By Jenni . September 2, 2009 . 2:00pm
Phantom Brave: We Meet Again‘s bonus scenario, Another Marona, has a fairly abrupt start. Just as we’re hearing Sienna’s narration about Marona and Ash’s life on their own little island, we’re told that suddenly everybody died.
A dark force has descended on Ivoire, and it seems that the second the darkness spread over the land, it also killed almost everyone. It seems Marona is still just fine, and her and Ash didn’t even realize what happened. Well, they didn’t realize until the phantom versions of Sprout, Raphael, Walnut, Bijou and a few other characters that may be familiar show up on the island to tell her what’s happened and ask for her assistance to investigate. Sprout is the only one who managed to see a hint of something before he died, and he insists that Sulpher is behind it all. So Marona and all her new phantom friends set off to investigate what’s happening and save Ivoire.
You don’t get introduced to Carona, the other, dark Marona, right away. I’m sure that’s the one thing everyone’s wondering. She initially follows you around as a mysterious figure before you finally find out her story and what she’s up to in Ivoire. What I liked is that this additional story and tale felt fresh and like it added substantial, additional material to the game.
If you decide to jump into Another Marona, be aware that it is more difficult than the main Phantom Brave storyline and you have to really think critically to survive. You start with all of your characters at level one, with no items and such and, while all of the opponents are at similar levels, I still felt out numbered and under-powered on the first map. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I had to replay the first map three times before I finally beat it.
Thankfully Sprout’s a powerhouse and helped me pull through until I got my bearings once again. The Dungeon Monk isn’t around for a while, so you have to replay existing maps to level up. If you’re thinking you’ll get around this problem by playing and completing the main story first, think again. Even if you do play the main storyline before, your characters/levels/items don’t carry over.
However, your Another Marona save data from a completed file can carry over. You’ll get to keep all of the additional phantoms from that extra story (for example, Carona, Sprout, Walnut) for your New Game + file. Once Another Marona has been completed, you have an option of playing Another Marona again with the characters at their new levels, or to start a New Game + for the original Phantom Brave story with all of the Another Marona crew.
Here are a few other things I’ve noticed about One good thing I’ve noticed is that NIS kept all of the original English language voice actors for Another Marona. I really liked the English voice acting in the original Phantom Brave, so I was pleased to see no major changes. Also, equipment is pretty much essential, as the stages in Another Marona don’t seem to have that many items you can confine phantoms to. I found myself using Marona’s weapon.
I’ve found so far that the starting phantoms for the Another Marona tale are a lot of fun to work with, since it gives you the opportunity to utilize characters you wouldn’t normally get to control in the main storyline. For a while, I found Sprout to be the most useful, but all of the new phantom characters have their own merits. And the challenges of Another Marona give you plenty of opportunity to level them up and make them most of them.
If you’ve beaten the Playstation 2 version of Phantom Brave, I highly recommend playing through Phanton Brave: We Meet Again‘s Another Marona mode first. It’s a good way to build up a pretty formidable base army to work with when you replay the main story mode. I can’t wait to finish the Another Marona story this week and then start working on the main storyline again.