GET HYPE! Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds is Coming!
Who loves Guardian Heroes? I know I do, as you could probably tell from my review of Code of Princess. Well good news, another Guardian Heroes-esque brawler from some of the old Guardian Heroes team is coming soon in the form of Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds!
But wait! This is from a different company than Code of Princess! How can you say the old Guardian Heroes team is involved?
Well…funny story. Before making Guardian Heroes, some of that team worked on a fighter called Asuka 120%. The old Asuka 120% team made Phantom Breaker. They also made beloved Guardian Heroes knock-off Panzer Bandit (which I actually like more)…and they made a similar game called Mad Stalker before Asuka 120%.
Can this same team be responsible for every single game that plays even remotely similar to Guardian Heroes?
Well…it seems the answer is yes. Or at the very least, Masaki Ukyo can be traced back to all of them as he did indeed work on Guardian Heroes, Code of Princess, and Phantom Breaker. I need to double check on his involvement in Asuka 120% and Panzer Bandit but…I think the answer is yes.
But enough about eyebrow raising lineage, what IS Phantom breaker: Battlegrounds?
Well it’s a faux-retro side scrolling beat ’em up spin-off of 2D fighting game Phantom Breaker. Said fighter was supposed to come to America courtesy of 7Sixty games, but thanks to issues with Microsoft it seems to be indefinitely delayed. A darn shame as while the game didn’t look that great, the gameplay was very unique as it blended fast paced system heavy combat similar to BlazBlue with simplified Smash Bros.-esque inputs. The game was completely devoid of quarter circle inputs. That, combined with the wanton combo breakers, made it a very intriguing game.
Battlegrounds looks to take those same mechanics and apply them to a Guardian Heroes-style brawler. Judging from the website, everything looks to be intact despite the new playstyle and sprites. Weak, medium, and strong attacks as well as the special button are retained, the inputs look nearly identical, and only minor tweaks have been made to supers and combo breakers.
Visually it looks like Scott Pilgrim vs The World.
However, the game has the one thing both Scott Pilgrim and Guardian Heroes lack: 4-player online co-op!
Though relegated exclusively to a level select-style mode, there will be co-op and a leveling system, allowing you to grind and combo with friends.
However, I am actually more interested in the Versus mode. Unlike its brethren, Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds is based on a fighter and as such you do not see class-based restrictions. There are no “Mages” and “Healers”, everyone is a full fledged fighting game character and as such there is real potential for 4-player brawls…assuming the levelling system doesn’t get in the way and the netcode is good.
Yes, netcode is a major concern here. Goodness knows it’s what destroyed the XBox Live Arcade release of Guardian Heroes. The good news is that reports from importers of Phantom Breaker claim that game’s netcode was good enough that they could play against Japanese opponents without lag! This is very good news. Fingers crossed this carries over into Battlegrounds.
The good news is that the game will only be 800MSP! I dunno about you but for $10? Shoot I’d buy it just for single player at that price! The game just went gold a few days ago so we should be seeing it soon.
Having said that, the developers did just start work on a 400MSP DLC pack that promises to add more content and raise the level cap from 50 to 99. Most disconcerningly, they openly admitted in a recent FAQ that players who have the DLC will not be able to play with those that do not unless they delete the DLC. Details are sketchy as to what this does to your level as the Google Translation of the Blog is wonky. The only part I could make sense of is “However, please do not be like that too much like a debugger. (Laughs)” Ha. I really hope they realize this could break their player base and do something about it before that happens. Perhaps they will make a compatibility pack?
Regardless, I am very excited about this game.