One of the things which has plagued Phantom EFX titles for some time now is their lack of 3d graphics. It seemed as though any time one would sit down to play one of their Reel Deal titles, they would expect the game to be fun, but not very attractive. In a world where online casino gaming rages on with very crisp graphics, companies have to pull out as many of the stops as possible to keep up without totally blowing their budgets.
Reel Deal Millionaire’s Club manages to walk this line of graphics and budget nicely, as it is the first time I can remember a Phantom EFX game with 3d elements to it. All of the cards are 3d as is your character’s avatar. Yes, you heard me: in this Phantom EFX title, you will actually create a full-bodied, 3d avatar for your player. After creation, the avatar will sit in your ‘place’ at the table game and react to the game’s outcomes in an often humorous manner. I chuckled after losing a big bet in blackjack at seeing my avatar slap his forehead in disbelief. It was as though his small, pixelated mind had bonded with my own. While the 3d characters are not exactly the most attractive Johns and Janes this side of the Mississippi, they are modeled nicely enough, especially when viewed in their ‘shrunken’ state at the bottom of your screen.
Now, when one looks at the box for Millionaire’s Club, you may think you will be walking around a 3d casino. However, I assure you that, while in game, the 3d environments seen on the box are only presented as 2d images in the background of the UI. This is a shame as Phantom has taken a good step into modern game graphics with this title and it would have been nice to see them push the envelope a bit more.
The real beauty of these avatars is when they are used in Reel Deal Live! play, which is a free online Phantom EFX community that their titles interface with, allowing players to play together in their favorite table games. There is no actual money being won and lost at this friendly community, but you could actually win Phantom EFX prizes which is a nice thing to look forward to after slaving away at a virtual craps table all day.
Not to spend too much time discussing the graphical overhaul of the game, Phantom EFX has added eleven new slot machines to the game which are not found on any of their other titles. As usual, their video machine UI’s are crisp and vibrant. However, I did experience an odd bug in which the machines were completely silent while the MP3 player was active. Turning the player off unmuted the machines. I expect this and other bugs to be fixed in subsequent patches as is often the case.
While not perfect, the Millionaire’s Club edition of Phantom EFX’s Reel Deal Casino franchise is a good ‘next step’ for the venerable series. A long-awaited jump into 3d graphics which will, hopefully, only spur them to move even more forward with their next round of titles. Plus, it is light on the old pocketbook. Costing $19.99, you get a whole lot of gambling bang for you buck!