After just a short waiting period, NIS are back with another delivery from the vault. This time, Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 3: La Pucelle: Ragnarok / Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure puts the two classics in one pack, offering fans a taste of the past for a budget price. These NIS Classic titles have presented some savory offerings, but is this one to add to a growing collection? Let’s find out.
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 3: La Pucelle: Ragnarok / Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure has of course two tales, and certainly some of the more solid found within La Pucelle: Ragnarok. This title originally released in Japan back in the first part of the 2000’s, where it then saw a Playstation 2 port, with another offering on the PSP five years later that featured upgrades and enhancements. Ragnarok places the player in the role of Prier, a rambunctious teen who is a part of a demon hunting organization with her younger brother Culotte. This tale adds a bit of drama and even comedy with a cast of colorful characters in a story of darkness and light.
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure takes the tactical RPG genre and gives it some flare in what is a bit more of a familiar adventure for me. Originally featured on the Playstation, this title centers around Cornet, who is out to save a prince from an evil witch. This title focuses more on a performance style for its narrative and even gameplay and features a delightful gimmick where Cornet can talk to and utilize puppets to do battle with her. La Pucelle: Ragnarok may have more meat and substance when it comes to a story, but Rhapsody just feels more memorable and well produced overall, making for a great revisit for anyone looking for a charming and light RPG.
Both titles are tactical RPGs, but are each unique in their own right. As mentioned, Rhapsody has battles that occur in a stage play-like format, filled with some interesting options. Players don’t fight with Cornet, but rather use her to root her team of puppets on. Appreciation points can be earned by using your horn or using items, which in turn can boost and produce attacks on foes. Think of it as another take on the monster-collecting fare within Dragon Quest Monsters and Pokemon, but more simplistic and more presentation driven. Rhapsody is interesting, but its low difficulty and odd mechanics such small battle areas make it feel condensed and short in terms of scope and overall potential.
La Pucelle: Ragnarok plays a lot closer to the Disgaea franchise as it is a precursor of sorts. Players do battle in isometric grids where streams of energy must be converted to purify the field along with portals, which spawn monsters. Purifying monsters also can allow some to join you to do battle, making this an interesting gimmick with quite a bit of depth, despite still being very straight forward. Outside of battles players mainly explore towns and trigger events, which can be slightly tedious due to NPC placement – meaning you might be looking for a character for a good while to move forward.
While both titles show their age in ways, the extra features from their past enhanced versions add a lot of familiarity, with Prinny and other NIS mainstays finding involvement. Out of all the other “Prinny Presents” line which may be 100+ hour journeys, both Rhapsody and La Purcelle feel much shorter in length as well, even if they may be two of the more fleshed out releases.
While the graphics are fine within both games, don’t go in expecting a full modern remake treatment. Each kind of have that washed out look from the original titles, and don’t necessarily “pop” with excitement graphically. That doesn’t mean that there are not upgrades as the sprites are bolder and the included filters are nice, but the age of the games within still show. Menus are also a bit dated as while the dialogue is easy to read, navigating options and inputs can come with a steady learning curve, as the optimization to the Switch was done without a lot of thought being put into modernization or overall execution. Yeah, you can still enjoy each and both play fine, but the menu layouts can be a bit cumbersome and overly complicated on what would have been a perfect platform to make use of the handheld design of the console.
The audio is fine as both soundtracks are great, with Rhapsody being a standout. The voice acting also feels like a pleasant surprise, and has stood the test of time well with outstanding delivery and performances that capture the charm and atmosphere of each title. Would it be great to start seeing more focus on the soundtrack with a jukebox mode or other celebratory fare included in-game (physical releases do come with a soundtrack, but I am speaking for all who purchase digital or physical)? Sure. That said, like all other titles within the Prinny Presents collections, these are mostly ports for the sake of allowing us to simply play the original titles without much noticeable refinement included in terms of audio.
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 3 is a nice compilation of two of the more simple titles within NIS’ classic line-up. Both games truly felt ahead of their time with voice acting and unique stories, making them easily worth the price of admission for this one package. NIS has a way of intertwining humor and sentiment in their titles, and Volume 3 takes that piece from history and puts it in focus.
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