Taking inspiration from action-adventure games such as Devil May Cry, the upcoming Phantom Hellcat is setting the stage for an intriguing and perhaps even exhilarating debut. Originally announced at Gamescom 2022, we got a press only, hands-off presentation to learn a bit more about the game.
Rarely is the theme of theater explored in video game form, but Phantom Hellcat is very much all about the stage. What immediately drew me in was the art style, which has the more cardboard, theater-prop aesthetic that you'll find in traditional plays. Phantom Hellcat changes perspectives from 2D platforming segments to 3D action sequences, so you see different views of the stage as you play.
We're told the theater is a prison for evil entities, so as you progress through different themed areas, the environments will become more and more corrupted. While looking over the concept art, I noticed a backstage area. If you look behind a theater production, it's a bit like seeing how the sausage is made -- the mechanisms and props are all wooden and lack the color you see on the front. I'm excited to explore these areas as the concept art had a spooky ambiance.
But as with any action-adventure, combat is at the forefront of the experience. Phantom Hellcat promises to be a stylish and adrenaline-fueled adventure. You're given a primary and secondary weapon as well as a whole suite of skills. Skills are used by using masks, which allow you to dash and do other special and flashy moves. Switching masks in the middle of combat in order to use different skills seems to be where the "meat" of Phantom Hellcat lies.
Drawing more similarities to Devil May Cry, you can juggle enemies in the air. Whilst in the air, you're able to switch masks and rack up points in a combo. Combos will be important in Phantom Hellcat, and there's also a good incentive to wrack up as many points as possible. If you achieve the highest score possible, you'll get an "encore" which summons an optional wave of enemies. This new battle has extra parameters and, if you're successful, you get both a collectible as well as sweet, sweet gratification.
And indeed, if you are a collectible junky, you should expect to find some hidden secrets in Phantom Hellcat. They come in the form of audio logs and provide extra lore to bolster the main story. If you want to just experience the main story, you should be able to get the full picture without the need of extra lore, but there's more info for the more investigative individuals out there.
The premise of said story is rather simple: The mother of protagonist Jolene is kidnapped, and she has to rescue. I know there's a lot more depth to it and I'm interested in why the world looks like a theater and learn more about Jolene in general. Looking at concept art that was provided to me, Jolene has a lot of attitude and style, which is something fitting for a flashy action-adventure such as this.
While there isn't a great deal of information out there concerning Phantom Hellcat, it was good to have a developer walk through the creation process for the game. On top of that, the graphics and gameplay itself look pretty solid from the clips I've seen. I think there's a lack of action-adventure games like Devil May Cry out there and the developer definitely acknowledges this. You can put this one on your radar if you're a fan of the genre, since there seems to be a lot of love and care put into this game.