Phantom Dust |OT| Out of the ashes, into the Dust


Platform: Xbox One, Windows 10
Release Date: May 16th, 2017
Original Release Date: JP- September 23, 2004 NA- March 15, 2005
Director: Yukio Futatsugi (Panzer Dragoon series)
Genre: Third Person Action/Strategy/TCG
Price: FREE!
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Microsoft Game Studios, Code Mystics
Size: 9.86 GB

PC Minimum Specifications

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E6550 @ 2.33GHz | AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 | AMD Radeon HD 7750
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection

*Also, want to recommend all PC users update to the latest Windows 10 release if applicable

PC issues/fixes:

FOR ANYONE EXPERIENCING INSTANT CRASH ON BOOT UP: Go to your sound settings in windows and in the advanced tab of the properties panel of your audio output, change the sample rate of your audio from 96k hz to 48k hz.

For PC players: Alt + Enter at any time during the game will get you to fullscreen without your taskbar

In the far future, the surface of Earth has become a barely habitable wasteland. A mysterious dust furiously swirls on the surface, causing any who remain exposed to it to slowly lose their memories. As a result, the surviving members of humanity have taken refuge underground, while the memories that explain this downfall of civilization were lost to the dust. Some humans have been gifted with the ability to control this dust, allowing them to manifest and shape their imagination into unbelievable powers. Using this ability to survive the harsh conditions above for limited periods of time, these ”Espers" are sent to the surface to find artifacts of the past known as Ruins. You play as a man newly awoken to this world, one of two discovered in capsules found buried deep underground the perilous surface. Suffering from amnesia like the rest of humanity, you must piece together the puzzle that is your history and help others discover their own in an effort to find out how the world has ended up this way by exploring the decaying world above and recovering these Ruins.

Much of your time in the campaign will be spent outside of combat exploring an underground city, the last stronghold of humanity. During these periods, your free to interact with the cities inhabitants, accept missions, shop for skills, and tinker with your ”Arsenal", a deck of said skills containing various powers of all kinds. There are 374 of these skills available, and when combined with many of the other mechanics at play, allow for a staggering amount of depth in-game. Now let's get started on how this all works during combat:

"Your arsenal has 30 slots and you will normally reserve ~15 of those for Aura Particles (white orbs). Using the white orbs in battle will increase your level, which starts at zero. Almost every skill you use in battle costs Aura. Your Aura regenerates over time, but your maximum Aura is limited by your level. The other 15 slots in your arsenal are used for various skills. You get to decide which 15 you want to place into your arsenal and bring to battle. When the fight begins, four skills or Aura Particles from your arsenal are assigned randomly to the four face buttons on the Xbox controller. In front of you on the battlefield are three regenerating orb spots, each containing an item from your arsenal. All of your orbs will appear here, unless you relocate your base (a skill available in the game). The player can easily overwrite a skill with a new item by standing atop the new skill and pressing the face button you wish to assign the new skill to. Each player normally starts with 20 health points and are defeated when their health reaches zero. The skills are broken down into five different schools: Psycho, Optical, Ki, Nature, and Faith. Each school has six type of skills: Attack, Defense, Special, Erase, Status, or Environment.

An arsenal case will restrict you to one, two, or three schools. One-school arsenal cases regenerate Aura faster, and three skill school cases regenerate Aura slower. The key to building an effective arsenal is devising combos (at least if you'd like to win a few battles over Xbox Live). The combinations that you can dream up when using roughly fifteen skills per arsenal is pretty amazing when you have more than 300 at your disposal. Often times you'll want to use three of the same skill, the maximum allowed in an arsenal. Like decks in a card battle game, your arsenal will need to be tweaked after you learn what works — and more importantly — what doesn't. If you get hooked on the game and make your way to Xbox Live, you will easily eclipse the twenty hours you spend completing the story mode of the game by tenfold, if not more. You will run into all kinds of different arsenals and strategies. You will get new ideas and soon you'll be creating all new arsenals. You'll find that playing with a new arsenal makes the game feels fresh all over again"
In addition to the above information, I'd like to go into some more detail about skills and schools and how they are categorized:


Psycho uses the force to move objects as its base power. The majority of Psycho skills have effective close- to mid-range attacks. Their power of attack is high and is optimal for aggressive battles. Another characteristic of this school is the bountiful number of movement control skills. There are a few technical skills in this school, such as Erase or Status skills; therefore, one would be at a disadvantage if engaged in battle against an opponent who has these types of skills. Those who possess a majority of Psycho skills have a red aura around them.

Optical uses light as its base power. It has many mid- to long-range Attack skills with fast shells. Optical Defense skills have low levels of protection, but they are easy to use and inexpensive. A unique characteristic of this school is its ability to control Level. It is geared toward Espers who appreciate well thought out battles. The Optical school has no effective close-range attacks; therefore, locations that are cluttered and not well suited for mid- to long-range attacks will most likely place Optical skills at a disadvantage. Those who possess a majority of Optical skills have a yellow aura around them.

Ki uses your psychological stamina as its base power. It's filled with skills best suited for close-range battle and skills that knock down opponents. In most cases, powerful Attack skills can't be used repeatedly. It will be a long battle when facing an opponent prepared with Defense skills. Also with this school you can use your will against others; You can erase their skills and interfere with strategies. Those who possess a majority of Ki skills have a blue aura around them.

Nature uses the natural surrounding environment as its base power. With close- to long-range attacks and abundant Defense skills, there is no downside to this school. And with the many variations of Attack skills, there's an infinite selection to choose from. If a weakness must be noted in this school, it would be the high cost associated with using Nature skills compared to those of other schools. Few skills interfere with others, but some skills change the status of everyone, including the Esper who uses it. In addition, few skills of the Nature school would take another by surprise. Those who possess mostly nature skills will have a green aura around them.

Faith uses your will as its base power. The many powerful skills in this school have a high Cost or take away Health when used. Shell speed is slow, but homing on these is quite accurate. Many Faith skills can reverse a battle situation, but they are typically difficult to use. Those who possess a majority of Faith skills have a purple aura around them.


Attack (Red)
Attack Skills inflict damage in opponents. The effective range for each Attack Skill varies, so it is important to select Skills that match your fighting technique.

Defense (Blue)
Defense Skills defend from enemy attacks. The types of Defense Skills available vary in nature. While some merely defend from attacks, others reflect attacks back at the enemy.

Annul (Purple)
Annul Skills annual or lower Level parameters and Skill parameters of the target.

Status (Green)
Status Skills change various parameters of the target, including Speed, Attack, and Defense.

Special Skills are Skills with special effects that do not come under the five other categories. Skillful use of Special Skills can dramatically turn the tides of battle.

Environment (Azure)
These unique Skills change the conditions of the field.

That's a lot to take in, I know. Once you're in-game though, I promise the experience is a lot more natural to learn. Mainly, what I want to stress to newcomers looking to succeed is experimentation. While picking tried and true skills will get you wins in the beginning, you will quickly find players who are constantly tweaking their decks as they uncover flaws and new strategies, the players who think outside of the box and realize there's more to the game than simply landing and defending attacks, those are the people who will be rewarded in the long run. Players who come with experience in fighting games, in shooting games, in card games, in strategy games; this is the game where the skills developed from playing those genres need to be used simultaneously to truly succeed.

Where's the Phantom Dust reboot?
Its lost to the dust now.

Differences between this and original release?

  • Various graphical enhancements including improved framerate consistency (30fps) and resolution.
  • Multiplayer arsenal customization available immediately
  • Free DLC starter pack that gives you 33 skills available immediately
  • Various glitch fixes
  • Newest iteration of Xbox Live allows for Arena, Club, LFG, GameDVR, and Beam/Twitch streaming features

What about the 74 DLC skills, will those have to unlocked like the original release?
The 74 DLC skills will actually be coming shortly after release, and are confirmed to be easier to unlock when they launch.

Is this an Xbox Play Anywhere supported title?

Is cross-play supported between W10 and Xbox players?

Loving that soundtrack, can I hear some more?
Got you fam, just click here:

I'm also going to include this comment from our very own Ishmae1, AKA Adam Isgreen, that might answer a few more questions:

Let me clear the air a bit. I'm Adam Isgreen (mods feel free to verify), the guy talking in the interview.

My bad for not correcting Nick immediately on remaster vs. re-release. We had a fire drill go off during the interview (random, yes), and that certainly disrupted the flow of the conversation, as we picked up in the middle after I could get back in the building.

My personal story on PD is that I missed it on the original Xbox. I'm pretty ashamed of that since I adore all of Futatsugi-san's games, have all of the Panzers in both Japanese and English, including Saga (SEGA GIVE IT TO CODE MYSTICS!), and I somehow missed this game.

I first played it after hearing Phil mention that he constantly gets asked about it by press / fans on Twitter. Grabbed it on 360 BC. After the first hour I thought "what is all the fuss about?". It starts slow and doesn't pick up until you get past Chapter 2 and can build arsenals (decks), which can be a good two hours into the game. Once that happens in campaign, and when you start to play multiplayer, this light goes on and you realize how deep and amazing this game is at its heart. 13 years and there's no perfect deck to the game. Stick skill and deck planning are equally as important. Teamwork is insanely rewarding. There's a skill that does anything you can possibly imagine you could do in arena-based combat.

Consider me converted. I get it now. More people need to grok this game. I'm part of the cult, and that's OK, because it's a great cult to be in.

The game is a re-release of the 2004 game with improvements that were possible to do without having final source code. I get that many just don't care about that point (should you need to?) but it is what it is and it is a huge deal to not have access to source yet try to improve things anyway. Could we have done more if we had working final source code? Yes, without a doubt, but that wasn't the case.

Let me add that Code Mystics (the development team) are absolute ninjas. This was a 2004 4:3 game. They cracked open and rewrote the renderer, fixed the culling (making the screen display 16x9 is only the first part of the issue), added LIVE support, enabled easy balance tuning, got cross-play working, re-enabled hundreds of custom shaders and VFX (DX8 to DX11 is not a fun conversion, I've learned), made UI changes, and got the framerate to a massively stable 30 FPS on any machine / platform, all while not being able to truly modify the game at its core. That is a feat. Likely you have to be in development to appreciate that, but it's not easy work.

Why isn't it 60 FPS?
The entire engine was built around the game running at 30 FPS. Everything in the code and data is either frames @ 30, assumes 30, or hard-coded to expect 30 FPS.

The frame rate averages 30 FPS now on a wide range of systems. The worst dips we've seen are to 26/27 in certain moments. This is massively improved from the original (for those that played it) which would drop into the teens constantly on destruction events.

Here's PC min-specs:
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E6550 @ 2.33GHz | AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 | AMD Radeon HD 7750
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection

It's an XPA title, so cross-play and cross-saves are supported.

Why original assets?
Because we didn't have source is the major reason, and also because for a 2004 game, it holds up well in comparison to other games from that time. That's subjective of course, but we're trying to capture and preserve what PD was, not re-create it. It was funky, certainly, and that's part of its DNA.

Why wasn't a date / price announced?
We're re-releasing PD because we love its unique gameplay and style. Everyone here at MS wants PD to get a chance to be played, so sometimes dates, price, and how to get it broad exposure is debated a lot. Gold? Not? Free? Not? Other programs? It goes back and forth, and many different groups are in that discussion. The short of it is that we want everyone to be able to play PD, so you can expect it'll be priced accordingly.

OMG there's micro-transactions?!
Yes, to accelerate multiplayer deck building. It is completely optional. The campaign gets you a lot of skills and credits to use just by playing through it. You also earn skills and credits just by playing MP as well. PD already has a skill shop, credits, random "junk" packs, rare skills, and everything you'd seen in games today -- and it did all that in 2004.

There's also free skills and a deck case you get to start MP off with, so that if you don't want to play the campaign, you don't have to.

Graphics are dated, meme.jpg, etc.
Yep! It's a game from 2004. We preserved its look, but really you shouldn't be hung up on looks here because this is a player's game, not a looker's game. Design-wise and mechanically, you will not find another game that plays like it, even today (closest in feeling is MOBAs, actually).

Sometimes (well, OK, often) we make games to make money, but this re-release isn't focused on that. It's about recognizing something unique and novel, and allowing more people to discover it. PD's play - especially multiplayer - is completely unique and (IMO) very, very fun. It never got a chance to prove that on its original (limited) release, so now more people get to discover it, which is all we want out of it.

So I'll simply close by saying play first, then judge. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts once it's out (@Ishmae1) and I'll be happy to discuss it with you.

PhantomGAF- The Xbox Live Club for GAF players interested in the game, make sure you accept the invitation after expressing interest.
Phantom Dusted - An excellent resource/social site and helpful in obtaining a lot of info in the OT, it's probably the best place to go for anyone interested in the game. Also, want to say thanks to GAF member Phreaker for allowing me to use information from the site and providing some handy reference material. I'm also going to take the opportunity to link a few of the websites tools available for players, including an interactive arsenal builder created by forum user Oltranzista and a full skill list ( HTML web page version).
Phantom Dust Strategy Wiki - another great resource, come here if there's any terms or mechanics your having issue with.
How to Play Phantom Dust - The Basics
E3 2016 Reveal Trailer
Microsoft's What is Phantom Dust?
Polygon's Exclusive: 19 Minutes of PHANTOM DUST HD Re-Release Gameplay
Polygon's E3 2016 Shannon Loftis Phantom Dust Interview
Waypoint's The Legacy of Cult Classic 'Phantom Dust'
SinglePlayerGamer's Phantom Dust for Xbox

Original release reviews:

Current Metacritic - 81

Famitsu - 9/10

Total Games - 9/10

Gaming Trend - 9/10

Worth Playing - 9/10

Play Magazine - 8.8/10

Gaming Nexus - 8.8/10

GameZone - 8.7/10

Bonus stage - 8.7/10

Xbox Evolved - 8.7/10

Talk Xbox - 8.6/10

IGN - 8.5/10

Gamespot - 8.5/10

Game Over Online - 8.5/10

1UP - 8.5/10

G4 TV - 8/10

Yahoo! - 8/10

EGM - 8/10

CCC - 8/10

GameSpy - 8/10

Edge - 7/10

Game Informer - 7/10
.Gifs (Courtesy of GAF member Gestault):

Before ending this OT, I would like to take some time to discuss the importance of this rerelease. It's no secret that compared to 2004, the videogame landscape has changed considerably. More to the point, Microsoft's presence in that industry has changed considerably. The time of odd and diverse titles that decorated Microsoft's original console has passed and many fans of that era have been left with a feeling of uncertainty towards Xbox's future in games. With that said, seeing Phantom Dust, one of the best examples of the creativity and unconventional ideas that defined the OG Xbox library, back in the year 2017 certainly seems like a step in the right direction. This is a game that has no peers to compare it to, that takes mechanics from several genres and then blends them thoroughly and seamlessly, and all while having an art style and presentation that's truly unique. More importantly, this is a game A LOT of people never had the opportunity to even play. The game was originally a Japanese Xbox exclusive that was almost never localized until Majesco, a now defunct North American publisher, released the game in the states as a budget title with a limited print run, little to no marketing, and only 8 months before the release of the Xbox 360. Additionally, the Japanese release was only a few months after the infamous cancellation of True Fantasy Live Online, a move that hurt the reputation of the original Xbox, and arguably Xbox in general a great deal in Japan. It was also just flat out never released anywhere else (including the entirety of Europe). It goes without saying the audience for the original game was as small as possible, to the point where even a port 13 years later could possibly see more of audience now than it ever did in its prime now that it's no longer tied down by regional availability, print run, or disabled servers. Hopefully this is more of a sign of things to come over at Microsoft, as the original Xbox is filled with these types of experiences. However for now, I think it's time to hop back in and put my Arsenal to work!
Good job Zeta, as always. Also, I would recommend in the OT (of almost every XPA/W10) that they update to the latest Windows 10 release (So in this case Creators Update) and/or also update their Windows 10 Store before attempting to download.

I don't have windows 10 or an Xbox and this is legit in my top 5 of all time.

I remember putting 50+ hours in just the DEMO.

The fact this is free means there will be a community for A LONG time once people catch its vibe.

I don't have windows 10 or an Xbox and this is legit in my top 5 of all time.

I remember putting 50+ hours in just the DEMO.

The fact this is free means there will be a community for A LONG time once people catch its vibe.
If you have a MS account (xbox acct is the same) you can still at least "buy" it (even tho it's free)...and play it when you do.
Also, want to add a bit of a disclaimer to newcomers:

If your going right into the SP, things don't pick until Chapter 3, prior is pretty much a tutorial for a lot of the above information.

All ill say is that you'll know when its time, cause you will have earned it.
I'll check this out, missed it on og xbox despite owning the previous Panzer games (save for Saga). The card battling has me a little wary as I'm fairly hesitant on combat systems that rely on collectibles, but free is free, I'll give it a try.
I'll check this out, missed it on og xbox despite owning the previous Panzer games (save for Saga). The card battling has me a little wary as I'm fairly hesitant on combat systems that rely on collectibles, but free is free, I'll give it a try.
the actual gameplay doesn't feel like a CCG, it's just more or less the closest metaphor they could come up with to describe how you build your suite of skills to take into it. It wasn't hard at all in the original to get a complete deck.

a more accurate way to describe it is that it's a DBZ-style third person brawler where you have to collect the attacks to put into your queue
I just gotta gloat a little ... I called it being given for free. But I assumed it would be a June XBLG game or announced for free at E3. Either way.... this offering will give PD a fighting chance of creating some good buzz and hopefully some momentum and proof to Phil and team that a proper new game is indeed worth it. This game feels almost like it's its own marketing survey.

So excited to play again and to try out multiplayer! I never played the MP much while I had my original XBL account and by the time I revisited the game it was already shut down.
Awesome OT Zeta! Never tried the original but I'm looking forward to checking this out.

I also think business wise releasing it for free with MTs will probably generate more interest and potential revenue from this in the long run rather than releasing it for $15-$20.
Also, want to add a bit of a disclaimer to newcomers:

If your going right into the SP, things don't pick until Chapter 3, prior is pretty much a tutorial for a lot of the above information.

All ill say is that you'll know when its time, cause you will have earned it.
Yeah, the game unfortunately starts kind of slow. The pacing for the single player in general is kind of leisurely. It's still fun and the story is fantastic, but new players should recognize the real praise for this game is based on the multiplayer suite. Don't give the single player 20 minutes and then give up, you'd be missing out.
quick question

can I do co-op without PvP?

I hate forced PvP and would rather just blast enemies with buddies. I love action rpg's with cards ever since lost kingdoms on the gamecube
This was my Demon's Souls. This was the quirky Japanese game with solid mechanics way ahead of its time (nothing has come close to its gameplay design yet) that nobody bought. It never had its zeitgeist moment. I really hope it finds its wings this time around.
quick question

can I do co-op without PvP?

I hate forced PvP and would rather just blast enemies with buddies. I love action rpg's with cards ever since lost kingdoms on the gamecube
Unfortunately not.

However, if the game gets popular enough...

Who knows what they can change?

I mean, you do have to select a partner for SP missions but that's A.I. , I wonder what it would take to mod it and make your partner player controllable.
True I'd pay $100.00 bucks for this game. It's more the idea I don't want/need to upgrade windows or buy an xbox to play it.
Sooner or later you are going to upgrade to Windows 10. These games are gonna become more and more Windows 10 and less 7 or 8 You may come across another time where you'd wish u were upgraded again. Windows 7 will only last but so long. But keep fighting as long as you can, I'm just saying it's gonna get harder.

At least they are giving you two options, Windows 10 or Xbox and not JUST Xbox.