Both veteran Disgaea fans and new fans who want to experience the series for the first time are getting ready for the release of Disgaea DS. The strategizing won't begin until September 23rd, but until then, it's a good idea for us to know exactly what we're getting into by observing some gameplay action.
We think that the presentation is pretty nice on the DS, and although the graphics may have toned down in the translation, the visuals aren't wanting for anything. As for the gameplay, Disgaea virgins will notice from the videos that while the grid-based style is familiar, the actual execution differs from many other strategy games.
Come September, we're ready to sacrifice hundreds of hours of our lives playing this title. Are you with us?
Remember the crazy ad in Nintendo Power (pictured above) that "hinted" at a DS redesign? (You should; we only posted about it two days ago, silly rabbits.) It turns out that the poor Photoshop job is nothing to speculate about, as NIS America only "placed screenshots on a DS backing to emphasize the platform, and edited them for effect." Now, we never took Marketing 101, but that seems like somewhat misleading advertising to us.
NIS America's marketing guru Nao Zook apologized for any confusion that the picture may have caused, stating that there is no widescreen DS in the works (to her or the company's knowledge). So, you can rest assured (or at least hold your breath until E3) that you won't have to pony up the cash for yet another DS.
The release date for one of Nippon Ichi's SRPG remakes has been announced, and another one officially backed up, by a somewhat unexpected source. Atlus announced yesterday that they would handle the distribution for three of NIS America's upcoming games, including Disgaea DS and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. Before the American branch of NIS was founded, Atlus published the company's games, including, appropriately enough, the original releases of both Rhapsody and Disgaea. The games will be their own worst competition, being released simultaneously on September 23.
The American boxarts for both games have also been revealed. While the Rhapsody art (found after the break) is a simplified version of the original, Disgaea uses a different piece of artwork and a baffling "CAUTION: PLAYERS XING" road sign.
Apparently, Disgaea will be sending us crazy with its complexity on September 23rd, while the latter will be in U.S. stores from July 22nd. That's really soon and sudden, especially considering how many delays Puchi Puchi has suffered! The question is: did you remember to pick up your free Anti-Virus Stress Reliever?
Nippon Ichi seems determined to show us as much of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure while it still can. Impress Watch now has an update of 69 screens (some of which we have seen previously, but plenty of which are new) and pieces of character art, which follows other screenshot-heavy previews here and here. At this rate, recreating a flip book of the entire game by the time it hits Japan in August might not be out of the question.
Actually ... holy crap, that's a great idea. While we head out to the store for scissors and glue sticks, check out the latest avalanche of images at the "Source" link below.
NIS is including extra stuff with the DS version of Rhapsody, in addition to the inevitable Etna/Prinny cameos that will ensure that PS2-era NIS nerds will desire this PS1-era NIS remake. Cornet's trumpet-playing has been expanded into a minigame in which Cornet plays trumpet in the town square to earn Imotium chips from the townspeople. This takes the form of a minigame in which you blow into the microphone in time with an onscreen indicator.
Other new stuff includes a "Kansatsu Notes" feature, in which not only does the game provide a database of information about its characters and monsters, but the main characters offer commentary as well. Dengeki has posted tons of screens of these modes and other parts of Rhapsody.
To go along with the June 26 release of the new DS version of Disgaea, Nippon Ichi is doing what they do best (next to making ridiculously hardcore SRPGs for crazy people): making adorable plush dolls. The latest, available on June 20, is a representation of Prinny Kurtis, a green, angry-looking Prinny whose human form also appears in the game.
Kurtis will sell from NIS's Japanese shop for 2,980 yen ($27.88), and probably won't blow up upon arrival. NIS America has a lovely online store with lots of great promo products as well, so we think we can look forward to domestic availability.
And this little game that nobody loved -- turned out to be totally awesome. As the Japanese release date draws closer (like, tomorrow) we've stumbled upon some new screens and the final box art for the mucho-grando strategy RPG, Spectral Force Genesis.
The crafty importers among you should be looking out for these shady characters when ordering the next shipment from Japan. You'll be a bit lost if you can't read Japanese, and the ultra-eccentric anime art style isn't going to attract anyone who isn't an established fan. Only the powers of the English language and North America can do that, and at this stage it's somewhat unlikely. Two new screens follow after the break, so order this bad boy if you just know it's a winner.
During his interview with NIS America president Haru Akenaga, Spencer Yip made a point to inquire about the company's plans for many specific games, including those from companies with whom NIS has worked in the past. Spectral Force Genesis, the new SRPG from Idea Factory, came up. With unexpected candor, Akenaga confirmed that a localization of that or any Idea Factory title was unlikely:
"We have a relationship with them, but unfortunately our mission is to release quality titles. Their titles are good, but not good as we expected. That's our reason. They always ask us to localize their titles, but at this moment we answer with 'we're sorry'."
Atlus, Mastiff, O3 (who did the amazing localization of Idea Factory's Chaos Wars) and other small publishers are still a possibility, but NIS definitely doesn't have interest in working with the company. Which is good, because that particular bridge is pretty well toasted.
NIS America's workload for the rest of 2008 is greater than we initially thought. Not only are there localizations of Disgaea and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure to take care of, but the company is developing an entirely new ARPG, A Witch's Tale.
Due in October, the game tells the story of a tribe of witches who lived beneath the world's surface, practicing rune magic. One day, they set out to invade the surface world, but are stopped by a mysterious figure by the name of Alice, who seals the witches underground again with their own magic. The trailer above is the only media of the title released thus far, and features no gameplay sections (though Siliconera reveals that players must draw runes on the touchscreen to attack enemies), but we like what we're seeing so far: there's a fairly charming gothic fairytale vibe to proceedings.
In an interview with RPGamer, NIS America's Jack Niida bluntly confirmed a U.S. release of the remake of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. RPGamer asked him if the game was coming out, and he said "Rhapsody ~A Musical Adventure~ is coming to the Nintendo DS here in North America." This is the only time in history that just asking about an unannounced game resulted in a definitive answer.
There's no date yet, but the Japanese version isn't out until August, so we'd expect the holidays at the earliest. Localization and voice recording take time (unless they're using the existing English script), and getting Disgaea DS out will probably take priority for NIS. We'll find out more about the company's plans on the 6th, when NIS will hold a press event. Niida promises "surprise announcements," which could be anything from Jigsaw World (fairly likely) to The Combini (pretty much no chance) to non-DS stuff.
Yeah, you heard us: a blowout. We're not sure how many screens are required for something to qualify as a blowout, but we figure that 28 is quite enough.
Anyway, they're waiting for your perusal on Impress Watch, and cover everything from combat to character classes to items in Nippon Ichi's DS Disgaea port. Go look at them now, and coo in admiration at how well they stack up to previous versions of the game.
There's also a lengthy feature up discussing numerous aspects of the title, but we couldn't locate much information for those who have already played the game on the PlayStation 2 or PSP.
Nippon Ichi's Jigsaw World is bizarre in a few different ways. It's not a port, which makes it rare among NIS's DSgames. It's not a strategy RPG, which makes it fairly unique among NIS's games in general. Oh, and also, it's an anime-style action game about completing jigsaw puzzles.
The latest screens of Jigsaw World, which comes out this month, show off the giant special attacks employed by each character, which affect both competitors and the puzzles themselves. For example, Mikan the cat/fruit crate (as far as we can tell!) can automatically fit a piece into the right place at the highest level of its explosive, orangey special attack.
Nippon Ichi's DS Rhapsody remake, Marl Oukoku no Ningyou Hime: Tenshi ga Kanaderu Uta(The Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom: Love Song Played by an Angel) promises the same kind of idiosyncratic, low-difficulty tactical RPG combat seen in the PlayStation version, including Cornet's dessert-based Reward attacks (as seen in this screenshot).
It also promises musical interludes in lieu of traditional cutscenes, because that's Rhapsody's whole gimmick, really. This time, however, the perspective of the battles has changed, though the genre is apparently the same: while battles were originally presented in an isometric view with visible grids, they seem to be a more Final Fantasy-like side view now. Check out GAME Watch for a ton of screens!
The Combini is really a smart series for Nippon Ichi to put on the DS: what was once called a "video game" can now be presented as "management training" and sold to very serious people who don't want to waste their valuable train time with anything that's not going to give them a business edge. It's not a game, no! It's training. For business. Also it looks like it would be cheap to make.
New elements in The Combini on the DS include a "president's office," from which you can get in-game help from your secretary and look at graphs on your PC. As you acquire wealth, you can upgrade your office. Other than that, The Combini is all about opening up stores in strategic locations near popular buildings, in one city at a time, hiring staff and placing products. You'll create direct-mail ads and commercials and track other developing buildings around the city. Oh, and of course you'll build "business power."