This week is pretty special for NIS America. One of its classic strategic RPGs is making its Steam debut. I’m talking about Phantom Brave PC; this time it’s phantasmically complete. This is a fairly open-ended game. You can put together whatever parties you’d like. Though keeping Marona and Ash around is obligatory, the rest of the group is up to you. While that means you could go ahead and create an army of human weapons, you always need to remember the people who more useful off a battlefield than on it.
Marona is the only living person on Phantom Isle, as everyone else is a spirit drawn to her home. This means you have to summon people to perform specific functions. A Merchant should be one of your first allies. She isn’t the best attacker, she is rather quick, good at stealing, will sell you weapons and will help you make more money whether she’s in your party or not. Consider her a more passive ally. Maybe have her around using items in the field, using some Space and Time magic, and getting experience and money just for hanging around.
That’s because you need a merchant around in Phantom Brave, and you need that one to reach at least level 100. It’s the only way to access the best weapons Marona and Ash can buy. Taking the time to get a Merchant to level 130 means you’ll also have all titles too. Yes, that’s going to take a long time. It shouldn’t be as bad as getting other party members to level 100 though, as her Mega Bonus skill will let you spend 10 SP to earn 20% more experience and money.
You’ll also need a Dungeon Monk in Phantom Brave. Like the Merchant, he isn’t great in the field. He’s expensive to summon, doesn’t stick around for the longest time after being confined, has terrible movement and is basically there for the Return skill that lets you leave any Random Dungeons without beating it. I should probably stop talking now, because I’m making him sound bad.
The Dungeon Monk is great for getting characters buffed up, as he’ll let you visit Random Dungeons once he comes to Phantom Isle. These let you improve characters and find rare party members and items by sending Marona, Ash and the crew into these places for a quick visit. There’s a catch though, and I bet you can guess what it is. That’s right – the Random Dungeons he creates are tied to his level. He does learn the Experience Riser skill at level one; every little bit helps. Take him into Random Dungeons to build him up and save the slots in bigger bouts for the people you’ll actually enjoy using.
On the plus side, the other two people you’ll need to have around in Phantom Brave can actually be useful in a fight. One is the Titlist. He’s not amazing, but he has better than average intelligence and is pretty good with elemental spells. Give him a good book or staff and he’ll actually do a good job of fighting off enemies. Especially since Big Bang damages anything around him when he’s first summoned to a battlefield.
You need the Titlist around for titles. Every character, dungeon and piece of equipment in Phantom Brave has a title attached to it. For example, you could have a detrimental title like “Crappy,” which lowers every possible stat by ridiculous amounts, or positive ones like “First Class,” which boost every stat. With a Titlist around, you can alter existing items and make them better, all by collecting names. The power of words, folks. Best of all, you don’t have to level a Titlist like you do a Merchant or Dungeon Monk, so you can create one and let him live a happy and peaceful life on Phantom Isle.
Finally, we come to the Fusionist. She’s an amazing unit that’s as handy on Phantom Isle as she is in the field. First, she’s actually a pretty amazing character to use in-battle. She can stay out longer than other mages after Marona confines her, plus she gets bonus from natural items like flowers and trees. She’s amazing with Nature skills, so get her a weed so she can learn Blazing Field, seed so she learns Briar Patch, dead trees for Crimson Hell, and of course rocks and pumpkins so she gets Gigaton Press and Giganto Pumpkin. There are so many skills she’ll make amazing use of, thanks to that A-rank Nature proficiency. You need her around in the field.
But, you also need the Fusionist to have your back when you aren’t fighting in Phantom Brave. You’re going to end up with units and items you don’t need in the game; you don’t want them to go to waste. A Fusionist lets you combine these characters and items to add new skills and stats. This is a level-dependent ability, but isn’t as restricted as the Merchant or Dungeon Monk. A low level Fusionist can still get your fusing jobs done, but it’ll cost more mana. Since she’s so helpful in a fight, there’s a good chance she’ll be part of your crew and leveling up naturally.
Those are the four folks you can’t live without in Phantom Brave. Sure, there are other characters you’ll need. It’d be irresponsible to not make mages, healers, or other warriors. And yes, you’ll need a Blacksmith to get items you bring back ready for party members to use. But these characters are ones who’ll make your adventuring so much better and easier as you set off with Marona and Ash on your PC.