The hits keep coming in the best way possible. Well, sort of. I wouldn’t exactly call one of the games in Prinny Pesents NIS Classics Volume 3 a hit. But, I think you get the point. This third collection of games continues to make the Nintendo Switch a prime choice for all things RPG. This especially applies to the niche, cooky ones that have NIS’ handiwork all over them. For a third time, you get two games for the price of one. And, as of this writing, one of those games goes for way too much money from third-party sellers online; this alone makes this a good purchase. The best part is that the two games feature fabulous female leads. Girl power is in full force with Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 3.
The two girls are Prier and Cornet. Their respective games are La Pucelle: Ragnarok and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. For those that played La Pucelle: Tactics on the PlayStation 2 nearly 20 years ago, Ragnarok features new content released for the first time for western audiences. If you haven’t gone through the original before, then you’re in for a fun adventure that is equal parts silly and serious. It stars Prier, a buxom and brassy lady. Along with her younger brother Culotte, Prier has joined the demon exorcising group La Pucelle. Lead by the elegant Alouette, Prier and Culotte spend their days purifying the undead and recruiting monsters to join their cause. However, Prier secretly hopes to become the next Maiden of Light and will curbstomp anyone that gets in her way of that. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure follows the tale of Cornet and her puppet pals. Another curvy girl with plenty to say (and sing), Cornet has left the safety of her sleepy village to find her true love: Prince Ferdinand. Along the way, she has to tolerate the antics of the witch Marjoly and her cronies. Rhapsody isn’t as interesting as La Pucelle, but both tales have a lot of personality and charm. Mercifully, Rhapsody is a very short campaign so if you want to play it, then you’re not looking at too much game time.
La Pucelle, on the other hand, is one of those classic NIS strategy games where you can choose to do a little bit of grinding to get through the main campaign, or participate in hours upon hours of grinding to completely deck out Prier and her comrades. For those that remember, La Pucelle was developed before Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. However, La Pucelle didn’t get a stateside release until after the very first Disgaea’s success. So, personally, this was my second NIS strategy-RPG. And despite being somewhat “power leveled” out from Disgaea, the way everything came together in La Pucelle felt fresh. I won’t get too deep into the details of the gameplay. La Pucelle is a strategy RPG where Prier and her teammates move on a classically designed isometric battle map. You move through each map defeating monsters and purifying monster portals to stop more from coming in. Sometimes, you can purify a monster and they’ll join your party. Each teammate has access to their own arsenal of special attacks. The neat thing about La Pucelle is that the more your characters perform certain actions, the more their stats will go up based on those actions. There is a lot of depth to La Pucelle’s combat that I won’t get into, but one handy feature for this release I’d like to point out is that all animations can now be skipped. This speeds up battles considerably.
Rhapsody is also a strategy RPG. Unlike La Pucelle where you select which battle map you’d like to visit, Cornet will get into random battles as she travels through monster infested areas. The strategy RPG aspect is at a minimum: just move a few squares and attack with Cornet and/or any of her puppet friends. Victory is yours after about one round of this. If for some reason the battle lasts longer, then you can unleash Cornet’s special attacks such as giant flan and/or pancakes that smash the entire screen of enemies. Simple games don’t bother me, but Rhapsody’s combat becomes really tedious due to the mazey dungeons and the high encounter rate. Combat really becomes a waste of time before long. It’s a shame, because the gameplay outside of combat is classic RPG fun with a musical twist. Indeed, there will be times Cornet and/or the supporting cast will break out into song to move the story forward.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the two games are different from each other. And if you couldn’t tell, I favor one (La Pucelle) over the other. That being said, both games look and sound just lovely. The 2D sprite work is as bold and bright as ever. Whether it’s Prier and her team or Corent and her puppets, everyone in both games always has a crisp, vivid look. To top this off, there are multiple, beautiful areas to explore. One thing I’ve always admired about La Pucelle is that it lets you walk around. This isn’t common for a strategy RPG so it’s nice to see here. One area where Rhapsody outshines La Pucelle is in the music department. But, La Pucelle’s soundtrack is still worth a listen. The downside is that you’ll be hearing the same tracks a lot if/when you begin to grind towards those super high levels.
So far, NIS has released three solid collections featuring games from their archives. It’s hard for me to decide which one I like the most. But, if I had to recommend one of the three to gamers, then I would go with Volume 3. I say this despite not caring much for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. Even with it’s short run time, you’re looking at a cumulative run time of well over 100 hours if you want to do everything. This might seem like a lot of time, but it’s miniscule when compared to the amount of stuff you can do the other two collections. There are some sizable shoes to fill should NIS decide to do a fourth collection of games. The possibilities are limitless thanks to their library’s massive size.
Overall, 8/10: La Pucelle: Ragnarok and Rhaposdy: A Musical Adventure are on opposite ends of the quality spectrum. But, they come together to form another great collection of games.