Makai Kingdom


posted 10/18/2005 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: PS2

Once you’ve put together your rag-tag group of fighters it’s time to put them to work, because Zetta isn’t going to be doing a lick of anything. Instead he will simply be “Inviting” everything to the battle, and he’ll be bringing the guns to the knife fight so to speak. Makai Kingdom delivers the delicious twist in battle, this time you’re not just summoning minions to do your bidding, you also can summon buildings which offer stat augmentations and vehicles that your army or even your enemies can pilot and dole out massive amounts of damage. This all takes place on a free roaming battle system, there are no grids here. This can at times makes for a little bit of crowding when trying to do large chain combination attacks but it works out very well and is very easy to navigate.

If you find yourself at a loss during the main game, you are more than welcome to spend time power leveling in the random dungeons that you create. As you do battle and defeat enemies your characters will acquire mana, which is the building block of each character and wish that they would like to see come true. When you make a wish on Zetta you can make a new character, create a building at the cost of their life, or make a new dungeon to explore. The dungeons that are created are based upon the level of the character that makes the wish, the higher their level the stronger the monsters you will face and the rarest items will be up for grabs. Which is something you will want to keep an eye out for, rare items mean bonus points when you are trying to create characters, and there is a little bit of balancing to do, keep a weapon that gives your mage godly intelligence? Or do you sacrifice the item to make the little witch’s successor? There are no easy answers here but sometimes that’s just part of the fun.

If you’re into NIS games then without a doubt you know their graphical stylings. Games like Makai Kingdom look like they would be perfect for a GBA or DS port and quite honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to do it sans voice acting tracks. Makai Kingdom is not going to make anyone with an HDTV setup proud to show it off that’s for certain, but the game has its charm in its looks. Once you get over the very dated looking graphics you’ll find that you did indeed purchase a quality title. On the sound front you’ve got solid voice acting with a Japanese language track to boot and a pretty good soundtrack that at times has epic sweeping moments and melancholy tones at the other, and then there is that funky dance techno thing that they like to do from time to time which works but feels seriously out of place.

If you’ve played Phantom Brave and felt very pressed for both time and energy with each map then you’re going to love the more leisurely pace that Makai Kingdom takes. It’s a fabulous strategy RPG that does everything that NIS is known for and that is to provide and entertaining experience with a well written story that doesn’t mind being off the wall and downright bizarre. If you can look past the dated graphics you’ll find a game that ranks up there with Final Fantasy Tactics in terms of playability and sheer quality. If the graphics are holding you back then by all means, skip this one, but don’t go whining to your friends about wanting to play this game only to have them give you the whole “I told you so,” line as they lend you their copy, if they are willing.

Another solid RPG from Nippon Ichi that will satisfy fans of their previous works.

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