|Dev: Nippon Ichi|
|Pub: NIS America|
|Release: March 8, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p||Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol|
In addition to the unique confine summoning system, Phantom Brave also uses a unique movement system. Though the norm in the SPRG genre is to use a grid-based system, Phantom Brave uses a free-movement system where characters can plot any course they want as long as it falls within a certain range of steps. This allows you to throw location-based tactics on the back burner (getting to a certain grid is no longer the object), and instead focus on positioning yourself contextually within the battlefield. Your attack range and effectiveness can all be augmented in-battle, so moving around with precision becomes a less pressing facet of the gameplay, and you can focus on what's really important: attacking!
The battle system is certainly unique, and it's hard to believe that it still feels new and unique after all these years. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the game's visuals. The game looks old, even on the PSP, and the low-res sprites, bland backgrounds, and lifeless battle environments make this one title that isn't easy on the eyes. Still, if you can get past the antiquated visuals, the game does have some decent production values when it comes to sound. Both the music and the voice overs are extremely well done, and though there is no new content, this is one old element of the game that stands up against its age.
Another facet of Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle that stands the test of time is the play value. Though the story progression is strictly linear, the game has enough content to last at least fifty hours, and the time spent playing and replaying battles for experience pushes the number up even higher. The play value here is incredibly high for a portable title, and if you do pick up Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle, don't expect to put it down any time soon.
This game isn't going to be for everyone. As it is, the SRPG genre is incredibly niche, and the fact that this is the third release of a nearly identical game in the last decade, re-selling this game to longtime fans could be tough. However, if you fall into that small percentage of gamers that love the SRPG genre, but missed this game the first two times around, you will love this new-to-you release. However, if you have played either of the previous versions, you probably won't get too much enjoyment out of this PSP port. And now that we have three re-releases, would it be too much to ask Nippon Ichi for a sequel?
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer