Game Review | Phantom Brave PC

On the heels of NIS America‘s February release of Disgaea PC the beloved company has taken it upon themselves to continue its revival of the classics from its vault to the every-gamer-platform with Phantom Brave PC. Phantom Brave while not as popular as Disgaea is still a noted success; having never played it before myself I relished the opportunity to take on this colorful PC port and face a brand new fantasy world and emotional journey from the comfort of my Laptop.


Phantom Brave

The game takes place in the world of Ivoire and is focused on a young girl named Marona and a Phantom named Ash. Marona and Ash live on a small, lonely island called Phantom Isle where they make a living from the Bottle Mail jobs Marona receives. doing work as a Chroma, a freelancer who takes up the requests to complete odd jobs and occasional mercenary work.

Ash is a Phantom who appears to be trapped in between life and death after losing his life on a Chroma mission and has sworn to stay at Marona’s side as her parents lost their lives on the same mission which cost him his own. Marona, who was born with a special ability to see and communicate with Phantoms, something which humans are normally unable to do unless the Phantom wishes it. Due to her unusual ability, the people of Ivoire have dubbed her “The Possessed“. They scorn and mistreat her, some even refuse to pay her after successful jobs, and as such Ash is her only friend which doesn’t help matters.


Help people and some day everyone will start to like you

Marona is a bright and shining optimist who believes in the teachings of her deceased parents and continuously tries to do good in the hope that one day she will be accepted. Ash on the other hand sees the world for what it is and does his best to protect Marona from the malicious behavior of others. When monstrous creatures begin to appear all over Ivoire and a powerful darkness threatens to rise up and take over and create an all new Netherworld the burden falls on Ash and Marona to stand and fight for Ivoire and keep it safe. The fantastical and emotional journey begins.


Mechanically Brave

One thing I love about this game is that the story plays into the mechanics. A lot of focus is put into Marona having this unique ability to commune with Phantoms and while in a lot of other games its just a plot point, Phantom Brave makes this concept integral to game play with Marona’s Confine ability.

The game plays, for the most part, like any other tactical, turn based rpg, employing a turn-system which prioritizes individual characters based on their speed. The thing about Phantom Brave is that Marona is be necessity the constant character. Marona’s Chartreuse Gale ability allows her to ‘Confine‘ Phantoms to physical objects which they can possess and use as bodies. Marona can confine any number of times per turn and the ability is the only way to get access to any of your other characters while in combat. Bottom line is, make sure Marona doesn’t die.

Now while at first this varied means of summoning characters to the battle field doesn’t seem ss10_0like much, it is a corkscrew in the basic tactics a lot of players use of simply summoning as many characters as possible and charging in. Each Phantom has a limit number of turns of which they can remain confined of an object. Once summoned players must find a way make full use of a character as if their time runs out, they can not be re-confined for the remainder of the battle.

Additional twists to the tactical game play are the character and equipment mechanics. Combat abilities are found attached to items while character’s ability to use certain skills are determined by their class. The fun part to not when getting items to equip to your characters is, when a character’s turn limit ends and they vanish from the battlefield, the item remains. Furthermore, any and all items, even those which can be used to confine Phantoms, even the bodies of BOTH defeated and live characters, can be picked up in battle and used as a weapon.

Honestly the game has a lot of interesting mechanics which make it unique and challenging. From the allowance to fuse character’s and/or items to create unique and stronger skills, weapons and characters to something as basic as its free range movement style maps. So many in fact that I couldn’t possibly talk about them all enough or with enough detail on the impact it has. Its not as straightforward as the grind centric, grid style play of Disgaea which both works in its favor but makes it a challenge for some less dedicated players.

Playing Brave

At the end of the day Phantom Brave is a port of the re-released PSP version of the game. We all know how buggy and uncomfortable ports can be but quite honestly, Phantom Brave PC was handled really well. Way better than the awkward mess which was Disgaea PC before that first patch and every single patch after it.

ss4_1The game plays smoothly. Its requirements aren’t that demanding and the quality of play is what I would imagine the original was like. The game doesn’t do much to up the visuals but that was a great call because Phantom Brave is naturally artistic and to play it as if feels like taking a step back to a simpler time.

The game does over the option to enhance the interface to a sleeker, more modern set but that’s just fluff and doesn’t make an impact here nor there. The control system is pretty simple and easy to pick up, offering both keyboard and controller play but honestly, if you have the option, go with the controller. A port is a port and while using the keyboard is easy and convenient its still a bit awkward.

Like Disgaea, Phantom Brave features various game modes outside of the main story. In Another Marona Mode players get to play a varied, harder story which allows them to unlock new playable characters who all join at level 1. The game also features a Post Game Mode which allows the fun to continue and lets you encounter some new but familiar faces. The potential for continuous play really is in the hands of the gamer with this one.

Final Verdict

NIS is on a roll. You aren’t guaranteed to love Phantom Brave if you loved Disgaea, and if Tactical J-RPGs are your thing it’s worth the $19.99 USD to add this one to your Steam library. Take it for a spin and let us know what you think.


The story is solid and emotional, tackling some serious stuff. The game play is something that may take some getting used to but once you pick it up there’s magic. The game runs beautifully proving that NIS is all about the future and learning from past missteps. . . and with that in mind lets cast an eye to their expansive library of past successes and cross our fingers for another PC release in the near future.

Adrian Moses

A massive biggest One Piece fan who just wants to spend his days on a world adventure.