Microsoft's Phantom Dust remaster brings the cult Xbox classic to PCs, for free

The 2004 cult classic finally makes good on the re-release promises of years past, though Microsoft downscaled from a remake to a remaster in the process.

Phantom Dust
Credit: Phantom Dust

I can’t pretend to understand every twist and turn in the Phantom Dust saga. At E3 2014 Microsoft announced a complete remake of the 2004 Xbox game, helmed by Darkside Studios. Then Microsoft killed the remake (and the studio) and decided to go in-house for a remaster instead.

And now the remaster is releasing...for free.

I mean, who are we to complain? Free games are free games, and I’d feel a bit foolish looking Microsoft’s green-skinned gift horse in the mouth. But it does seem a bit weird.

Anyway, the Phantom Dust remaster is available through the Windows 10 store today as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, meaning your saves will be cross-compatible if you happen to also own an Xbox One. Frame rate’s been improved and native widescreen added, with resolutions up to 4K supported on PC. Microtransactions have been added to multiplayer—the price of free, though Microsoft stipulates that players won’t be “penalized” for not buying in.

As to what Phantom Dust actually is? That’s a bit harder to explain. Like any great cult classic, Phantom Dust’s a bit ephemeral—part third-person shooter, part collectible card game, part action-RPG. Microsoft’s released a video that explains a bit better, so I’ll leave you with that. The game’s worth downloading and trying out though regardless. Free.

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