Soul Nomad (Hands On)

Preview

posted 7/30/2007 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: PS2
I like the times in between Disgaea titles. It gives NIS a chance to flex and bend their otherwise solid strategy RPG formula. Their newest offspring is about to bear fruit in the form of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. It’s got everything you are used to in an NIS Strategy RPG, cutesy looking characters, an overly powerful bad-ass who is gimped in some way shape or form, a wacky never ending random dungeon generator, a solid story, and last and almost least at this point, some good old fashioned 2D sprites. And I hate to say it, but after Odin Sphere and Grim Grimoire, I’m kind of expecting NIS to step it up a tad.
 
Slated for release this September, Soul Nomad is a strategy RPG that toys with the conventional and really looks to improve upon it. Rather than sending out people to do one on one battle you send out squads with a designated leader. Take out the leader, and the whole squad falls. What is interesting is that in your layout of your squad, you determine their attacks. For instance, placing a mage in the front row will cause them to do physical damage. But where is the fun in that? Instead place said mage in the back row and watch her light up the battlefield with powerful fire spells that can target multiple enemies. Also specific pairings can lead to special abilities unlocking, including character buffs or team attacks that occur after regular battle. It is a fairly deep system that you come to expect in an NIS title and it really is out in full force here.
 
The title is looking like a typical NIS fare with 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds, with some rather large monsters taking up space on the battlefield, bigger than Baal surprisingly. But again it’s all in line with the colorful worlds and interesting character designs. The music is a bit of a step up from the previous almost Swing type music that you would expect to hear in Disgaea which is a nice change of pace. And the voice acting can be switched to the user’s preference which is always nice.
 
From the preview we were given we were introduced to the main character who is possessed by an all powerful being named Gig, who once held control over the World Eaters, titans that literally ravaged the world. Now that Gig has a host body, he’s out to take over the body of the main character and will at times tempt the player into selling their soul in exchange for power. This leads to a ton of endings most of which I would assume are bad in nature, but the intrepid gamer will want to seek them all out. The dialogue is one that doesn’t look to take itself too seriously with lots of comedic relief but again we are in the early going so it could take a more serious turn.
 
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is shaping up to be a good strategy RPG diversion when it ships this September. If you’re not on board the next-gen bandwagon yet (and really why should you be with games like this?), then make sure you give this game a look. It’s got everything that NIS is known for and looks to have it all in spades. Check back with us here in a few weeks for a full review.
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