Phantom Brave is very much a turn for the unexpected from Nippon Ichi, a game that (for the most part) puts away the upbeat comedy styling’s of their other titles and instead tells a story that’s bitter-sweet.
For those who enjoyed Disgaea, Makai Kingdom represents Nippon Ichi pretty much throwing the kitchen sink at the Tactical RPG genre. It’s bigger, more wacky and pushes the idea of what can be included in a battle further than any other title.
Nippon Ichi had thrown the kitchen sink at the original Disgaea game and when it came time to produce a sequel it was going to be hard to find ways in which to further innovate the game. Instead a new-found focus on storytelling and a few lighter modifications to an already great system make Disgaea 2 something of a love or hate it sequel.
It’s hard to believe that Tactical RPGs were in a bit of a slump in the west prior to the release of Disgaea. The likes of ‘Final Fantasy Tactics’ had ‘Tactics Ogre’ had set a standard for the genre that was overly-serious and could at times produce lengthy, dry campaigns that required a significant investment in time to beat, even if those games produced great gameplay and narratives. Tactical RPGs were becoming dull and grey in tone. Then Nippon Ichi released Disgaea onto the world and everything changed.
Nippon Ichi’s ‘Disgaea’ series hasn’t seen release on iOS as of 2015, with no announced intention to do so in the near future. This is a great shame because the current phones on the market are more than capable of running the DS or PSP ports of the original game and its sequel. Perhaps the people at Nippon Ichi are afraid they’d break the app-store, with nobody ever having to buy another tactics game with 9999 character levels to achieve and generated levels outside the campaign to give infinite variety? It’s into this vacant spot that Fantasy War Tactics slides, a freemium game that boasts some extremely high production values.
It’s hard to believe that the humble Tactics RPG wasn’t always as popular as it is today; with releases in its genre cooling after the Shining Force series abruptly stopped and Final Fantasy Tactics put a full stop on how they should be made. However the release of the Gameboy Advance brought a lot of such titles into the fold as a viable mobile genre and sparked interest again. On the PS2, a company called Nippon Ichi Software managed to create an art form out of such titles, carving out such brilliant examples of the genre as Disgaea, Phantom Brave, and of course La Pucelle: Tactics.