Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive on PlayStation 4
Fighting game spin-offs are often a slippery slope. While characters in a fighting game may seem cool and fun in that particular context, removing them from their initial environment often leads to awkward experiences. Sub-Zero may be a badass cryomancer in Mortal Kombat, but playing as him in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero knocked him down a few levels. With examples like that still fresh in many fighting game fans’ minds, 5pb. Games certainly had their work cut out for them with Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds.
Using four chibi versions of characters from their Phantom Breaker fighter series (Waka, Mikoto, Itsuki and Yuzuha), and throwing in some classic side-scrolling beat ’em up action, the studio managed to deliver a solid, fun experience on the PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, and PC. After much success, they have decided to release an updated version titled Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive on the PS4 with a few new features added to the package.
At the very core of Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive not much has changed since the game’s initial release back in 2013. Levels are presented in a classic arcade style with waves of enemies that must be cleared before moving to the next screen. This latest iteration ups the chaos by cramming even more enemies onto the screen for some intense action. Of course, it doesn’t do so without giving something to the players, as well.
Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds allowed players a lot of flexibility with their upgrade system. You could assign moves and stat buffs with the skill points you earn and swap them as you please. It really allowed players to fine tune their experience by focusing on what they really wanted instead of a rigidly assigned path to growth. Players could go for a full on stat focus and never even assign themselves any special moves (which I wouldn’t advise) which is an amazing way to support player choice. Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive bolsters this element of the game by adding even more skill options for each of the four playable characters allowing for even more fine tuning. Also new to the game are alternate routes within levels that lead to even more skills and brand new items to add to the frenetic action.
Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive is fast-paced and fun. It slowly allows you to get used to the game as it ramps up the action over time. Whether you’re playing Story, Arcade, or Battleground mode, it’s easy to get lost in the action (in a good way), and throwing in a friend (or three) for some co-op fun makes it even better. To top it all off, your experience for each character is carried across all game modes so you’re always progressing, making trying different modes a bit more welcoming offer.
If there is any downside to Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive, it’s that the game is relatively safe in terms of design and mechanics. It’s fun, yes, but the game doesn’t do anything new in terms of side-scrolling beat ’em ups. Ridiculous combos, tons of enemies, and cool special effects are amazing to look at, but there is nothing here that you’ve never seen before. But, the upgrade system and all of the flexibility it provides is definitely worth its weight in gold.
Overall, Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive is a really fun game, filled with fast-paced, side-scrolling beat ’em up action. It brings gamers back to days spent in arcades pumping quarters into machines. It may not do too much in terms of new, but what is available is polished and extremely enjoyable. If you’re a fan of the genre, or are just looking for something fun and simple to get into, this game is definitely worth checking out.