Monday 19 September 2022

Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 3 Review (Switch)

Somewhere out there will be someone who has finished everything NIS has ever put out. But it’s likely that most of you will have a gap somewhere in the company’s extensive back catalogue of 1000 hour games. The La Pucelle games fall into this category for us. When NIS was releasing everything in the West on the PS2 this one somehow slipped by, so we are pleased to see it return on the Switch.

La Pucelle Ragnarok is the game released on the PSP containing all the DLC and extra content that the version contained. Rhapsody A Musical Adventure is making its debut in the West and is basically NIS’ take on a Disney musical – and yes, it is hilarious.

A few may initially be put off by the fact that la Pucelle is one of the earlier releases from NIS. However, we had a different experience with it than we were expecting. There aren’t as many systems in place and it is a bit rough around the edges but the fact the game is stripped back compared to some of the ludicrously complex later entries in the DIsgaea series and titles like Makai Kingdom actually makes it a perfect entry point for newcomers and people looking for a place to dive into the companies output.

The characters and writing are up to the usual standard and both games are genuinely funny and twisted in the way only games from NIS can be. The main difference here from their other titles is that here you are focusing in on a couple of characters who will grow and level up over the course of the adventure. You can bolster your ranks by defeating monsters and converting them to your cause but most of the game is focused in on the characters you start with.

The mechanics will be familiar to those who have played Disgaea and the like, just a bit more stripped down. The turn-based strategy combat still unfolds on a grid where characters have a movement limit and then can choose which attacks to do and which direction to face. You also need to think about positioning to make sure you are being backed up by your surrounding characters as this gives bonuses and extra attacks to your team while also bolstering your defensive options. Leaving characters exposed on their own will see them eliminated quickly.

The key ‘gimmick’ is to do with the different coloured streams of elemental magic that round around the battle fields. These can create effects such giving bonuses to attacking or healing for both your team and the enemies and characters can stand in the streams to block and redirect them around. If you can get one of the streams to completely surround and area it can then be ‘purified’ which causes a huge chain reaction which damages enemies within the area and gives a massive bonus to the player.

The maps in Rhapsody seem somewhat smaller which does take away some of the tactical element as enemies and your team seem to be on top of each pretty much straight away. It is also somewhat easier than Ragnarok due to this as levels are much shorter.

Overall, we are really glad that NIS has decided to bring the La Pucelle games to the Switch. They are showing some age but we found it great to take a step back from the hundreds of systems that have been layered over the companies games year on year since this first released. The core story is good and the characters are likable and we found ourselves drawn to it for far longer than a lot of similar game the Switch has to offer. It’s a great place to start for those looking to get into the world of JRPG strategy games.

Overall 7/10

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