What is Phantom Dust?

Phantom Dust Box Art NAPhantom Dust is an exciting Xbox game from Microsoft Game Studios Japan and creator Yukio Futatsugi (Panzer Dragoon Saga). It has been re-released for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC!

New Features for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC:
• Play on Windows 10 PC or Xbox One seamlessly with cross-saves, retaining all of your progress and in-game items between both platforms.
• Cross-device play lets you play against friends regardless of platform.
• Full Xbox Live feature set of the original game, including downloading top player’s arsenals to practice against them – a feature not available since the original’s release!
• Looking for Group on Xbox Live so you can find and connect with other gamers more easily than ever.
• Multiplayer starter pack included. Jump right into multiplayer with a better selection of skills!
• The Multiplayer skill shop is no longer tied to solo player progression. All skills are available for purchase immediately for multiplayer use.
• Improvements to game balance and frame rate
• 45 Achievements worth 1000 Gamerscore, one hidden (no Gamerscore)
• All new Quick battle arsenals
• Widescreen (16:9) HD presentation, running at native resolutions

 

Here is what we had to say about Phantom Dust for the original Xbox back in 2004:

Phantom Dust is unlike any other game. It takes elements from several genres, mixes them up, and places them into a stunning destructible environment. It plays from the third-person perspective, mixing elements from first-person arena shooters and 3D fighting games. The rules of battle are similar to those found in trading card games like Magic: The Gathering. Unlike table top games, the action takes place in real-time. Strategy comes into play long before battle as organizing one’s arsenal (deck of skills) is essential. It perfectly mixes deck building/playing strategy with the action of a fighting game.

In the single player game you take on the roll of the protagonist. When the game begins you awake an amnesiac. The Phantom Dust of the surface world from which you came has erased all of your memories. Over time you regain your memory and the story unfolds. The game is mission-based and has a central hub that connects you to various areas like a command post, a portal to the surface (battle area), a skill shop and even a local bar. You receive missions from the various inhabitants of this underground world. There are a dozen or so NPCs that you interact with. This helps move the story along between the dozen or so beautifully-done cut-scenes. The graphics and artwork in Phantom Dust — along with its music — are top notch. Everything from its highly-detailed textures to the dazzling effects and destructible environments look amazing on screen.

In the first couple chapters of the single player game, your arsenal of skills (which you take into battle) is predefined. This is to help you come to grips with the game’s mechanics and the various skill types. The game really opens up at the start of the chapter 3, when you get your first arsenal case. From there on you have access to the skill shop where you can buy new skills that you place into your arsenal. Your arsenal has 30 slots and you will normally reserve ~15 of those for Aura Particles (white orbs). Using the white orbs in battle will increase your level, which starts at zero. Almost every skill you use in battle costs Aura. Your Aura regenerates over time, but your maximum Aura is limited by your level.

Phantom Dust Attack Skill

Phantom Dust Attack Skill

The other 15 slots in your arsenal are used for various skills. You get to decide which 15 you want to place into your arsenal and bring to battle. When the fight begins, four skills or Aura Particles from your arsenal are assigned randomly to the four face buttons on the Xbox controller. In front of you on the battlefield are three regenerating orb spots, each containing an item from your arsenal. All of your orbs will appear here, unless you relocate your base (a skill available in the game). The player can easily overwrite a skill with a new item by standing atop the new skill and pressing the face button you wish to assign the new skill to. Each player normally starts with 20 health points and are defeated when their health reaches zero.

Most single player missions will pair you up with a character and the two of you must defeat the enemy or enemies. As you progress through the missions you will be rewarded with new skills and more credits to spend on new skills at the shop. By time you complete all 114 missions you will be able to obtain 300 different skills.

The skills are broken down into five different schools: Psycho, Optical, Ki, Nature, and Faith. Each school has six type of skills: Attack, Defense, Special, Erase, Status, or Environment. An arsenal case will restrict you to one, two, or three schools. One-school arsenal cases regenerate Aura faster, and three skill school cases regenerate Aura slower. The key to building an effective arsenal is devising combos (at least if you’d like to win a few battles over Xbox Live). The combinations that you can dream up when using roughly fifteen skills per arsenal is pretty amazing when you have more than 300 at your disposal. Often times you’ll want to use three of the same skill, the maximum allowed in an arsenal.

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Phantom Dust Defense Skill

Like decks in a card battle game, your arsenal will need to be tweaked after you learn what works — and more importantly — what doesn’t. If you get hooked on the game and make your way to Xbox Live, you will easily eclipse the twenty hours you spend completing the story mode of the game by ten fold, if not more. You will run into all kinds of different arsenals and strategies. You will get new ideas and soon you’ll be creating all new arsenals. You’ll find that playing with a new arsenal makes the game feel fresh all over again. Playing on Xbox Live has another benefit: You’ll be rewarded with a rare skill for every thirty wins. For the U.S. launch of the game forty online-only skills were available in Skill Update 1.10. Another thirty four skills were released in Skill Update 1.20 on May 9th, 2005 for a total of 374 skills. (Details can be found on our skill page.)

Phantom Dust supports up to four-player battles on Xbox Live with 11 different battle modes (including tag-team), two-player split-screen, and four-player system link. You can even dish out the hurt while listening to your own custom soundtrack or make use of the voice message invites found in the game.

You might also be interested in our FAQ.

October 2004 Famitsu Xbox Magazine Review (Japan)

Score: 36/40 (All four reviewers gave the game a “9” out of “10”)

Review #1: Players start off with a tutorial that gets pretty dull as skill after skill is presented and thoroughly explained. However, once you get control of your “arsenal” (basically your deck of skills), suddenly the game becomes really cool. Just like with real table-top card games, it’s really fun to fix and tweak your deck.

Review #2: The battle system and game rules are extremely simple. You must be flexible in your strategy as there are a variety of ways to approach each battle. If you’re not into really thought-provoking games, Phantom Dust may prove a little difficult. The in-game world and story is enough to engage players even in single player mode, but it’s the online battles on Xbox Live that really rock.

Review #3: This is a fun game with great characters, atmosphere, and story. However, the best thing is playing offense and defense in the heat of battle. Just brazenly engaging your opponent is a bad idea. You need to consider the best offensive and defensive skills for the battle. It’s a refreshing game that’s hard to put down.

Review #4: These “forgotten children” of a post-apocalyptic world play a big part in the game. It sets the mood and we are treated to beautifully designed characters and environments. It would have been nice to be able to pause the action when having to assign skills to the button on the controller in mid-battle, which would do a lot for players who really like to think out their strategies.