking with different items, oh and god knows i’m a sucker for things like this! (like my Pokemon base or my mog house in FFXI!)

Something NIS usually includes in their games are the cameos, Phantom Brave is no exception! Known and beloved characters from Disgaea are present in the game; Laharl, Flonne and Etna just to name a few.

Release powerful attacks (as usual amazing FX!)


But that is not all, the PSP release includes 5 new heroes coming to the world of Ivoire to vanquish the evil forces! These include: Victory Unlosing Ranger from Zettai Hero Project, Hero Prinny from Prinny 2, Lord Zeta from Makai Kingdom and more!

Music is something Nippon Ichi Software games excel at. Latin like rhythms, jazz and rock. The music in Phantom Brave matches perfectly with the game, uh I’d give anything to have the japanese sountrack >w< Want more? Phantom Brave comes with more extras like the Dark Marona scenario, this and the tweaks done for the portable adds a nice replay value.

Strategy, the key to victory!


Overall
Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle is one of those dungeon crawlers, with the very unique style only Nippon Ichi Software delivers. Comedy, colorful scenarios, pleasant story and music for many hours of fun.

I think Phantom Brave is a title that fans from Disgaea 1&2 will enjoy the most. The lack of grid has pros and cons and it may not be liked by some fans of previous games. Overall this is a nice classic and it’s good to have it back with new extras to please the players.

We give the game a 8.5 out of 10!

~Mario