Phantom Breaker Omnia from Rocket Panda Games was developed by MAGES and is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC right now. We took a look at the PlayStation version.
There’s a pretty good chance you haven’t played Phantom Breaker before, but the game’s actually been around since 2011. Much like some of the BlazBlue games, it’s received several major updates and re-releases since that time, but Omnia is the first version of the game to make it to the West. We had a sampler with the spin-off Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds already, but where that game is a brawler, the main Phantom Breaker games are traditional one on one fighters.
As with BlazBlue, Phantom Breaker uses anime-style visuals, which generally age well. Omnia is no exception, and even though the original release is from the Xbox360 days the visuals still pop because of colorful characters and backdrops, as well as excellent animations. It’s not as rich of an audiovisual spectacle as some of the more recent BlazBlue titles, but Phantom Breaker: Omnia certainly doesn’t look out of place in 2022.
The heart and soul of Phantom Breaker are the three fighting styles you can choose for your character. Quick Style emphasizes agility and is great for pulling off combos if that’s your style, whereas Hard Style gives you more HP at the expense of the number of quick combo moves you can pull off. We call it, for obvious reasons, “tank mode”, but the catch is that you lose (among other things) the ability to double jump.
What Phantom Breaker: Omnia does is introduce a brand new third move – Omnia mode. As you’d perhaps expect, it sits in between both of the existing modes and offers a mix of those two styles, essentially giving players the most neutral option yet. While that seems like a safe option to go with if you haven’t specialized yourself in the Quick of Hard style yet, although the mode also feels like a compromise because it takes away things like the Emergency mode, which lets you get out of a stun quickly.
We recommend starting off with the Omnia mode, as it’s a good introduction to what Phantom Breaker has to offer and a solid stepping stone towards the other two styles. There’s plenty of room to experiment with this as well, because you can select these style for any of the twenty fighters in the game – two of whom are new to Omnia. What’s also nice is that the diversity you have also applies to your enemies – facing a familiar opponent might turn out very different if he/she is using a completely different style than the last time you faced each other. It keeps things fresh and unpredictable for much longer, and 10+ years of balance tweaks makes sure no one style feels overpowered. The only downside to this system? Modifying fighting styles makes characters blend into one another more, making then feel less distinctive and unique without a style to claim as “their own”.
Phantom Breaker: Omnia also features a nice range of (albeit fairly standard) game modes. There’s an arcade mode as well as score and time attack modes, which do exactly what you’d expect. And even thought the game isn’t based on an anime show or anything like that, there’s also a rather substantial story mode to play through. It comes with unique storylines for each of the characters, so unlike fighters with a rather cinematic approach to the campaign there’s a lot of replay value here.
This Western release of Phantom Breaker: Omnia doesn’t have the wow factor of some of the fighting games released in the past decade, but with so many fighting games turning towards a “service” model where we just get content packs for years and years, it’s really nice to have something new to play that feels fresh. Omnia is well worth adding to the collection, and we’re hoping to see an entirely new entry at some point in the not too distant future.