During the past couple of years gamers have been able to see remasters and remakes of a few of their favorite series. While some may see this as a quick cash grab, remakes and remasters are good for the preservation of retro titles. Known for their comical SRPG series Disgaea, NIS returns with another Nintendo Switch release with Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1. Two PlayStation 2 era tactic RPGs, Phantom Brave and Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, are brought back in this remastered collection allowing Switch users to experience NIS classics.
Phantom Brave tells the tale of a young girl who has a special ability to communicate with phantoms. Unfortunately, her unique ability is usually met by fear or resentment from those around her. The protagonist travels with her phantom guardian resolving disputes around the world of Ivoire. Soul Nomad, on the other hand, shows a world darkened by a shadow leaving behind an apocalyptic and desolate land. As the hero, you’re fused with the powerful shadow to destroy the World Eaters to save all that is remaining. I am familiar with the story and development of Phantom Brave having played the original back on the PlayStation 2. I can see why both titles were released together as a part of this collection given the dark, quirky, and strong writing of both games.
I enjoyed re-experiencing the gameplay of Phantom Brave for the most part. My favorite parts of the gameplay are still the free movement on the battlefield versus being confined by grid based movement like most tactical RPGs. If you’re a fan of the Disgaea series, but missed out on this classic, this is a game worth considering. I had never played Soul Nomad, but I enjoyed the squad combat system. If you enjoy the Disgaea series, you’ll notice that both games have their own “version” of Disgaea mechanics. As with any NIS title, expect a lot of level grinding. Although, this can be overlooked most of the time due to interesting stories, addicting gameplay mechanics, or by sitting in various menus listening to the soundtrack as you decide what to equip at a new location.
Unfortunately, I can’t overlook that both games were not given an ideal treatment in their release. Phantom Brave was slightly buggy for me. I had issues with the graphics, game crashes, and the visuals were inconsistent in the middle of battle making some attacks impossible to pull off. I also experienced game crashes and inconsistencies with the visuals in the middle of combat in Soul Nomad. Visual inconsistencies include, but are not limited to: low res/blurry sprites, a defined environment but…less defined characters, visually pleasing character aesthetics on top of a blurry environment, etc. Granted, Soul Nomad pulled off the retro look on occasions while Phantom Brave had me concerned. Fortunately, this issue only occurs if you are playing both games with the Nintendo Switch docked. If you plan on getting this game, I highly recommend playing it in handheld mode until a patch fixes the visuals for monitor and TV screen gameplay.
The soundtracks of both games are as fun as ever, fitting each scene, battle, and other scenarios, which is expected of NIS. As for the graphics, the visuals can be unattractive especially on larger screens. Both games lack visual options making these ports not so friendly in terms of accessibility. The lack of visual options is alarming especially since the text and some visuals can be difficult to see when playing this collection on the go. Even with the powerful writing in both games, I must address that some portions of the writing, especially in Soul Nomad, may come across as pretty offensive given how much society has changed between the original’s release and this collection.
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1 has so much potential in what it can offer for SRPG fans. However, most remastered games come with small bonus features to celebrate the release on modern systems; for example the customization features available to PlayStation 5 owners in Marvel’s Spider-Man. An art gallery of some sort would have been a nice feature to add since some players might be returning to both games. Until NIS brings some much needed patches and visual updates, I can’t recommend this collection to tactical RPG fans with confidence. I’d recommend playing this collection on the Nintendo Switch undocked or on PC in the meantime until a patch comes out to fix the bugs on the Nintendo Switch.
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1 brings back two classic NIS Playstation 2 titles. If you aren't a stickler for graphics, this retro collection is perfect to take on the go for any tactical rpg or NIS fans.
Accessible combat system
Graphics upgrade doesn’t hold up to be 100% true
Camera can interrupt the flow of gameplay (Soul Nomad)