US NTSC version of the Strat RPG. Cheers Realgamer!
Publisher: Atlus: via Realgamer
Thu, 20 April 2006
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I'm late, as usual, with this one. That is the story of my life. I'm likely never going to fully catch up either, so you can probably expect it to remain that way. I've had the US NTSC version of Makai Kingdom for a long while now. It was supplied to Buttonhole by those lovely people at Realgamer.
I only have an unmodified Australian PlayStation 2, so to allow me to play the game, Realgamer also sent me a little device called Swap Magic with Slide Card (or something like that). I got that working without too much trouble (I'm a bit slow with things of that nature) and I can recommend it now. If you want to play import games without opening up and performing surgery on your system, this thing does the job cheaply and (fairly) easily. You can order it here. Now then, back to the game.
Makai Kingdom is good. There you go. See ya later. Oh, you want to know more? Pesky, demanding bastard ain't ya? Fine then, bossy boots, I'll tell you more. If you played Phantom Brave, you would have enjoyed it. Unless you are stupid. This one is by the same mob and is a pretty similar type of game. Not exactly the same though, so (if you have more money than I do) you can buy each of them and have a dandy of a time with both.
Makai's developers, Nippon Ichi Software, basically specialize in strategy role playing titles. This one is part of a series of sorts, the first of which was La Pucelle: Tactics. Nippon have a solid little (but not too little, otherwise they'd go bankrupt) hardcore fan base and they cater to them very well. When you purchase one of their products, you can be sure you'll get a deep game that'll keep you busy for many, many hours. Makai Kingdom is no exception.
|Do you like playing with little people? Pervert. |
I won't go into the game's plot, as I don't really have the time for it. Anyway, there's not a whole lot to it. In fact, it is much weaker than Nippon's usual standards. However, it is still charming at times and also funny. Some of the game's characters are quite whimsical and they say things that had me chuckling.
As far as the gameplay and controls go, it really plays pretty much like every other strategy RPG, only with a few little spins to set it apart somewhat. You know the drill: turn based battles on fields which are generated randomly. You have to figure out which tactics are best to overcome your foes. Control and manage several party members at once (in this case, up to eight), each with individual skills and strengths. Upgrade your party's stats and items as you progress. Rinse and repeat. It starts of pretty slow and probably sounds boring to those unfamiliar with the genre, but once you get further into it, it can be hard to turn the game off. These kinds of games are deceptively addictive and much more fun than they appear to casual observers (I don't believe I've ever actually met any "casual observers" but the phrase seemed to fit).
The AI (Artificial Intelligence) can make or break a Strategy RPG. It holds up well in this game, so don't expect to breeze through it. On top of the good level of challenge, there's a huge amount of content here, with all sorts of different tricks and things to discover, for those who enjoy exploring their games fully.
Makai Kingdom's presentation is either "Old Skool" funky, or dull and unimpressive, depending on your tastes. For me, it is the former. There's nothing here that pushes the PS2 hardware, in fact you could probably get most of it running on a SNES. But I appreciate 2D art and also find it refreshing to look at something a little different every now and then.
|Nice hair, chick lookin' dude. |
Besides, some of the characters are really nicely drawn. They remind me of those from Capcom's Nightstalkers. Good stuff.
Sonically, the standard is just slightly above average for the genre. The music is fitting, pretty cheesy, but that works fine for the style. The voice work is likewise - delivered in a very hammy way - but that only serves to make it all the more humorous.
I think I shall leave it there, as you probably know what to expect from this one and I have so many other reviews waiting to be written. I can say, with a heavy degree of confidence, that if you have any interest in Strategy Role Playing Games, Makai Kingdom is a definite title for your shopping list. If you've never tried one before and want to give it a shot, this one would be a fine choice there too.
It isn't quite as good, in my opinion, as Phantom Brave though. So, get that one first. If you have Phantom Brave already, and love it (as you should) go grab a copy of Makai Kingdom. As I said earlier, the two games are similar, but both are excellent and have just enough differences to justify playing both.
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More articles by Hillelman
Another top quality Strategy RPG from Nippon Ichi Software. Fans of the genre will not be dissapointed and shall be kept happily gaming for many a late night.