Phantom Breaker: Omnia Review

Phantom Breaker Omnia Review Horizontal Keyart (Latest)

Chances are you’re not familiar with the Phantom Breaker series. And if you are, it’s probably because of Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds, a side-scrolling beat ’em up spin off.

The original Phantom Breaker, released in Japan in 2011, is actually a fighting game. And since then it has been updated and re-released numerous times. But only now – with its third update – is it finally making its way to the west. Phantom Breaker: Omnia may be based on a game that’s pretty old in the tooth, but you wouldn’t really know it. Its mechanics – and anime visuals – have stood the test of time.

Fast-paced and flashy, the combat of Phantom Breaker: Omnia is electrifying. Character models are eye-catching and wonderfully animated, and with your button presses they unleash spectacular combos that fill the screen with colour. It’s just a shame that the backgrounds aren’t anywhere near as interesting. But with what’s happening in the foreground, you won’t care all that much.

The fighting system at the heart of Phantom Breaker: Omnia is centred around three styles. You choose one of them after selecting your character, and your choice has a large bearing on how you play. Choose Quick Style, for example, and while you’ll have lower health you’ll move faster and have access to multiple quick combos. Hard Style, on the other hand, gives you access to a unique command and increases your HP, but you’re limited to only one quick combo.

Phantom Breaker Omnia 1 review (1)

New to this release, as you can probably guess by its name, is the Omnia Style. It strikes a compromise between the two other styles in terms of speed and strength, and allows you to easily perform combos. But there’s a catch: it blocks you out from using some of the game’s more advanced features. This new mode is perfect for finding your feet in Phantom Breaker: Omnia, then. It’s easier to get to grips with and lets newcomers stand their ground against more experienced players before stepping up their game.

The three available styles, combined with a roster of over 20 fighters, also results in a lot of match variability. Even if you’re up against a character you’ve fought numerous times before, their choice of style may mean you’re not quite prepared for the onslaught they might unleash. It’s unpredictable and exciting, forcing you to think – and act – fast. You simply can’t rest on your laurels.

When it comes to modes, Phantom Breaker: Omnia does little to disappoint. As well as the obligatory Arcade mode, there are accompanying modes such as Score and Time Attack. Online play is also an option – it’s just a shame that rollback netcode hasn’t been implemented. And for those that would like to delve deeper into the world of Phantom Breaker, there’s a pretty meaty story mode.

Each and every character has their own arc to play through, complete with narrative titbits. But there’s a catch – you can’t set the difficulty. Unless you develop your skills, then, you might not get far. It’s fun learning the ins-and-outs of Phantom Breaker: Omnia‘s fighting system though, and the simple control scheme that allows special moves to be performed with just the press of a button and a direction makes it rather accessible.

Phantom Breaker Omnia 2 review (1)

That accessibility does come at a cost, though. With all characters having special attacks performed in the same way, they’re robbed of a bit of personality. The style system also does the same. The saving grace is that each character has their own quirks to take into consideration. But still, your choice of fighting avatar here doesn’t have the same impact that it does in games like Street Fighter or Guilty Gear.

It’s a shame that Phantom Breaker: Omnia doesn’t have rollback netcode, because that’s where most hardcore fighting game fans will perhaps be getting their fun out of it. There is still some joy to be had though, and for those who simply like to play against the CPU or another human via local versus, there’s very little to complain about. It may not be a property you’re familiar with, but if you’re a fighting game fan you’d be wise to check Phantom Breaker: Omnia out.

Phantom Breaker: Omnia Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Phantom Breaker: Omnia is based on the PS4 version(played on PS5), with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.