Monday 23 May 2022

Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2 Review (Switch)

The Switch is fast becoming an Ark of overlooked NIS gems and now we have another collection of games set to take up several thousand hours of our time. Classics Volume 2 contains underappreciated PS2 game Makai Kingdom and PSP game Z.H.P: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman. As you can probably tell these are going to be games that require some serious dedication from the player but then that is NIS’ whole ‘thing’.

Makai Kingdom released fairly late in the life of the PS2 and came after the Disgaea and Phantom Brave games had established themselves on the system. This version, subtitled “Reclaimed and Rebound”, contains even more content than before and it is one of the most in-depth games you are ever likely to find. Even in terms of NIS games this one is detailed with a seemingly never-ending list of things to do and level up.

The writing and humour live up to the standard we now expect from the company and the crazy plot will sit well with fans of Disgaea. Basically, Zetta the “Bad-Ass Freakin’ Overlord” accidentally destroys his own Netherworld and ends up getting confined within the pages of book and then things start to get weird. It follows much the same look and pattern of other NIS games with the mechanics more akin to Phantom Brave than Disgaea. Instead of the grid system you are given range circles which show how far characters can move and attack and the elemental aspect of Phantom Brave returns with characters being created from raw materials such as rocks or trees and imbuing characteristics of those objects.

Makai Kingdom is arguably NIS’ biggest and most in-depth game. If you are a fan of this sort of thing and want something that’s fairly easy to get into but has limitless depth then this might just be the game you fall in love with.

Z.H.P: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman is something a little different. It’s much closer to the Rogue template and has players guiding a single character through dungeons repeatedly dying and levelling up their base stats. The dungeons are randomly generated each time - aside from the boss encounters which will require large amounts of grinding to get past. It’s like if someone took the item world concept from Disgaea and tried to expand it into its own game. It’s strangely addictive and we found ourselves glued to it for hours at a time.

The plot of this one is wonderful as well. The real hero of the piece is on their way to take on Demon General Darkdeath Evilman but is hit by a car and dies when they step off the pavement without looking. The mantle is then passed onto an ordinary person who is just passing by who then must begin training to save the day and rescue Super Baby.

Overall, This collection is another solid release from NIS. A re-release of Makai Kingdom was long overdue and it’s great it can now join other classics from the company on the Switch. We hadn’t encountered Z.H.P: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman before but it fits perfectly here and is a real highlight. The amount of grinding may put some off, but the humour and charm of both games will likely see them find new fans, and they should because both are genuinely great games.

Overall 8/10

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