Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle Playtest – Prinny Meets Phantom

By Jenni . March 7, 2011 . 1:08pm

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If you’ve never visited Ivoire or missed the extra episode with Dark Marona, NIS America’s giving you another chance. Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle, the PSP incarnation of Phantom Brave that includes all of the content from the Wii port Phantom Brave: We Meet Again, plus a little more.

 

Let’s start at the beginning for players who haven’t played Phantom Brave before. Marona is the only living person on Phantom Isle. That doesn’t mean she’s alone though. She’s a Chroma and has the ability to see phantoms like Ash, who was formerly a Chroma alongside her deceased parents. Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle begins with the two taking on some odd jobs so they can earn enough money to purchase the island home from their landlord.

 

Unfortunately, while people are willing to hire Marona, they aren’t willing to associate with her. They’re afraid of the power she wields and the phantoms that accompany her. While Ash is her dearest friend, she has very few living people she can consider friends. Also, the Chroma Oxide Walnut seems determined to steal her bounties and take the credit, so she ends up with nothing.

 

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While Phantom Brave sounds melancholy, it’s story is quite heartwarming. NIS America’s translation is wonderful. Marona’s situation isn’t pleasant, but it does improve and she eventually make friends, her first being Castile. Plus, her special powers could prove key in saving Ivoire from Sulphur.

 

There’s an additional scenario in Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle, which was originally created for Phantom Brave: We Meet Again on Wii. It presents an alternate storyline where darkness ravaged Ivoire already, with Marona being the only survivor. Marona and Ash don’t realize this though, until phantom versions of the most powerful beings on Ivoire, like Raphael, Walnut, Sprout and Bijou come and tell her what happened. She then sets out with her party and Carona, Marona from another dimension, to save Ivoire.

 

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle requires a bit more thought than the typical strategic RPG. First, you don’t just summon units and let them fight until every opponent is cleared off the map. Marona is the only person is alive, so she initially comes to a battle alone. She then summons her phantom friends, confining them to items on the map so they can temporarily have a corporeal body and fight for her. You have to be careful who you summon and attach to certain items, since the rocks, plants and weapons on the field all have certain traits and properties, perhaps even protection statuses. For example, summoning a mage and having it possess a rock isn’t very bright. You’d do better to attach it to a flower or clump of grass.

 

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You also have to be careful when moving. Phantom Brave throws away the grid. Each character has a circular area in which he or she can move. So you can move anywhere within that circle. Terrain elements (height or slickness, for example) could influence movement range as well. You could intend for a character to move next to an enemy to attack, but if the ground is slick, he or she could slide right past. Perhaps even off the map, resulting in an O.B. (out of bounds) and death for the character.

 

Leveling up is key. Marona creates phantoms on her home, Phantom Isle. Your first task is to try and have her summon fighters with good titles and traits. Then, you want to make good use of the Blacksmith and Dungeon Monk to make sure equipment has good abilities and is strong and to generate random dungeons to explore and level up in.

 

If there’s one thing NIS knows how to handle, it’s ports. Given how many times we’ve seen Disgaea, it’s practically second nature. So Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle loses nothing in the translation. The audio, visuals, control and gameplay all feel exactly like they did when the game was Phantom Brave (PS2) or Phantom Brave: We Meet Again (Wii). I think it actually looks best on the portable. The widescreen presentation suits the event scenes. I also preferred the PSP controls to the Wii controls, since it was pretty much identical to the original PS2 release. Plus, the Another Marona scenario uses all the same voice actors from the original game.

 

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NIS America also had a bit of consideration for PSP owners when they released Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle. They must realize that the people picking it up would be repeat buyers, so the PSP port starts out at the bargain price of $19.99, instead of $29.99 like the Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness and Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days. It’s a nice gesture, and I’m sure it’ll help encourage people to download or pick up a UMD.

 

The PSP port of Phantom Brave‘s newest editions are more characters. They’re all iconic, and I’m sure NISA fans will enjoy seeing them. You may run across Asagi, the perpetual NIS bonus character, Zetta (Makai Kingdom), Hero Prinny (Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?), Unlosing Ranger (Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman) and Castile, who’s been limited to a Phantom Brave NPC position until now.

 

Phantom Brave is a familiar face to Siliconera readers. After seven years, we’re all familiar with the plight Ivoire and the effect one young Chroma named Marona has on it. It’s a classic, strategic RPG with a presentation that almost comes across like an anime series with lovable characters. If you haven’t played Phantom Brave since the original PS2 release and have fond memories of it, or never played the game at all, then you should definitely look at Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle.

 

Food for Thought

  • With all these PSP ports, I wonder if we’ll ever see a portable version of Soul Nomad or Makai Kingdom. (I’d really love to play Soul Nomad on the go!)
  • As nice as the Wii version of Phantom Brave was, the game seems to fit better as a portable adventure.
  • It’s handy that, unlike other NIS PSP ports, you don’t have to unlock the Another Marona scenario. It’s in the main menu at the start.
  • Considering all the voice acting, I was surprised that Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle was only just over a 500mb download.

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  • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

    I guess Ill get it from the PSN, after I run through zhp, psn so I can have it to play on the ngp.

    How is the music in comparison to Disgaea?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicolai-Grude/1117146030 Nicolai Grude

      “Running” through ZHP takes like 50 hours, if not more.

      • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

        god, i haven’t even beaten laharl yet T.T

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      the music is great! it upbeat for the most part, exept for a few sad cutscenes(no spoiler xD)

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      The music is very relaxed and lighthearted. Happy, bright and cheerful. It always reminds me of summer, for some reason.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jstack Jon Stachewicz

      This is by far Tenpei Sato’s crowning achievement. Nearly every song is fantastic, with the best of the lot (Strange Wind, The End of This Passionate Feeling, R&R Junkie, Snowberry, My Little Garden and a few others) being his absolute strongest works

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Leafy_Cam Leafhopper

    Just make #2 already lol.

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      yeah, i wanna find out what happened to Ash (he was missing in phantom kingdom.)

  • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

    “With all these PSP ports, I wonder if we’ll ever see a portable version of Soul Nomad or Makai Kingdom. (I’d really love to play Soul Nomad on the go!)”
    Haha, my thoughts exactly! xD

    Not sure about Phantom Brave, I liked the PS2 game, but to buy it again, with no job and a giant amount of awesome games still on the way this year… :/

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      gah! there really is a lot of games on the horizon, so much for me saving money. xD

    • Zero_Destiny

      So I take it Namco-Bandai hasn’t hired you yet? What a shame your plan to buy 200,000 copies of your own game would of sealed the deal with me if I was the job interviewer.

      • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

        Just wait a bit, it’s a long way from Japan to where I live, the mail should come here within this week, then we know more. :D

        • Zero_Destiny

          Wait? You applied to the Japanese branch? You couldn’t just apply to a branch that was more local. I don’t know like maybe one that was in the same country or at least continent as you. lol

          • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

            Pah what’s the fun of doing that? Everythings better at the Japanese branch! That way I would have a lot more to do with Gundam, SRW and Tales too! :D

            That reminds me, Knights Contract is out here, hopefully there will be some reviews to it, as I am actually interested in it. :P

          • Zero_Destiny

            TALES of the Super Robot One Year War. Do it!!! XD

          • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

            Damn, that’s a fantastic idea!! I’m totally going to patent that! That way I can make my name known all over the gaming world with just one game, whahah!(And with buying 200.000 copies of the game myself at first week, the chances for localization will rise too!) xD
            Don’t worry I will add your name in the credits. :P

          • Zero_Destiny

            It better have TURN A and Zeta in it. Or no buy :( lol

          • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

            @ZD
            Who do you think I am?! Turn A and Zeta are first on the list, as if I would make a mech game without them! >:D

            I’m more thinking about the gameplay, should I leave it SRPG style, or should I use the Tales gameplay, would be awesome actually a Super RobotxGundam RPG, with the humour of tales. xD
            Maybe something like Xenogears, just a lot more refined and up to date, lol.

          • Zero_Destiny

            What you do is make it play like a TALES game but then have SUPER BIG BAD@SS Boss battles where everything plays-out on a grandiose scale and is tactical of course. Plus make the mechs part of combo-system in battle. Once you get your combo gauge up you can summon your mechs and jump inside of them and do huge damage, but you have to keep doing combos because once you lose your combo the mechs go away. I’m a genius. XD

          • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

            @ZD
            Ohhh, I totally dig the combo-system, will do it your way then! :D
            When(lol I mean after, naturally~) I’m hired by Namco Bandai, I will ask if you can come along, so that we can combine our skills, you and your awesome game ideas, and me and my super awesome nonexistent supply of money and marketing skills!! Yeah~ xD

          • Zero_Destiny

            I’m looking forward to it. XD

  • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

    i bought the first version, the wii version, and ill be buying this version(ever since the first game i wanted to have castile in my party)

    well played nis for finding a way to make me buy a game 3 times!

  • Klaus00

    Unlocking Unlosing Ranger HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEREEE I COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME!

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      *DROP KICK*!!!!!1!i!
      NO IM GOING TO BE THE MAIN HER- wait… what did you say again? *Asagi looks down at the fallen hero, still twitching on the ground*

  • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

    do you have to wait in tell the end of the game to the new characters? or can you just challenge them?
    or are there requirements to unlock? like for instance beat a 50 floor dungeon at lvl 50 monsters.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      You have to wait to meet special requirements to unlock get the extra playable characters, as usual. They aren’t initially available or anything.

      • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

        i couldn’t enjoy myself if i didn’t earn castile on my own. i’ll find you castile and we shale have cake!

  • http://twitter.com/Linka13 Linka

    I’m getting this tomorrow! Combined with Pokemon White, I’ll have a ton of playing to do!

    I’m looking forward to this port, actually– I have refrained playing the post-game stuff on my Wii version since hearing about the PSP port. The fact that NIS went the extra step by making it a budget title, tossing in some new characters like Asagi and a playable Castille, and making sure nothing was lost in the process is a pretty cool thing in my book.

    I’m hoping that they’ll be doing Soul Nomad next really for the PSP– Makai Kingdom is cool and all, but they really need to remake that game from the ground up. The quality for Makai Kingdom is depressing after playing Phantom Brave. Besides, we need some Gig going on in here.

  • cmurph666

    I forgot this came out today!!

    I’ll be downloading it when the Slaystation(R)Portable Store updates later this evening.

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      what time is that!? i cant confine myself to this plunger forever!

  • http://twitter.com/EdgeKun Ed Powell

    Oh man. I went into massive giggling fits when I saw the most badass-freaking-overlord in the third screenshot. :D

    I share your thoughts 100% Jenni, we need Soul Nomad and Makai Kingdom both on PSP. ;o; (And LP Ragnarok. *bitter*) NIS is showing their SRPGs as taking the porting process rather well, so all the more reason that newer fans should get exposure to their other (and often harder to find) titles!

    I lucked out being able to get Phantom Brave with lotsa extra content this way (my first time purchasing), so I can only hope NIS continues this trend. I’m just fine paying for Makai Kingdom a second time, and picking up Soul Nomad on a more practical (than my PS2 anyway) platform~

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Yeah, their PS2-era games really do port well – especially to the PSP. (I wasn’t as impressed by the DS port of Disgaea.)

    • Ladius

      Soul Nomad on Psp (maybe with new scenarios and battles) would be pure awesomeness, I absolutely LOVE that game *__*

  • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

    I want to buy the PSP port, but I’m a bit overloaded with other games at the moment, but I’ll definitely buy in the future!

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      thats the spirit! buy nis games! (even if its a few months later then planned)

      • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

        I always try to! I bought ZHP, but i still haven’t finished it orz

    • Joanna

      Same~ Especially considering I skipped out on the two previous releases since the first time I played Disgaea, I didn’t like it much, but when I tried it again some time later, it really grew on me. So now I’m much more open to NIS SRPGs. Plus, I think NIS’s SRPGs are prefect for portables. (They are such massive time sinks and I can’t find the time for long sessions on the tv, but handhelds with short burst, like 30 min to an hour here and there I can squeeze in). I need to pick up all the back catalogue NISA PSP games now that I have a PSP. xD

      • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

        Yeah XD I definitely prefer NIS SRPGs on handheld, it’s grinding on the go!

  • Natat

    I reeeeeally want Soul Nomad Portable, make it happen NIS!
    Also, I think I’m gonna get this, I have really fond memories of this game, and then there’s the very early in-game desire to commit genocide on an entire island…

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      i never played soul of nomad, am i missing out? my friend has it and likes it.

      • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

        You absolutely do, Soul Nomad is an awesome game, and there can never be enough Asagi! xD

        • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

          i do have new respect for asagi after playing prinny 2(though she could have been nicer to the doll asagi, and the little beetle asagi)
          i will hope that a psp(or ngp/psp2) copy gets released of phantom kingdom, makai wars, and soul of nomad.

          • https://twitter.com/RaiohV ShinkaRaioh

            That’s showbiz, there can only be one person(or in this case Asagi) in the spotlight. xD
            Yeah, a NGP port of them would be great. :D

      • Natat

        Soul Nomad is amazing, hilarious, and oh my god some of the twists it has…
        If you can, I recommend 200% you play it, seriously.

      • http://twitter.com/Linka13 Linka

        It’s a very good game, and has great production values despite the flat playing areas– the story is good, the characters are memorable, and the music is magnificent. It’s more serious though than the normal NIS fare, and definitely more liberal in language, but it’s worth at least one playthrough.

        Also Gig is just amazing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ex-Detsu/100001670613988 Ex Detsu

    So, Japanese voices in or out?

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      thats a good question! im guessing it is. they had them for the wii port, why not the psp one as well?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ex-Detsu/100001670613988 Ex Detsu

        I hope you’re right, but “no room” has been previously cited as an excuse to exclude dual audio on PSP releases, so I am forever wary.

        • amagidyne

          Remember that this is NISA we’re talking about. If there’s dual audio on ZHP and the Disgaea ports, I don’t see why this wouldn’t.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ex-Detsu/100001670613988 Ex Detsu

            Because there wasn’t dual audio on Prinny Hero. Trust: shattered.

          • amagidyne

            I realize this was more than a week ago, but I was right. It does have dual audio.

            Oh yeah.

    • http://twitter.com/Linka13 Linka

      I can confirm right now that there IS a voice language option, yes, for English and Japanese.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ex-Detsu/100001670613988 Ex Detsu

        Thank you sir, I can now purchase with confidence.

  • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

    lol @Jenni, i enjoyed the second picture, your marona must have been a demon in strength in that picture.

  • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

    ok, i guess i missed out O.O
    how could i turn down such an appealing argument. (good story, asagi in the mix) i just can imagine these twist(probably nis characters from other games popping up in the story.)

  • http://twitter.com/mintypixel Daniel Delacruz

    love this game. I spent a whole summer, 200+ hours, playing it. my mom came in a couple of times and saw me playing it, and one time she goes “wow, you still haven’t beat that game?” lol

    btw, are we getting Pringer X

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      there are challenges above that. i think it goes up to pringer xxx(or something like that)

  • kyuketsukimiyu

    I am a lot more likely to pick this game up now. I just prefer my SRPGs to be portable, and $20 is a price that is hard to argue with.

    • http://twitter.com/ZonronSekai Zonron

      welcome to the horde!

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com/ SoulArbiter

    Nice review. I’ll pick this up. It’s now on my “things-to-pick-up list”.

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