Original Xbox cult classic Phantom Dust has just been re-released for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Those curious will want to check this out as Microsoft made this action-strategy game with collectible cards available for the low price of free.
Phantom Dust is available to download now from the Microsoft Store for both the Xbox One and Windows 10. This is a slightly remastered re-release that includes Play Anywhere support for cross-play between the console and PC.
A number of other improvements have also been made with this re-release. Phantom Dust now supports 16:9 widescreen along with the ability to render at 1080p on both PC and Xbox One plus 4K for PC. Achievements have also been added to the title, since the OG Xbox did not support them.
While the game is free to download and play, Microsoft has added free and paid DLC to the game. A free Multiplayer Starter Pack is available with over 30 cards to get Phantom Dust players right into the game. Meanwhile, the paid DLC is for “accelerants” for multiplayer so players can gain skills quickly.
“We haven’t changed anything about the way that the original game worked; we’ve just added this as a convenience thing,” Microsoft Studios Adam Isgreen told Polygon. “So if people want to grind and they want to play exactly like they did when the original game came out, that is all in place. Everything about how the game works and functions is there. We really wanted to allow people to jump into multiplayer and play immediately.”
Additionally, the single-player story also received a significant change for those that found the game too difficult to get into. Players will be able to skip missions and still earn the rewards after failing a mission three times.
“You still get your rewards, and we’re OK with that,” Isgreen explained.
“There are some achievements that are tied to not skipping and doing challenging things, so if people just want to experience the wonderful story of Phantom Dust, that’s definitely one way they can do it.”
Phantom Dust was originally released for the Xbox in Japan in September 2004 with a western release in a few months later in March 2015. Development at Microsoft Game Studio was led by Yukio Futatsugi (Panzer Dragoon) with the intention to create a game attractive to Japanese gamers to help the new console gain a footprint there.
It was well-received at the time with the highly-regarded Japanese magazine Famitsu giving the game a 9 out of 10 and ultimately earned an 81 Metacritic score. The game earned praise for how it combined action and strategy together through the collectible card game along with its sense of style and soundtrack. The multiplayer received praise as well, though not every game reviewer bought into the plot or gameplay mechanics.
Unfortunately, gamers at the time didn’t completely buy into the game’s concept either. This is why the game is considered a cult classic and something that Microsoft hasn’t successfully revisited despite calls from fans for a sequel, remake, or reboot.
Microsoft originally announced a Phantom Dust reboot at E3 2014 with indie developer Darkside Game Studios via a snazzy CGI teaser trailer. Unfortunately, the two clashed over the game’s scope and budget until the studio was removed from the project and the reboot put on hiatus.
Isgreen and a small team at Microsoft Studios elected to use internal funds to create a re-release of the project, though a complete reboot of the franchise is still on the table. The work included hacking into the code of the original game and reverse engineering it as not all of the source code was available.
[Featured Image by Microsoft Studios]