PRINNY PRESENTS NIS CLASSICS VOLUME 1 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 07.01.2022

Review for PRINNY PRESENTS NIS CLASSICS VOLUME 1 on Nintendo Switch

In the 2000s, NIS/NISA was a force to be reckoned with; they practically had a lock on the JRPG/Anime style games, and it seemed like the hits just kept coming with their games. From the voice acting and the zany high energy to the predictable huge post-game content, NIS/NISA games won the hearts of JRPG gamers. While the company largely has lost what made it so good, these throwbacks offer an interesting chance for gamers to pick up what made the company good in the first place. Be warned though, there is next to nothing 'updated' in these games at all. Containing two older RPG games, Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1 offers a way to experience the golden era of the PS2/RPG years that seem like they will never come again. With the two games Phantom Brave and Soul Nomad people can get a chance to try these unique games that were representative of a time where games had not congealed into the well-defined genres as seen today.

Being a long-time gamer, (and RPG-er) this reviewer still remembers going to Gamestop to look at the used PS2 games, finding Soul Nomad for ten dollars and giving it a go due to its cool anime-style graphics, inadvertently stumbling upon one of the best strategy RPG games that were ever released for console. Though the game suffers from not being that well-known outside of a cult following, the inclusion in this package is a great opportunity for new gamers to give it a try.

Phantom Brave plays like a much more typical Disgaea experience. Controlling a young girl and her ghost swordsman across stories and battles, players build up a team of various archetypes like warriors and mages to summon in battle. One of the more interesting parts of the game is that movement is 'free' compared to a grid system, so at times it leads to the very odd situation of everyone packed into super tight quarters. A minor gripe is that targeting in these frequent situations is hard, and needed improvement.

Screenshot for PRINNY PRESENTS NIS CLASSICS VOLUME 1 on Nintendo Switch

The other major aspect that makes it stand out is the summon aspect. All of the fighters are ghosts, so the main girl has to summon them into objects on a map, which give various stat boosts. Summon into a rock and gain huge defence bonus, summon into a flower to increase magic stats. Ghosts only last a few turns and are then gone for the battle, meaning that there is an element of strategy about when to pull units out lest the map is not over but no more fighters remain.

Soul Nomad is in a league its own, a unique strategy game that doesn't feel that 'dry' in its strategy and as a result had a large number of fans who were not even into the genre. Taking the role of a warrior who is partly-possessed by a god of death, players must try to fight against huge monsters that are literally killing the whole world. Much like other experimental games NIS tried at the time, its art, style and feel were far different from Disgaea.

Screenshot for PRINNY PRESENTS NIS CLASSICS VOLUME 1 on Nintendo Switch

Gameplay revolves around a unit mechanism where a single 'unit' is actually a squad of up to nine characters; this can be some archers in the back, a healer and mage in the middle, and swordsmen up front. Depending on their position, leaders, and composition, everyone's attacks can be widely different. There are even more options to choose, such as placing these squads in various 'rooms' which gives unique bonuses, such as increasing attack with squares move and so on.

The story also deserves a lot of praise, as the main plot is dark, serious, and engaging. What especially stands out is the 'evil' route after you beat the game, which unlike many games is a full-length fest of surprisingly dark concepts of death, mind-breaking and so on. It is pretty grim and would be hard to put out these days with its mental trauma concepts.

Screenshot for PRINNY PRESENTS NIS CLASSICS VOLUME 1 on Nintendo Switch

These two games are good, but how is the overall package? Well, this is where the problems arise. The package is…not that good. It is literally just the old games, with next to zero improvements of ANY kind. This was a massive disappointment. There are so many modern game conveniences taken for granted, and not having any of them included really drags the experience down. A lack of a dialogue log or rewind comes to mind with these text-heavy games. There is zero improvement in the graphics, they are literally just the old art upscaled. Some of the wonky voice acting and odd translation issues still persist (far more prevalent in Phantom Brave). No ability to skip or speed up attacks also feels lazy.

These issues really detract from the 'collection'. Yes the original games are fun, and Soul Nomad especially is a great game if it has never been played before; but there was no reason for NIS to not have included at least some improvements. It is just a repackage of the old games, nothing new or improved, and that was such a lazy decision. Perhaps in a way it is ironic as the old NIS/NISA was such a strong company, and the new company feels like it is coasting on fumes, it is only natural the old games are the highlight, and the new package is largely non-existent.

Screenshot for PRINNY PRESENTS NIS CLASSICS VOLUME 1 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Soul Nomad more than Phantom Brave is the real prize in Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1; anyone who has played it will recommend its entertaining game, dark story, and just overall high quality. This collection is fun simple because the old games are good, but the real problem is that there is zero extra content added to the package. No quality-of-life improvements, no graphics updates, nothing that make the two games more accessible. The old games are essentially great, but the package itself is non-existent and feels half-hearted. This is such a huge waste and a missed opportunity, unfortunately it drags down what could have been an outstanding experience.

Developer

Nippon Ichi

Publisher

Nippon Ichi Software

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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