Nippon Ichi has become a household name since the debut of the company's genre-redefining SRPG Disgaea. A string of popular and successful games followed, all retaining Disgaea's sense of black humor and number-crunching obsession, all while adding new elements to an already complex battle system. Every new title pushed the boundaries of RPG mechanics a little further, until players were gaining hundreds of levels a battle and attacks were doing six digits worth of damage. Their newest addition to the growing pile of unique games is Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, and everything about it points towards success.
"The battle system looks like the unholy child of Ogre Battle and Yggdra Union, who then spent five years playing the Super Robot Wars series."
Soul Nomad stars Gig, the God of Destruction, who possesses the player's avatar in the beginning of the game. Gig is also the owner of the three World Eaters, and their little troupe tried to destroy the world of Prodesta 200 years ago. They were stopped and sealed away then, but now the World Eaters have escaped and Gig has been confined to the hero's body, giving him the strength and power to defeat them. However, the more the hero uses Gig's power, the weaker the hero's resolve becomes and he risks having Gig take over his body forever. The in-game choices often tempt the player with more power and strength with the high cost of his humanity.
To fight off the World Eaters and their armies, the player uses Gig's power to summon warriors of his own and rooms to house them. Each room has different properties and places where characters can be placed. There is a front, a middle, and a back row in each room, with a max of three slots in each row. When the player groups his or her armies in a room, they become a single unit on the classic grid-shaped battlefield.
Battle itself, though, is completely different. Looking more like La Pucelle's battle system than Disgaea's, each attack takes place from a side-line perspective, where each army takes turns attacking and counter attacking. The types of attacks used are defined by each unit's placement in the room, with the front row using melee attacks and the back two usually dealing ranged damage. Special formations allow for the use of special attacks, often combining the strength of two or more characters for graphically stunning animations and nine digits of damage. The battle system looks like the unholy child of Ogre Battle and Yggdra Union, who then spent five years playing the Super Robot Wars series.
The production values are a little skimpy outside of the battle animations, without any CGI movies or snazzy anime intros. Each battlefield map is completely 2D and unceremoniously chopped into squares. However, each character sprite is full of vivid color and life and nothing is lost from the classic NIS America charm. The music has that same NIS sound, with just a hint more rock this time around.
If you're one of the many fans of Disgaea, Makai Kingdoms, or Phantom Brave, then there's no reason for you to not be excited about this upcoming game. Soul Nomad & the World Eaters will totally consume your world starting September 25.