Nippon Ichi Software seems to have some bizarre fixation on the underworld, demons, and all the things that usually come after a not so righteous life. All of their titles have something to do with this strangely interesting yet disturbing place. Makai Kingdom is no different a title, with its entertaining cast of well acted characters, and delightfully twisted yet charming story about the place at lot of people dread to go when it’s their time, it does everything that a Nippon Ichi title is supposed to do, and that is entertain to the best of its ability. It does this even with the dated graphic style that a lot of people use as ammunition as to why these titles are not viable for the current generation.
At the heart of Makai Kingdom is an excellent story about the most freakin’ bad-ass overlord to ever rule a netherworld, the powerful, almighty, and downright cocky Zetta. His whole netherworld that he was perfectly happy gaining power in has suddenly been prophesized to be destroyed, of course when you’re a ‘bad-ass’ you don’t stand for this kind of nonsense so what does he do? Goes to find the source of this insurgency and put an end to it. Unfortunately his oracle, Pram, and her prediction could not be thwarted as Zetta’s netherworld is returned to its base form, the Sacred Tome, and Zetta himself being the sole survivor of this whole calamity is now reduced to the very thing he tried to protect, literally. With Zetta reduced to the Sacred Tome the only thing that can be done is slowly rebuild and start anew, with hilarious results as his former apprentice/lover makes an appearance along with his long time rival and a few other overlords who are happy to see Zetta get what he deserves.
game follows the same principles of previous
and all its wonderful little nuances is what makes this game so much fun, like
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.
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’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.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
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In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers and have recently returned from a job in Texas doing production work for a company that did cell phone games. Now I'm working for a record label, along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.