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Latest Phantom Blade Zero trailer sure makes it look like an over-powered Sekiro

Words about swords

A picture of Dark Raider, protagonist of Phantom Blade Zero, swinging a sword around in a rainy, muddy courtyard
Image credit: S-Game

Before we get to the latest trailer for S-Game's soulslike Phantom Blade Zero I have a couple of complaints to lodge about the title. Firstly, this game clearly contains a non-zero quantity of blades, from whacking great axes to katanas. Secondly, I do not accept the premise that these are phantom blades. They are very obviously non-spectral, going by the amount of stabbing and clanging on show in the video. With these potentially ruinous caveats out of the way, I am now free to tell you more about a game that looks like it's out to eat Sekiro's lunch.

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To phrase things in more clinical terms, Phantom Blade Zero is a "semi open-world" action-RPG with artifacts to find, skills to unlock and a broody, feudal-yet-mechanical "kungfupunk" setting. It's a spiritual follow-up of sorts to the developer's 2010 turn-based RPG Rainblood for mobile.

Ed liked the cut of last year's announcement trailer, but was a shade ambivalent about the shortage of in-game footage. The new trailer seeks to lay Ed's fears to rest with a montage of combos, parries, stealthy executions and bosses with names such as Commander Cleave. There's at least one highly Soulsy ambush in which the player has to dodge an exploding bear hug, and a Jade Dancer who reminds me of any number of very annoying, Malenia-adjacent high agility bosses. But this is being framed as more of a power fantasy than Souls - the trailer shows you staggering larger opponents with relative ease and hurling projectiles back to sender like something out of God Of War.

I'll be seeing a new 30 minute demo of Phantom Blade Zero up close at Summer Game Fest over the weekend. I have reasonably high hopes for it, though I must acknowledge the eternally ominous presence of QTEs in the footage above. Do you have any thoughts I can steal and turn into interview questions?

The flurry of summer games events are now underway! Hit up our Summer Game Fest 2024 hub and our Day Of The Devs roundup for all the news worth caring about from the shows so far.

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