How To Play Phantom Dust

Welcome new Esper, we’re thrilled to have you! Below you will find information and gameplay tips to help get you started! Phantom Dust is a fun and exciting game, but it plays differently than any other, which is why we love it so much.


Scenario Mode:

In Scenario Mode, the story unfolds as you travel back and forth between the underground world and the surface (where the battles take place). Playing through the single player campaign will reward you with credits (the in-game currency) and skills (cards) to use in both Scenario Mode and Multiplayer Mode. The first two chapters are essentially the game’s tutorial. Once you’ve reached Chapter 3 you’ll be able to build a custom arsenal (deck of skills that you bring to battle) and that’s where the game really opens up.


Visions HQ – The headquarters for the Visions where you’ll find Leader and other espers. In this area you can use the Simulator to repeat previously cleared missions, check your overall Play Data (hours played, enemies defeated, etc.) or check individual mission results. This area is also where you’ll find the Memory Box Terminal. The Memory Box Terminal will let you read the Memory Boxes that you get as a reward for completing missions (most contain helpful tips about the game).

Battle Terminal – This is where most of the game’s missions come from and where the entrance to the surface world is located.

Bar and Clinic – Residents of the underground can be found here, some will have missions, others just information.

Lab – In the lab you’ll find the Arsenal Analysis Terminal which is where you can edit your arsenals (decks) and view your stock list (collection of skill cards). This area is initially locked, but will open as you progress through the game.

Shop – Mac’s Skill Shop will open after Chapter 2 and is where you’ll go to buy skills. More and more skills will become available from the shop as you progress through single player until all 300 are available after completing the 114 missions. You can buy individual skills, new arsenal cases and types (one, two, or three Schools), and booster packs of random skills called “Junk” from here.

Playing The Game:

Phantom Dust’s single player campaign is mission-based and those missions come from the NPC inhabitants of the underground. If you get stuck and can’t find your next mission, we’ve got a Mission List & Talk To Guide. The battles take place in destructible arenas and the action is real-time. You use the game controller’s face buttons to both pick up your skills from the battlefield and to use them against your opponents. We’ve scanned some pages from the original game’s User Manual to assist new players, and Konsento made a great video covering the basics (using the 2005 version of Phantom Dust):


Also check out The Basics #2 video , which covers movement types, debris damage, off map reset, reviving and more


  • You can mulligan (re-roll) the first four skills assigned to the face buttons during the countdown to a match’s start. On the Xbox controller you press the View button. On the PC you can press ESC.
  • You can revive a teammate, both in single player and multiplayer. You go to their body and capture them like a skill off the battlefield. Pressing the button again will revive them to 50% of their previous maximum life.
  • One School arsenal cases regenerate Aura the fastest, Three School the slowest.
  • If you pick up all 30 skill capsules from your arsenal while in battle you will begin to lose health and eventually die.
  • To see people’s gamertags when not locked on to them press the Xbox controller’s Right Bumper.
  • If you want to know what skill your opponent used on you, it flashes quickly in red in the lower left when you get hit.
  • To perform a dodge move (jump, cartwheel, roll, etc) you can use the Left Bumper in addition to pressing in on the left thumbstick.
  • Pressing the D-pad in the direction of a skill you have captured to a button will bring up the skill card details.
  • Single use skills have a slightly different border around its Aura cost than multi use skills in the UI, when captured to a face button of the controller.

Multiplayer Mode:

The Multiplayer Mode is unlocked right away, which is new for the re-release of Phantom Dust. Items acquired in Multiplayer Mode will not be available to you in Scenario Mode. This prevents the player from being overpowered during Scenario Mode. Be sure to grab the free Multiplayer Starter Pack DLC and create yourself an arsenal in the Lab. Because this is a re-release of a game from 2004 it has an older lobby/search system. A system where the player searches for an open game lobby with the rule and battle type they wish to play. If the player does not find such a lobby they can create their own and choose whether or not the lobby should be public. Private lobbies allows you to invite friends before the lobby fills up with public players. Once your friends have joined you can open the lobby to the public.

Quick Match – This will search for open games using the “Quick” game ruleset. Quick is a ruleset where players are randomly assigned one of eight pre-built arsenals. We have a breakdown of each arsenal here: Quick Battle Arsenals

OptiMatch – This will bring up a screen that allows you to choose the Game Type, Game Rule, Stage, Rating (limited to players rank 200 above or below the host), and Language. Once set, it will search for an open game lobby with those settings. If one does not exist you can create it and wait for others to join. You can also leave the default values to get a list of various open lobbies.

Game Types

  • Battle Royale : Each player is pitted against every other player. The last player standing wins.
  • Tag Team : Players are divided into two opposing teams. Defeat the players on the opposing team.
  • One-on-One : A head-to-head battle. Defeat your opponent first to win.

Game Rules

  • Standard Battle* : Standard battle rules apply: All players begin with 20 Health, and starting Levels begin at 0. The surviving player (or team) wins.
  • Ante* : The basic rules of Ante battle are the same as a standard battle, except that each player antes up one Skill. The anted Skills are randomly selected from the Arsenals being used.
  • Quick* : The Quick battle rules allow you to play at your convenience without preparing an Arsenal. The Arsenal that each player uses in battle is randomly selected from several Arsenals customized for Quick battles.
  • Puny : Makes it easier to use low-cost Skills. Each player begins with 10 Health, and Levels max out at 5.
  • Heavy : Makes it easier to use high-cost Skills. Each player begins with 40 Health, and stating Levels being at 5.
  • Special Environment : At preset intervals, an indestructible Environment Crystal appears.
  • Single School : Players choose one of the Schools (Psycho, Optical, Nature, Ki, or Faith) and battle with Arsenals made of entirely of Skills of that School.
  • Highlander : Players battle with Arsenals that contain only one of each Skill.
  • Puny Only : Players can only use Arsenals composed of Skills that cost 3 or less. This rule enables battles with only low-cost Skills.
  • Heavy Only : Players can only use Arsenals composed of Skills that cost 3 or more. This rule enables battles with only high-cost Skills.
  • KO Number Battle : Players compete to defeat the most enemies within the time limit. All players have 5 Health, and when a player is defeated, that player is revived after a certain amount of time.

*Standard, Ante, and Quick rules are official matches, and their results will be tallied on the scoreboard.

Once you’ve got your feet wet, make your way to our Guides page. It’s full of useful information regarding the skill schools and types, boss battle strategies, arsenal building strategies and more. If you are looking for Arsenal ideas, be sure to check out the Arsenal Lab.

We’ll see you on the surface!