Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Donate to Codex
Good Old Games
  • Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.

Game News Phantom Brigade Released

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
96,881
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: Brace Yourself Games; Phantom Brigade

We first posted about Phantom Brigade, the dynamic mech tactical RPG from Crypt of the NecroDancer developer Brace Yourself Games, some four and a half years ago. No doubt few people remember that the game was originally conceived under a different studio two and a half years prior to that, or that it was originally turn-based before switching to a more novel Frozen Synapse-like combat system. After over two years on the Epic Games Store with no fewer than twenty-one updates, the game finally launched out of Early Access today. Its launch trailer is pretty similar in tone to the original Early Access trailer.


Phantom Brigade is a hybrid real-time and turn-based tactical RPG, focusing on in-depth customization and player-driven stories. As the last surviving squad of mech pilots, you must capture enemy equipment and facilities to level the playing field. Outnumbered and out-gunned, lead the Phantom Brigade through a desperate campaign to retake their war-torn homeland.

KEY FEATURES:
  • Cinematic spin on the turn-based genre – Predict enemy movements, orchestrate precisely timed countermeasures, and hit “execute” to watch the physics-based action unfold in real time.
  • An exquisite arsenal – Railguns, beam weapons, missiles, energy swords, and more! Rain destruction down upon your homeland’s invaders with weaponry salvaged from each enemy mech you defeat.
  • Strategy – Make high-level tactical decisions on the world map, manage your mobile base, and decide how to apply your limited resources.
  • Tactical combat – Take command of your squad in varied missions ranging from sabotage of enemy equipment and convoy ambushes to liberation battles and challenging outpost onslaughts.
  • Customization – Featuring a rich customization system, Phantom Brigade enables you to fine-tune the performance of your mechs, install a wide selection of equipment, and access a wealth of cosmetic options. Prepare your squad for any challenge - in style.
  • Highly moddable – Phantom Brigade has been designed from the ground up to be highly player moddable. Mix things up by playing the game with a community mod enabled, or try your hand at creating your own modded masterpiece!
  • Destructible environments – It's not a proper game about giant mechs without destructible buildings! Phantom Brigade allows every square meter of each battle map to be destroyed. Shatter your enemy’s cover and collapse buildings on top of them!

According to the reviews at PC Gamer and Rock Paper Shotgun, Phantom Brigade has an impressive combat engine, but is let down by a bare-bones and repetitive overarching campaign. That seems to be a dealbreaking flaw to them, but perhaps some Codexers will disagree. If you'd like to give it a shot, the game is available on Steam for $30 with a 20% launch discount until next week.
 

Late Bloomer

Scholar
Joined
Apr 7, 2022
Messages
2,642
It looks like the mechs are human size and the buildings are really small. Have any of these games ever made a convincing town/cityscape that conveys the scale of the mechs?
 

thesheeep

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 16, 2007
Messages
9,884
Location
Tampere, Finland
Codex 2012 Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming! Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth

He seemed to agree with the reviews saying that the basic combat mechanics are great, but there is a lack of abilities to spice things up.
Basically, your mechs seem to only be able to walk/run, shoot, shield, wait and that's pretty much it. No special abilities.

Which means even the interesting time-based combat will get old pretty quickly.
Not sure if more stuff is unlocked later in the campaign.
 

Modron

Arcane
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
9,683
Basically, your mechs seem to only be able to walk/run, shoot, shield, wait and that's pretty much it. No special abilities.
I mean even in the demo we saw some things like burst dash in a straight line movement abilities on those two ai troops we took over for a mission. For those that have the game do part mods add abilities? I only captured a torso with a basic mod in it during the demo.
 

Joyvankek

Learned
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
269

He seemed to agree with the reviews saying that the basic combat mechanics are great, but there is a lack of abilities to spice things up.
Basically, your mechs seem to only be able to walk/run, shoot, shield, wait and that's pretty much it. No special abilities.

Which means even the interesting time-based combat will get old pretty quickly.
Not sure if more stuff is unlocked later in the campaign.

That sucks.
Trailer looks good enough, though level design is kind of meh.
 

thesheeep

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 16, 2007
Messages
9,884
Location
Tampere, Finland
Codex 2012 Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming! Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth

He seemed to agree with the reviews saying that the basic combat mechanics are great, but there is a lack of abilities to spice things up.
Basically, your mechs seem to only be able to walk/run, shoot, shield, wait and that's pretty much it. No special abilities.

Which means even the interesting time-based combat will get old pretty quickly.
Not sure if more stuff is unlocked later in the campaign.

That sucks.
Trailer looks good enough, though level design is kind of meh.

I watched a streamer play it today and it does look like gear that you can get later does unlock some more attacks or movement options.
But the beginning is probably going to be quite samey.
 

Humanophage

Arcane
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
4,960
Doubt it's an RPG, but very based logo.
npq8Lrf.png
 

HedgeGizard

Literate
Joined
Feb 17, 2023
Messages
18
How woke is this? I perused some of the pre-release media and saw several high yella mulattresses, which is usually a hard skip. Are they merely cosmetic, DEI-investment mulattresses or do they have prominent story roles?
 

spectre

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
5,355
Demo'ed it today. Not entirely sure if it was version 1.0 cause even though the date checked out, the game didn't feel like a 1.0 at all.
Especially the beginning felt like it was thrown together in a rush. Then re-cut. Then thrown together once more. Still, 2-3 hours in and it seems that all the systems are in place.
In this time, I did the tutorial, which involves liberating one province and dipped my toe in the second one, some skirmishes and few raids.

Two things to get straight out of the way:
1) This is not an RPG. It's a WEGO Frozen Synapse thingie with customizable mechs. You have a strategic map where move around in your mobile HQ
and liberate am occupied nation region after region. You get a bunch of mech pilots, none of them have any meaningful stats (there's personality,
which doesn't seem to do anything), just a tally of engagements and enemies killed. You can re-customize these pilots with a click of a button
and they have a paragraph worth of backstory that also doesn't do anything. So far I haven't interacted with any characters of note,
it was mostly generic combat radio chatter.

2) Since y'all mostly bothered by how woke it is, the story seems barely there (which might be a good thing, the writing in the tutorial was really poor)
and I haven't come across any missions that would form together any sort of narrative (raided a bunch of depots, fought some scouts, patrols and supply convoys).
One eye-rolling thing is they have pronoun selection for character customization and the Type A Type B body nonsense. So far, none of this had any bearing on the game.

OK. The game then.
As I said, I only barely dipped my toe, I haven't played Frozen Synapse. I tried, it just doesn't click, but that may be a me problem. Last WEGO game I completed was Battle Bugs.
This implementation is rather wonky (I blame the interface and poor tutorials, also quite a lot of mechanics are rather oblique), but I'm willing to give it a serious try... if only because it's not yet another EXCUM clone.

So, what do we have here. Like I said, WEGO squad tactics, you get animu-styled battlemechs with fully cutomizable parts - main weapon, sidearm, torso, a set of legs and two arms. Each
have different stats like weight, HP, heat dissipation, and as you throw them together you'll get varying performance from your mechs. You start with two, but I was quicky able to get to four.
Maximum seems to be about 6, but it's possible to have controllable friendly units as well.

You get new stuff mostly through salvage, which is done in a mechwarrior-ey fashion - you choose your picks after battle, depending on what you killed and how damaged it was.
Some components have slots for powerups, and you can mix and match those.

Like I said, the battles are WEGO, you plan your moves in segments of 5 seconds. Apparently, due to some mumbo-jumbo-magicky-scify precognition tech you are able to see what the
enemy will do in the next segment and react with your troops. There's plenty of weapon types, melee and all kinds of guns, offering all sorts of trade offs in regards to effective range, rate of fire and damage types.
There's also rocket artillery, but I've yet to get any. Most of the battlefields were similar environments, either urban or forested. The graphics are simplistic and sometimes can feel too cartooney,
but there's a lot of shit getting blown up and demolished, buildings, trees, etc.

On the strategic map, you drive around a mobile HQ on a 3D map of a country, you mostly want to scout out points of interest while evading unwanted enemy attention. Once you feel confident,
you give the go signal to other friendly troops which expect you assistance in fights to actually liberate the province. Once you're done, you move on to the next one, supposedly with more challenge.
There's a bunch of upgrades available to your mobile HQ, which unlocks different functions such as stealth, better sensor, crafting, etc.

Hard to say anything about the AI and difficulty at this point. For now most fights were rather easy, but that's the starter area.
One enemy patrol equipped with just rocket launchers was able to fuck me up royally.
The AI sometimes behaves weirdly, like ejecting from an otherwise healthy mech.

I'll need more time give a more in-depth assessment, there are things that can be worrying (for starters, is the game actually finished?),
the initial impression isn't bad (seems less shitty than harebraine'd battletech, but it's not a terribly high bar), sandbox mech combat is something I can dig,
I'm a bit worried if the game has enough lasting appeal. Main concern being the challenge (the AI doesn't seem spectacular and the game's systems look easy to break) and variety.
 

Crescent Hawk

Cipher
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
Messages
642
Yes its much better than battletech. Although I dont think the battle system will be fun for everyone, very micro, doing movie editing combat in a timeline is a bit meh excuse for gameplay. Not a whole lot of abilities. While the art segments of lore ingame looks cool the pilots look really dumb, and the story is very weak. I mean they are going for a semi realistic scenario war here but it feels very limp.

That said, everything else is stelar, whoever did the mech animations did a phenomeanl job. The mechs are a joy to watch, and the enviroment looks amazing for people who like miniatures and combat vehicles. Also the game runs well while battletech was a huge fucking unoptimized mess.

Cant really be more pissed at it, its a well made game, my main gripes is that it could be much more. But seeing as mech games are rarer than wild bees I will take it.

Shit man, there will never be a gungriffon sim game.


Ps forgot to say the destructible environment is really great.
 

Tyranicon

A Memory of Eternity
Developer
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
5,552
I'm pretty deep in the game by now. Phantom Brigade has to be one of those games that has so much promise, but let down by poor balancing and downright silly game design.

Missiles outclass all other weapons. The most recent patch only nerfed the amount of enemy units with missiles, but did not touch anything with the player's units.

Not sure how the devs thought this was balanced in any way.

Edit: Removed my previous post about higher-level gear because my levl 4 rare missile launchers still outperform level 15 rare machine guns, so there's no point.
 
Last edited:

spectre

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
5,355
Is it just scenarios instead of cohesive missions; like Skyfox?
One way to describe it would be "guerilla warfare sandbox." Now, before someone screams Jagg--- this reads better than it actually is.
While you have some freedom to move around on a 3D map and pick your fights (there's plenty of tools you can unlock, from smoke grenades which let you evade encounters,
to all kinds of better sensors. You can use a limited battery charge to go faster or get cloaked), sometimes you'll withdraw to lick your wounds and resupply,
but even with my limited time in the game, I can already see loads of repetition. I'm hoping to see a bit more interesting emergent gameplay,
but so far I was screwed by a random event which immobilized me for 8 hours in enemy territory. Saw a few more, they were mostly minor fluff
and "slice of military life" things.

Unless something fundamentally shakes things up as the game progresses, liberating the entire country worth of 20 regions looks to be a tedious affair.
There doesn't seem to be a great variety of missions and the battlefields aren't that big. The tactical gameplay is mostly about managing weapon ranges
and LoS obstructions while executing simple flanks. There is some nuance, like using shields which offer short-term directional protection, there's dashing for fast repositioning
and knocking things about - there are very simple rules for collisions (heavier knocks down lighter), and you need to watch for friendly fire, but there's nothing in terms of stealth and electronic warfare to spice things up.

While I'm having fun so far, watching my troops get more proficient, bit by bit, the game feels undercooked.
Optimization wise, it runs on Unity, so my expectations were low, but other than taking its sweet time to launch, it ran pretty smoothly and with no crashes so far.
 

Quatlo

Arcane
Joined
Nov 15, 2013
Messages
936
I was expecting something like Highfleet when it comes to the "guerilla" theme, but there is nothing like that. If anything this feels more like hack and slash grinding for random drops that will fit your build than actually scrapping by with random stuff, ammo, etc. There is no resources you need to care about, anything. Only thing this game is missing is Bobby Ray's online store.
Combat is both easy and tedious, because you know what the enemy will do you play against the AI dumbness, when they shoot you hide behind a rock, then you walk out and you shoot, wait for heat to dissipate, fire again. You have different health points for different body parts, but only way you'd actually care about it is when you don't want to damage some speciific part so you can loot more stuff. Tbh Frozen Synapse is way more interesting game when it comes to combat.
 

spectre

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
5,355
It's weird that the concept of limited ammo isn't in the game. Sure, engagements only last a dozen or so seconds, but it would sure help to keep some of the weapons in check... although that's maybe more on the player side.
The AI looks rather poor so far and needs all the help it can get. It's only semi-threatening if there's multiple rocker launchers in open terrain ganking up on one of your guys.
That was pretty much the only time I've lost a pilot.... until I learned to dash-dodge this crap.

I wonder if there's even a time limit in the game. So far the strategy map is awfully lenient.
I'm still waiting to see if there are even any counterattacks, cause so far it seems that if you liberate something, it stays this way.

Dunno, I want to like this game, but four provinces in and I'm starting to get weary with the same old, same old.
I can only wank to my team of four running circles around the hapless AI for so long, despite being one level behind the curve and I wasn't feeling much incentive to adjust my tactics.
I'm wondering if there's even a point researching some HQ unlocks to preserve a modicum of challenge. I already barred myself from using high mobility rocket spam,
because that would be way too easy.
 
Last edited:

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.
Back
Top Bottom