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Promising 2023 mech strategy game is getting the upgrades it deserves

Mech strategy game and tactical RPG Phantom Brigade is getting some welcome upgrades in its next update from developer Brace Yourself Games.

Phantom Brigade update 1.2 adds the combat variety it needs - A red and grey mech stomps through a forest.

There’s a lot to like about Phantom Brigade. Launched on Steam in February 2023 after several years in early access on the Epic Games Store, the indie tactical RPG blends gorgeous mech designs with an interesting combat system that pulls from the likes of the best mech strategy games such as BattleTech and Into The Breach. The result is a game with satisfying battles that make you feel really smart for solving its combat puzzles, but one that ultimately feels a little too repetitive as you progress through its campaign. Fortunately, developer Brace Yourself Games has some welcome upgrades on the way in Phantom Brigade patch 1.2 that I’m very excited about.

The new Phantom Brigade update is set to bring a lot more variety to its encounters and combat, which is probably the one thing it needs most to help elevate it to the ranks of the best strategy games this year. I love the format of its combat, where you predict your foes’ movements and orchestrate slick countermeasures before watching it play out in real time, with the towns and environments crumbling and shattering around you as your mechs do battle among them.

However, while the challenge of seeing your enemies’ plans ahead of time and coordinating your response is quite satisfying in the short-term as you master the systems, the lack of real variety to missions means you become a little too adept at handling situations, and you aren’t provided with the long-term challenge offered by similar games such as Into The Breach. Fortunately, the team says it’s currently hard at work on improving this aspect.

“We took your feedback to heart and prioritized addressing one of the most common notes: combat variety,” Brace Yourself Games says in its latest developer update. “We’ve worked hard to improve on that front, making new locations, scenarios, and systems allowing for greater variety.” The developer says it was hoping to launch Phantom Brigade update 1.2 before the end of December, but decided it wanted “a little more time to cook,” so is instead aiming to put it out in January.

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Here’s a full breakdown of everything that Brace Yourself Games says we can expect in Phantom Brigade update 1.2:

  •  New mission types attached to commonly encountered entities such as convoys, patrols, and military bases.
  • New combat maps attached to commonly encountered location types.
  • Streamlined contest mechanics preventing an indefinite raiding state and deprioritizing repetitive patrol encounters.
  • New special encounters you’ll need to complete to finish province liberation.
  • By popular request, an ability to replay the last turn of combat
  • Projectile prediction system helping you foresee and evade individual shots before they happen.
  • A new way to upgrade your favorite equipment to a higher level.
  • And more!

That’s certainly got me excited for what 2024 holds, and I’m not alone. Phantom Brigade currently holds a ‘mostly positive’ Steam rating of 82%, which is certainly very respectable – but read through the reviews and you’ll find plenty of comments also expressing the sentiment that they really love the game’s core, but that it falls a little short on long-term replayability. Hopefully, these changes should make Phantom Brigade the game it has the potential to be.

While we await the next update, satisfy that need for the crunching and clunking of metal on metal with the best robot games, or test your strategic limits with the best turn-based RPGs on PC.

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