Phantomgate: The Last Valkyrie Impressions

phantomgate start

Mobile gaming is a huge market, and it’s getting larger every day. Even larger games like Fortnite and PUBG have made their way to the small platform. However, not all games on mobile are good, and in my experience, that’s the majority (too many minigames). Netmarble, on the other hand, has made an effort to put actual gaming experiences in the palm of your hand. They are well known for Lineage II, but recently released a turn-based RPG called Phantomgate: The Last Valkyrie. I figured I’d give it a shot and see if it’s any good. These are my impressions of the newest addition to the Netmarble family.

Phantomgate Story

The story is very generic. A “chosen one” is sent to save the world from evil doers. I’ll do my best to describe what happens because Phantomgate doesn’t do a good job of helping you understand the universe and timeline of the story. The game starts out with you butting heads with Odin, father of Thor. As you can already tell, Phantomgate uses Norse mythology for its setting. Instead of fighting Odin, he sent Thor to fight Renata. Since Thor is very powerful, the player cannot win this fight. Renata, the mother Astrid, the “chosen one”, is able to escape because the Watchmaker steps in and protects them as they get away.

The Watchmaker is a character that seemingly comes out of nowhere, with no explanation. He later is the one that helps Astrid understand what is happening to the world and explains he is a friend of her mother. Gamma Mini-ming is a companion of yours that helps you battle and make sense of what is going on. Astrid comes to the understanding that Renata is not dead. She has a vision of what happened all those years ago when Odin defeated Renata, but the Watchmaker explains that there is more to know. The game is then collecting the memory fragments to clear up the missing pieces in her memory, and finding her mother again.

phantomgate lobby

Phantomgate tries really hard to get the player involved, but completely misses the mark on backstory and explaining present events. I spent most of the game trying to make sense of what was going on and why I should care about the story. Also, for a mobile game, it took a long time to get through the cutscenes and tutorial before I actually got into the meat and potatoes of the game (around 20-40 min to be honest). That might be acceptable for a console or PC game, but it can definitely be trimmed down for a great mobile experience.

Gameplay

Most games have a learning curve, so there is a need for a tutorial. Unfortunately, this is something that mobile games lack. Not that there is no tutorial, but more so that it doesn’t properly help the gamer understand the menus. In Phantomgate, the beginner tips will dim the entire screen and point an animated finger to where you should press to proceed. The only problem is that there is no explanation for why you are pressing these buttons. It’s almost as if the developers expect the player to already have a sound knowledge of the menus. After I got past all the mumbo-jumbo tips, I was able to explore the menu for myself and become more familiar with it.

The turn-based fighting plays smooth and quick. There is a meter at the top of the screen that shows the order of combat. A meter above each players head shows the health and stamina. In the bottom right corner of the screen are your attacking options. Some require more stamina than others, so I needed to strategize my attacks. Selecting which opponent to strike is as easy as tapping on them before choosing the attack. Throughout the battles, character modifiers will fall from the top of the screen. The goal is to drag and drop it to the desired character to increase their abilities. That helped the battles feel a bit faster paced which added to the gameplay. The level of difficult progressed perfectly, and I never experienced a dramatic increain of difficulty or easy sailing.

phantomgate mini-ming

Outside of battles, I found myself in a simple side-scroller. Collecting gems along the way through to the next stage. There are enemies hanging out that I needed to start a fight with in order to get the pieces I needed. These pieces would be levers, keys, and gems. All of these would help me continue through the world. In order to start a fight, I need to have the in-game currency to do so. It is a free-to-play game, so when you run out of currency, you can either wait or purchase more in the store.

The worlds of Phantomgate are separated into monoliths. Each monolith contains several chapters of the game. As you progress, the difficulty will increase and more levels will unlock. When I did this, I also gained the ability to install a home for phantoms (assisting characters) and other features. Gameplay was interrupted a few times as well. I would get pop ups to purchase more items or phantoms, but this is what every free-to-play mobile game does unfortunately.

The thing I didn’t appreciate was getting push notifications while already playing the game. It should be programmed to know that you are already running the program and should suspend them until after gameplay is finished. You can easily turn off notifications, but I do like getting them sometimes when I am not playing the game. There are some great promotions and events to play at certain times, so I definitely don’t want to turn off my notifications.

There is no shortage of community features and events as well. Easter eggs is just one event that allows players battles and rack up rewards. Inviting friends to help will increase the likelihood of great rewards. Inviting friends is easy; simply add them to your list and send the invite. There is a world chat as well that will post player comments and achievements. Since this is global, I didn’t understand any of the foreign languages that were used in the majority of the chat. Looks like I should have paid better attention in my Korean classes.

phantomgate upgrades phantom

Upgrades and Unlocks

Phantoms can be added to the party throughout the game. Instead of just replacing them with another, stronger phantom later, I could use my items and currency to upgrade them. Upgrading them will improve their abilities. Phantoms can also be evolved. Evolving the phantom will dramatically increase their abilities and unlock new moves. In some cases, evolving the phantom will change their appearance as well.

The main playable characters can be interchanged as well. I began with Astrid, but the rest were locked at first. The other playable characters are Bjorn, Tia, Olivia, and Ragna. These can be unlocked when certain stages are cleared. Each of these is capable of upgrades and skills. Phantomgate does a phenomenal job at options for characters, with tons of skills and features to choose from when unlocked. Strategy is a huge part of battles and every element is taken into account when setting up characters prior to entering the world.

Final Reaction

If you are a fan of JRPGs, this might be right up your alley. The endless levels, strategies, events, and upgrades will give you plenty of reasons to hop back on this game day after day. If you are looking for a game that you can pop in and out of quickly, this is not that game. This is a full-fledged RPG and requires tons of time and commitment. Phantomgate: The Last Valkyrie is far from perfect, but can be easily improved as the developers continue to put out updates. Though the story is lacking and the start of the game is slow, the majority of the game after that will provide a classic RPG experience.

Phantomgate: The Last Valkyrie is available now for free on Android and iOS.

The post Phantomgate: The Last Valkyrie Impressions appeared first on Nerd Reactor.





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