The Gamers Lounge Goes Hands On At The 2016 NIS Press Event
NIS' 2016 lineup is going to be incredibly strong. Here's my impressions of the games that I was able to get my hands on.
Stranger of Sword City
Stranger of Sword City is a first-person dungeon crawler where survival is the name of the game. You control a party of six characters, but don’t think that having more characters gives you an advantage. I consider myself a pretty seasoned JRPG player, so I figured each battle would be fairly straight forward; however I was wrong. Stranger of Sword City isn’t the type of game where you can press X, kill stuff, and move on. Each battle really makes the player work and this is perfect for those who love a game with a challenge. When I asked about the length of the game, I received a rough estimate of 20-30 hours, but was told that there are multiple endings which add a lot of replay.
One of the things that was mentioned by the NISA team was that the Stranger of Sword City took a more western approach to the artwork to make it look less like an anime. As a result of this, you get a JRPG with art that is sort of similar to Dragons Crown and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Stranger of Sword City will be released March 22nd for the Xbox One and April 26th for the PlayStation Vita.
Out of all the games at the NIS Press Event, the one that I heard the most discussion about was Grand Kingdom. This 2D tactical RPG features an awesome battle system where you really have to plan out your attack. Your party of four, as well as the enemies, are spread out on a plain where you must strategically move around and attack. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, where the real challenge comes is that your movement and attacks are limited to the amount of stamina you have. If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, you can also hurt your fellow companions with friendly fire and accidentally heal enemies if they are too close to your allies when you cast a spell / use an item. If you’re a fan of the Valkyria Chronicles series, you will definitely want to check out Grand Kingdom.
One of the greatest features of Grand Kingdom is that you can take your created team online to battle against other players.
Grand Kingdom will be released on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita June 21st. One quick side note, I was able to play Grand Kingdom on both platforms and can honestly say no matter what system you choose, you won’t regret it.
Touhou Genso Rondo
Love bullet hell games? Then you need to see Touhou Genso Rondo! This game features all the intensity that you would expect when you are being bombarded with thousands of bullets, but with a huge twist. Touhou Genso Rondo is actually a competitive shoot ‘em up (or shmup) that was compared a few times to Street Fighter. Having played very few shmups in my day, I was confused on how it could be compared to a fighting game until I got my hands on it. At the beginning of the game, you select a character that you want to play. You then go into a mode that would be similar to arcade mode in any other fighting game where you take on enemies one on one.
This mix of genres was fascinating, if nothing else. I was pretty confused at how to effectively attack at first, and I ended up getting destroyed in my first attempt. Once I switched characters, I was able to get a better grasp on what I was doing and began defeating opponents. I hope that bullet hell fighters catch on, because I believe that there is a lot of potential and NIS deserves praise for not only introducing this genre to the west, but for taking a chance on a game that you wouldn’t normally see in the states.
Touhou Genso Rondo will be out on the PlayStation 4 this summer.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only PC
I love my PlayStation Vita, so it’s no surprise that I’m always on the look out for the next game to play on my commute to and from work. One of the games that I keep seeing pop up on Amazon, GameStop or Best Buy is Criminal Girls: Invite Only, but I have been reluctant to pick it up because of my crazy backlog. So when I saw Criminal Girls: Invite Only on display, I figured it would be a good chance to try it out. What I didn’t expect was to get as hooked as I quick as I did. The battle system is fairly unique in which four options appear on the screen and you have to select one. Some of the options can be solo attacks, group attacks, or heals. I should mention that there could possibly be more attacks, but these are just the ones that I saw during my hands on.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only for PC will be released in April of 2016. Now I just have to decide if I want to wait to get it for my PC or if I should just pull the trigger now and get it for the Vita. Also, at the end of the of the announcements, there was a hint in the picture below that Criminal Girls 2 will be coming to the West.
Yomawari: Night Alone
Now for the darkest game at the NIS press event, Yomawari: Night Alone. What seems to start off as an innocent game about a girl and her dog, almost instantly takes a surprisingly dark turn. Unfortunately, the game was still in Japanese when I was playing it, so I couldn’t really advance that far in the story, but what I did gather was that there are ghosts all around that you can reveal by shining your flashlight on them. If you get spotted by a ghost, you must run and hide until the coast is clear. I’d talk more about the story, but I’m going to choose to leave out any details because I believe that it could spoil the game. What I will say though is that if you like games like Limbo, Murasaki’s Baby, and Dokuro then Yomawari: Night Alone will definitely be a game you will want to pick up.
Yomawari: Night Alone will be coming out in North America in late 2016.
There you have it! Overall the 2016 NIS press event was a success in my opinion. They have a great lineup of upcoming games, and the fact that they are making a strong push to PC and are continuing to support the PlayStation Vita, shows that NIS is dedicated to all gamers, no matter what console they prefer. Thanks for reading!