Prinny presents a review of NIS Classics Volume 2 (Switch)
In the long history of video games, it’s impossible to catch everything at launch. This is why reissues and remasters can be so helpful; introducing a whole new generation of games that may not have the same cultural penetration as larger releases in the genre, but still deserve to be celebrated and enjoyed. With the release of Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2, we have the opportunity to enjoy two classic RPGs and celebrate the more light-hearted side of Nippon Ichi Software’s catalog.
We didn’t like the previous entry in the NIS Classics series as well as we’d like, but the two games here don’t take themselves that seriously, and are vastly better for it. First we have Makai Kingdom: Return and Rebound. This is an updated version Makai Kingdom: Chronicle of the Sacred Tome for PlayStation 2. Originally released in 2005, this game offers isometric tactical combat that fans of other games from Nippon Ichi Software are familiar with.
Both the visuals and gameplay here are similar to the games in the NIS Classics Volume 1 collection, but the story is distinctly different. Here, players will take control of Zetta, the “Bad Damn Overlord” who has been turned into a book due to his own arrogance. He must attempt to rebuild his personal demonic kingdom and in the process reclaim his body by creating a band of fighters, healers and mages to fight for him in battles.
The characters are summoned and equipped in the node world that serves as Zetta’s home as he attempts to regain his power. These characters level up as they fight, making grinding for both money and experience points a central part of the game. As a rule, this is the biggest disadvantage of such games; hours are spent completing missions and maps multiple times to make the final story mission possible. While the combat has its fun, it is very fast paced without any plot to break it.
Makai Kingdom is full of fun and colorful characters that bring life to a simple game. The game uses the otherworldly nature of the setting to give us some really outlandish character designs. Since the release of this game, many tactical RPGs have been released that have refined or improved the formula for placing and moving troops on the battlefield, but few can match the charm and fun we have experienced here. The addition of Petta Mode, which follows the story of Zetta’s daughter from the future for the first time in the West, means even existing fans will find something new here to enjoy.
The other half of this collection ZHP Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilmanwhich first appeared on the PSP in 2010. tokusatsu history as Power Rangers; it is a dark future in which a magical Super-Child was born who was prophesied to save the world from destruction. This draws the attention of an Evil Man with the elusive name Darkdeath, who plans to kill Super Baby in order to establish his dominance.
He is opposed by Unlosing Ranger, a hero who has never lost a battle. However, before the final battle, he is hit by a passing car and is forced to transfer his powers to a random child. This new hero is quickly killed in battle with Darkdeath and sent to Bizarro Earth to train so he can save Super Baby and the rest of the world from certain death. It’s a silly plot, but it suits the style of the show they chose to emulate. After all, tokusatsu plots are not known for their subtlety.
The gameplay here is presented in the same isometric graphics as in other games from NIS, but in fact it is more of a roguelike than a tactical RPG. Players get to control this new Unlosing Ranger as they enter dungeons, level up, and help the inhabitants of this alternate world. Instead of summoning other characters to fight for him, he gets stuck in himself as he makes his way through randomly generated dungeons. Its level resets to one each time it enters a dungeon, but it retains its base stats whether it succeeds or fails as a core progression mechanic.
Much like Makai Kingdom, the gameplay is quite simple by today’s standards. It’s certainly easier than most isometric RPGs of the time, but it still takes a lot of patience and perseverance to get through the story. However, the script and humor in this game are top notch. It’s rife with anime references and characters with terrible name puns, from US President Brick Oldlamy to Spanish senior citizen Jose Gaspacho. There is a sense that everything here is meant to be over the top and not taken seriously, which makes it that much more enjoyable.
Like other isometric RPGs, these games require a steep learning curve at times. There are fewer frustrating moments in ZHP than Makai Kingdom, but even it has moments where the enemies will be almost insurmountable without grinding for new gear and higher stats. To get to the end of any story, it will take several tens of hours. Both of them together will most likely take over a hundred hours, especially with the bonus content included in the Makai Kingdom, making it a great investment of time for players. At the very least, that’s a lot of content for the price, and it’s well worth it because of the quality of the writing in these games.
Both games included in Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2 benefited from a light-hearted approach to their story. With gameplay that doesn’t have too many surprises, humorous writing and adorable characters smooth out the rough edges of these old RPGs. While we preferred the over-the-top antics and writing of ZHP over Makai Kingdom, both games have a lot to offer new and existing fans alike, as well as showcasing the humor that has made these and other NIS games so enduring over the years.