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Phantom Blade Zero not a F2P or Gacha Game, has Dark Souls Mechanics without the Difficulty


Phantom Blade Zero

One of the more intriguing games revealed during last month’s big PlayStation Showcase was Phantom Blade Zero, a new Unreal-Engine-5 action-RPG with dark Soulslike vibes. While the game’s debut trailer, which developer S-Game claims was mostly real in-engine gameplay, certainly looked promising, some still had some reason for concern. The Phantom Blade franchise began life as a series of successful Chinese mobile games, so despite the upgraded presentation, is Phantom Blade Zero a free-to-play product laden with gacha loot boxes and microtransactions?  It turns out, the answer is a firm “no.”

Per a Discord Q&A with developer S-Game (thanks to Eurogamer for the transcription) Phantom Blade Zero will be a premium paid game and players will “be paying for a complete experience. No gacha or microtransaction[s].”

Well, that's good to hear! Of course, F2P gacha games don’t have to be bad, look no further than something like Genshin Impact, but I think most people would prefer a more typical premium release approach for a visually-impressive action-adventure title like Phantom Blade Zero. As for how Phantom Blade Zero will actually play, S-Game admits they’re taking some notes from the Souls games, but they aren’t interested in punishing players the way FromSoftware does…

“We're not going full throttle on difficulty and punishment 'Approachable' is the key here. The idea is that you don't need lightning reflex or supersonic finger movements to find fun in the game.”

Phantom Blade Zero’s debut trailer definitely makes the game look like more of an action rollercoaster than a punishing die-and-retry challenge, and frankly, that sounds okay to me. I mean, listen, I beat Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, so I can hack that FromSoftware challenge if I gotta, but sometimes my old thumbs need a rest. I’ve put them through a lot over the years.

Phantom Blade Zero is coming to PC and PS5. A release date has yet to be announced, although publisher Cruel Man Studio says it’s “coming soon” indicating it’s not too far off. What do you think? Are you intrigued by what you’re hearing and seeing so far? Or is the game just not popping for you?

Written by Nathan Birch

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