Summer Line-Up from NIS

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NIS is a company on the verge of change. Known for ports of obscure Japanese video games, when a company starts making Atlus appear mainstream, you know things are going to be fun. At an event held last week, they showed off five new titles coming out this summer, ranging from familiar sequels to some new surprises. NIS has three goals: continue to publish titles for fans, continue to self-produce, and release games in new genres. This design aesthetic is going far. Take a look at the following titles--maybe something is right for you.

Cladun X2: The sequel to last year’s odd dungeon crawler for the PSP, Cladun X2 brings a lot to the table. With very retro graphics and a unique leveling up system (involving using other party members as equipped stat boosters), this is about as niche as you can get from NIS, and that’s saying a lot. However, the “X2” in that title is more than a simple indication of the game's place in the series. Cladun X2 has twice the content--with more character, more methods to take on foes, many more animation options for character customization, and now item and weapon customization. This unique title will be coming this summer to PSN only.

Cave Story 3D: Exactly as it sounds, Cave Story 3D is a 3D port of the retro-themed exploration game from Nicalis, the same company responsible for porting the original to DSiWare. Announced at a previous NIS event, Cave Story 3D has been anticipated for more than a few months now, and it’s nice to get some solid hands-on with the game. Let's just say the game looks very different from its predecessors. The 3D effects are pretty tame, with nothing that would send your eyes into hysterics. The depth is mellow, which suits this type of game. I’m not a hundred percent sure this direction is somehow better than the original, so fans of the indie original should be a little wary. However, hidden surprise content exclusive to this version should keep fans happy. The game comes out August 9 for the 3DS.

Atelier Totori: Adventurer of Arland 2: The sequel to Atelier Rorona, Atelier Torori takes place some time after its predecessor, but not so far that fan favorite characters from the previous game won't make an appearance. Developer Gust has built on this alchemy game in some minor ways. Sure, players will still control a klutzy and cute young female alchemist that varies between barely and heavily clothed as she collects items in an overworld to make more supreme items, but the battle system has seen a modification. Players now have a traditional mana meter to facilitate attacks, and battles have a more traditional feel. Keep an eye out for Atelier Tortori this September.

Bleach: Soul Resurrection: An upcoming hack and slash in the same vein as Dynasty Warriors, Bleach: Soul Resurrection takes 21 of the most popular characters from the manga/anime and lets them traverse broad swaths of land, taking out demons and other bad guys. The game uses a fantastic cel-shaded art direction that makes the character animations look like they came straight out of the anime. Unfortunately, the levels that Ichigo and co. battle in are pretty sparse. The Mission Mode supposedly offers more than 100 hours of gameplay.

Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten: The fourth entry in this venerated franchise, Disgaea 4 is as insane and over the top as ever. There’s not much to be said about Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten other than fans of its predecessors are going to find lots to love with this one. The game has a slightly more mythical feel, as werewolves, vampires, and a half-prinny girl make up the cast (prinnies are the explosive penguins now known as the mascot of NIS), and the crazy gameplay based upon weapons and items have returned. Additionally, monsters can now be used as weapons and characters can stack upon each other to perform silly attacks--such as totem poling an enemy into the moon or summoning manga and video game characters to execute random attacks. If it all sounds like a bit much, expect to spend plenty of time in the substantial training and tutorial modes. Look for Disgaea 4 this September.

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Ben PerLee
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