Hey gang, Valkor here. When it comes to video games and reviewing them, I’m not one for going over a game that I’ve already done – even if it’s been revamped, unless it’s a complete makeover. But usually I won’t make the request, unless I‘m passing it off to someone else. The next game on tap for a TOV review, “Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive for the PS4, is a title that relates to my previous statement because I thought it was a game I reviewed but revamped. However, I quickly learned that it was it was an entirely different experience… that treads along the same lines.
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive, is pretty much like Battle Grounds on the Vita, with some changes – mainly with the story. You begin by choosing one of four chibi-style female fighters, each with their own unique fighting ability as well as being able to choose the characters style, in an all-out brawl to rescue one of their sisters, who’s been kidnapped by an entity known as “The Phantom”. Overdrive mixes 2D beat-em up with fighting game mechanics as well as some RPG elements to make things interesting. And just like the Vita version, you’ll fight on two planes that you can seamlessly jump to and from, with a simple push of a button. The title offers no tutorials, but the learning curve is pretty simple and easy to get into. That is until you start diving into the fighting game mechanics, then you’ll need to learn a move or two since they’ll help you mainly during boss battles – button mashing will not see you through it, trust me I’ve tried. As far as the 2D beat em up is concerned, be prepared to battle your way through hordes of enemies to the extent of the screen being completely filled by the – thankfully with ZERO slowdown (something that has always plagued many a beat em ups back in the 8bit/16bit era). And if you’re timing and skills are on point you can pull off some crazy combos. And once you’ve completed your main quest, you’ll be given an additional fighter as a reward.
The RPG elements is what truly broadens the experience in Overdrive; as you play through, you’ll collect red rubies of various sizes that offer up a certain amount of experience points for leveling up your characters at the end of each level. You’ll also be given skill points that not only help to build up strength, speed and defense but also another set of points to building up your fighting repertoire. If you die and you’ve gained points, you can apply those points to replay the level stronger than before. So a level that might have been difficult before will now become a breeze. You could also up the difficulty and not apply any points because you’re a beast like that. And if you have that kind of skill, I say more power to you. And in all honesty I'm considering trying that one out myself to really test out my beat em up skills. If you get your character to a high enough level, then up the games difficulty to "nightmare" level and see if you can truly survive this game.
The PS4 offers of loads of extras such as online and offline play (up to four players with a versus mode), much sharper, cleaner graphics, better music, various play modes (story, arcade, battle grounds), secret routes and much, much more. So the overall journey may be short, there's still plenty you can do after it's all said and done.
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive is just as cute, if not cuter than its Vita counterpart (that I’m familiar with - and I'll be doing some serous comparisons). It’s a beat em up that punishes you with a stream of baddies to the point of filling your entire screen… and yet I ain’t even mad. And neither should you because it’s still a whole lot of fun to play! Switching gears from the Vita version to play on the big boy console, the controls feel way nicer, easier to dive right into and pulling off some of the more insane moves and combos works better on this format than the portable. Visually, Overdrive is impressive with sharp graphics, bold and beautiful colors plus the attention to detail in the backgrounds deserves a nod. I love all the little vending machines strewn about; one might chalk it up to repetition, but if you’re ever in Japan, you’ll notice there are loads of vending machines like every few feet. The music is much better and less tinny 8Bit sounding than the Vita version with bubbly beats I don’t mind having in the background. I guess there is a good reason why this is given “Overdrive” in the title, because on the PS4, Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive takes the experience to new heights by adding so much more that makes this a title worth checking out.
It’s short. That’s not a serious negative because the game has great replayability, especially if you’re into arcadey style beat em ups. Plus the need to get your favorite fighter to the peak of their skills, it just feels right.
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive is available now and if you’re looking for a 2D beat em up that harkens back to the 8/16Bit arcade era that’s also loads of fun to play, then this is the one you’ll want to pick up. I highly recommend it. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Phantom Breaker: Battle Ground Overdrive a 4.