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Wii-United- Phantom Brave: We Meet Again

Phantom Brave: We Meet Again for the Wii. Developer: Nippon Ichi, Publisher: NIS America ESRB: T

Although previous generations of Nintendo hardware have hosted a myriad of superb role playing experiences, the Wii’s library is glaringly deficient in the genre. Beyond Super Paper Mario, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, and Rune Factory: Frontier, RPGs on the system have either been Virtual Console retreads, or mediocre efforts like Opoona or Baroque. Even when including these antiquated emulations and middling works, the quantity of RPGs is dwarfed by the number of racers or fighting games.

Luckily, NIS America’s inaugural Wii title looks to remedy the situation. While the recently released Phantom Brave: We Meet Again is a port of the similarly named 2004 PS2 title, there enough enhancement and additional content to warrant a double-dip for fans of the original title. Strategy RPG fans who have never experienced the previous game should hunt down a copy of We Meet Again; the disc holds enough tactical enjoyment to easily justify its cost.

Brave Phantom’s prologue establishes the overall melancholic tone for the title, as a young married couple and their stalwart companion meet a tragic fate. With death imminent, the husband begins to cast a spell to protect the escort, but his magic is interrupted by the strong opponent. This places their guide- Ash, in a purgatorial space between worlds, transforming him into a phantom. Years pass, and the player is introduced to the couple’s surviving daughter, Marona, who has the uncanny ability to interact with phantoms. Sadly, this attributes makes her an eccentric, young, outcast and shapes the title’s forlorn tenor. As such, Phantom Brave mines a weighty emotional terrain seldom explored by most RPGs.

Fans of Nippon Ichi’s turn-taking combat should immediately comprehend We Meet Again’s battle system, even though the title dispatches the distinctive grid-based mechanics typical for the developer. As Marona enters a battlefield, she has the ability to confine phantoms to the environment’s natural resources- rocks, trees and boulders. Each conjured combatant’s statics can be augmented by a tactical choice- stones add power to soldiers, while trees add intelligence to spellcasters. Additionally, Phantoms only survive a limited number of turns, adding to the game’s strategic depth.

Once players have ‘confined’ a phantom, the entity’s movement is confined not by steps, but by a circular range. The system eliminates the grid-based estimations of range, instead viewing the environment as a three-dimensional space, especially when utilizing wedge-shaped special moves. While the concept is novel, its execution can be nit-picky at times. Periodically, players will have to make small adjustments to their teammates locations, so that an attack can be executed. The title shuns the use of Wiimote pointing, wisely offering Classic Controller, Gamecube as well as horizontal and vertical-oriented controller positions.

While Phantom Brave’s environments have been given a high-res upscaling, resulting in some marvelous hand-drawn backdrops, the title’s plucky characters remain amusingly pixilated. While this might deter some visual connoisseurs, other might bask in the game’s retro-charm. Fortunately, each hero and foe is animated admirably, and some of the more robust attacks produce vibrant, eye-grabbing displays. With the ability to have the game’s voice-overs in English or Japanese, along with a wonderfully varied soundtrack, We Meet Again will certainly please player’s ears.

With an elegant slip case, nifty art disc, eighty-hour playtime and lowered MSRP, role playing game fans will find the deal of the summer within Phantom Brave. Owners of the original PS2 title should find the additional chapters (playable from the start of the game), and renovated art to be incentive enough to be reintroduced to We Meet Again. The title’s distinctive atmosphere coupled with its engaging tactics assure that this will undoubtedly become a cherished addition to the Wii’s RPG library.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

36 comments

  1. OMG. An NIS game gets a B+ from you guys. The heavens will soon part!

  2. How much is it? Wow, I’d probably pay $40 for it.

  3. Sound and looks like Disgaea, which isn’t too bad I guess.

  4. I bought this on release day but haven’t opened it. Shame on me, right.

    Oh, and it’s $39.99…

  5. Thanks for the review. I’ll be getting this one so the Wii doesn’t feel neglected.

  6. If it’s any consolation, this was SOOO close to getting an “A-” but the control issues irked a bit. Consider it a B++

  7. good review,I’ve always wanted to get this game for the ps2 might have to take give it a rent or buy after I’m done with Muramasa.

  8. You guys turned me on to Mana Khemia 2 which I’m playing now. So this will go on my Amazon wish list.

    I’m assuming you think MK is better from it’s A-.

  9. You have Muramasa?!?! Where did you get it?

  10. “As such, Phantom Brave mines a weighty emotional terrain seldom explored by most RPGs.”

    Writing like that mean you should work for 1Up when it comes back.

  11. You play as a little girl? HAHAHA!

    Just kidding- decent review.

  12. Rune Factory: Frontier was only good if you like the Harvest Moon games. Glad to hear this one’s worthy.

  13. Great review. Man, you’re going to make me broke with these enforcements.

  14. I’ll pass on this. I have PB for the PS2 and it wasn’t my cup of tea.

  15. Eight or eighty hours? Is that a typo?

  16. Jeez with so many great games coming out, making a spot for this will be tough.

  17. Good review. I need to play this one.

  18. Tell us more about the art disc!

  19. Excellent review, DE!

  20. I like these kinds of things.

    You really seem passionate about your reviews. Great job.

  21. Yep, it’s 80 hours, not 8!

  22. I think I need to get something for my Wii. I haven’t bought anything since Wiifit.

  23. Great review. I need to grab this one.

  24. Sounds like fun. Does it ever get way too hard. Sometime SRPGS just get all unfair on you.

  25. I’ll pick this one up eventually.

  26. Always a fan of anime style artwork for rpgs.

  27. I saw this and looked it over. Bad mistake it seems.

  28. I’m glad to they offered a Japanese voice option. All games should do this.

  29. I like the way they throw in the extras to sweeten the deal. I’m such a sucker for that.

    Is that a limited-time thing?

  30. I think it’s the normal packaging. NIS FTW!

  31. You are one of the only mainstream games sites to ‘get’ JRPGS (RPGfan ‘gets’ them, but it’s dedicated to the games)

    I just want to say thanks, and I appreciate the honest, well-written review. I check the site daily. Kepp up the GREAT work.

  32. Great review. Going to have to get this.

  33. Intelligent Zombie

    Any good cameos by other NIS/Nippon characters?

  34. 80 hours of play? Wow, you won’t get tired of the game after 30 or so? That happens to me.

  35. Pfft, that’s nothing. I spent 100+ hours on Disgaea. Good review, btw.