Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
Buy On
  1. It is amazing how many different stats go into the Phantom Brave.
  2. The dungeon can keep you occupied for ages, so there is really no end to the game, yet one thing to note is that there is no new game.
  3. Pelit (Finland)
    A fantastic turn-based tactical fighting RPG. [Apr. 05]
  4. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    The awesome combat system throws out most strategy-RPG genre conventions. [Oct 2004, p.110]
  5. If Nippon Ichi’s last three releases can be considered a trilogy, then Phantom Brave is without a doubt "The Empire Strikes Back" of the series.
  6. GamePro
    May not have the best control scheme or huge production values, but it does have heart - this one pays like a labor love. Crazy, wacky, weird, mad love. [Oct 2004, p.110]
  7. Nippon Ichi has crafted yet another stunning game with Phantom Brave - accessible, flexible, and as deep as the player wants it to be.
  8. The soundtrack is catchy and at times, especially when the plot turns darker, extremely haunting as well.
  9. Just like "Disgaea," Phantom Brave is an innovative, and superb gaming experience from start to finish.
  10. One of the deepest, most entertaining strategy games to come out in quite some time.
  11. 87
    As for best in the pseudo-series, it's a tossup between this and "Disgaea," and will likely come down to a debate over the free-roaming battle system and the confinement system.
  12. Nippon Ichi strikes again with one of the most charming, creative, and fun games on the Playstation 2 this year.
  13. 86
    With more than 100 hours of gameplay, plenty of customizable options, and a style and look that you're only going to find from one or two companies in the world, Phantom Brave is definitely worth the price of admission.
  14. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    This mind-boggling sequel to cult hits "Disgaea" and "La Pucelle: Tactics" is easily the most overwhelming game I've ever played, with almost infinite aspects to consider. [Oct 2004, p.108]
  15. A great game, and is well worth the wait. Secrets, secret characters, and a somber, yet intriguing story round out the experience, and solid combat mechanics make sure players will not get bored with the game’s many confrontations.
  16. 85
    It's Nippon Ichi's best strategy RPG, which if you've played Disgaea and/or La Pucelle ought to be enough to send you off to the store immediately.
  17. If you're willing to invest the time in it, there's no denying that Nippon Ichi has once again come good with another zillion hours of great RPG gaming for those hungry for numbers.
  18. NIS once again delivers a masterpiece. Requiring a lot of strategy because of the remove stat, it is much harder than Disgaea and La Pucelle.
  19. A very solid tactical RPG. The game’s gameplay mechanics will surely please fans of the genre and particularly fans of Nippon Ichi but may frustrate newer players.
  20. 84
    On one hand the game is lovingly crafted with a superb amount of customization and options available. On the other hand, the insurmountable quantity of tasks that can be performed are so incredibly daunting that the number of people who would actually enjoy the game is very limited.
  21. GMR Magazine
    Ambitiously niched and infinitely flexible, giving players a battle system of unparalleled depth that's as innovative as it is daunting - even for crusty veterans of the genre. [Oct 2004, p.112]
  22. 80
    With so much personality and gameplay depth, however, no true tactical RPG fan will be able to resist braving this phantom.
  23. 80
    It is a game for the TRPG hardcore; those who’ll enjoy spending hours playing the same maps or random dungeons over and over to level up in order to progress through the story, or who spend days working out the best combination of stat modifiers to make finishing off the mission puzzles that little bit easier.
  24. PSM Magazine
    Yet another huge, personality drenched, comically deep strategy RPG from othe new masters. [Oct 2004, p.32]
  25. Just short of being a masterpiece. The innovative battle system and nicely implemented terrain and weather settings make it entertaining and keep the battles feeling new and worthwhile. The character and item management is ultimately its only major fault…it is just TOO elaborate!
  26. 80
    Far too hardcore to serve as an introduction to the genre, but fans of the genre are in for a treat once they accustom themselves to the game's mind-bendingly unique and tactical paradigms.
  27. Game Informer
    Even gamers weaned on "Final Fantasy" and the like who are looking to expand their horizons into the realm of strategy (which I highly suggest) should find plenty of enjoyment in its sympathetic characters and engaging gameplay. [Sept 2004, p.80]
  28. It's a good first try in a new style of strategy RPG, but the flaws kept it from hooking me like La Pucelle: Tactics did.
  29. games(TM)
    Given the sheer time investment required to really do it justice only the truly committed will ever discover the deeper joys and wonderful complexities if the game. Then again, only the truly committed will give Phantom Brave a second look. [Feb 2005, p.104]
  30. Pelaaja (Finland)
    Phantom Brave is an excellent follow up in Nippon Icchi Software’s European conquest and it can easily be recommended to fans of tactical, turn-based battles, who are not intimidated by it’s rough visuals. [May 2005, p.70]
  31. AceGamez
    The amount of variety and options in and out of battle will keep you playing far longer than the typical game, while there are enough differences in the combat system to make it feel fresh and new.
  32. A mixed bag that goes from simple (and a tad frustrating) to thoughtfully compelling in the combat.
  33. Charming and entertaining in its own right, though its appeal is mostly limited to hardcore fans of other strategy role-playing games and anime.
  34. An excellent game at its core, couched in mediocre production values and a charming but nonetheless cliched storyline.
  35. Edge Magazine
    Nippon Ichi’s disregard for the cult of stagnated updates is at once exhilarating and unnerving. It’s exhilarating because it leaves the player wondering exactly where these craftsmen of the strategy minutiae will go next, and it’s unnerving because Phantom Brave’s reworking is a bridge too far for all but the most dedicated of videogame strategists. [Nov 2004, p.100]
  36. The graphics are dated, and the game could've easily been done on the original PlayStation. Still, graphics don't make a game, and Phantom Brave more than makes up for it in gameplay.
  37. Innovates itself into a corner. Tactical RPG fans are going to dig on the creative character development but they'll be the only ones interested in putting up with the awkward controls and even more awkward gridless combat.
  38. But if you are tempted by it’s smooth retro, isometric 16-bit leanings and complex combat-mechanics, then it’s as good as a starting point as any in the Nippon Ichi catalogue.
  39. But for those who are prepared to persevere, there are well over 100 hours of turn-based heaven in store. [PSW]
  40. Cheat Code Central
    Phantom Brave is a game of methodical persistence. There's very little here to reward smart players.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Sep 22, 2010
    Phantom Brave has a great battle system, nice visual style, and the story had a lot of potential. Unfortunately it's battle system, visuals,Phantom Brave has a great battle system, nice visual style, and the story had a lot of potential. Unfortunately it's battle system, visuals, and music are too similar to that of other (better) games and the story ends up being extremely weak. Die hard fans of tactical RPGs will likely find a things to enjoy here, especially fans of similar games like Disgaea, La Pucelle, or the excellent Soul Nomad & The World Eaters. If your new to strategy RPGs you'll have to put up with the steep learning curve pretty much every game in the genre has. Veteran players of games like Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics will likely be disappointed by it's poor story and it's close resemblance to other (better) NIS games. That said if your new to Strategy RPGs or want another game to scratch your strategy RPG itch your better off playing Disgaea or NIS's 2007 Soul Nomad and the World Eaters which is superior to Phantom Brave in literally every way. Full Review »
  2. EricL
    Oct 10, 2009
    This game is SO MONOTONOUSE!! The summoning of characters feels redundant, and the removal of the grid system makes it so everyone just makes This game is SO MONOTONOUSE!! The summoning of characters feels redundant, and the removal of the grid system makes it so everyone just makes a beeline for the enemy. The story is somewhat boring. I can't believe these are the same people who made the Disgaea series. There are some simmilar elements like the random dungeon maps (which I never liked) and the vast character selection (which i did like!). Look elsewhere for a fun SRPG, the only reason to own this is because it's rare. Full Review »
  3. keller
    Apr 17, 2005
    Ugh. Big Disgaea fan, couldn't wait for this, but sorely disappointed. Imagine regular battles, but your characters vanish after 5 Ugh. Big Disgaea fan, couldn't wait for this, but sorely disappointed. Imagine regular battles, but your characters vanish after 5 turns. Keep in mind it'll probably take you that long to walk across the map and suddenly the whole thing seems pointless. The story is atrocious, a mess of cutesy little-girl's-princessy-story nonsense and poor VA. It's as if aimed at 4 year olds. None of Disgaea's charm or humour, pointless battles as your army vanishes way before the real fight, and a story so bad it isn't worth continuing on. Full Review »