The original Phantom Breaker was scheduled for US release on Xbox 360 in 2012 by way of 7Sixty Games. While it was never released, I was sent a review copy of the game. It was not a pleasant experience. Aside from being incredibly slow, certain attacks didn’t quite work properly, and the localization in place seemed very machine-translated.
Phantom Breaker: Extra looks to fix some of those issues, particularly the speed. The franchise’s four-button setup returns. You have light, medium, and heavy attack buttons (on X, Y, and B on the Xbox controller) accompanied by a special button (on A).
This button works a bit like B in Smash Bros. It has different special attacks mapped to the button and each direction. According to producer Masaki Sakari, this is to allow beginner players to focus on the systems at work so they can be a match for more experienced players, or alternately, so both could enjoy themselves. Apparently this gambit worked (or he was just being gracious), because I won my match against him using new character Ende, a young girl who brings a giant robotic hand that she uses as a chair into battle with her.
While her lighter attacks were pretty quick, most of Ende’s heavy attacks involved her smacking her opponent with that giant hand of hers. I quickly grew fond of how her forward and B attack put her robotic hand in front of her (which had super armor on it) and fired a laser at my enemy.
Of course, I was given three options for how she could play: Quick, Hard, and Extra. Quick, true to its name, allows you to run (by double tapping forward) , dodge attacks with a well-timed forward tap of the stick (or d-pad), and press all four buttons simultaneously (when you have enough meter) to activate Overdrive and slow down your enemy to wail on them with an extended combo. Hard is a bit slower, with your run replaced by a forward dash, your dodge becomes a parry, and Overdrive still slows down your opponent, but your attacks do more damage instead of linking as easily.
New to Phantom Breaker: Extra (naturally), is Extra style. Extra is for those who like the best of both worlds. It’s not a type as much as a toggle. You’ll play in Quick mode until you press all four buttons, and at the end of your combo, you’ll switch to Hard.
This was the style I chose for Ende, and while I was curious to experiment, I found that I preferred using Quick mode, so whenever I was in Hard mode, I’d try to switch forms as soon as possible. Quick mode just made more sense to me, but I could see Extra being advantageous for people who understood the advantages of each type more thoroughly.
Perhaps because of the minimalistic control scheme, a lot of Sakari’s and my attacks of equal strength clashed with each other, cancelling each other out and resulting in a flash. With each clash, the “Tension Gauge” at the top of the screen filled. When it hit max, there was a length of time where attacks would do more damage.
Naturally, this was an optimal time for me to slow Sakari down for a combo (I was in Extra’s Quick mode at the time), so I jumped in, started bashing him with Ende’s giant robotic hand and took the match.