Show Me Anything Nippon Ichi Software

Show me anything NIS, Japan's #1 Software since 1993, dood!

NIS is the unsung hero of the Playstation, putting out a metric ton of SRPGs and a lot of twisted comedic games. Plus, it's a perennial favorite of Cosplayers and DeviantArtists everywhere. Nowadays they are more of a publisher than developer... and NIS America might not have the best reputation, but their relationships with Falcom, SNK, Atlus, and a ton of independent Japanese companies definitely helped me discover cool stuff coming out in Japan!

So without any further context, here's Utena Company’s rendition of Under the Rule of the Soldier!

Also this is the (now former) CEO of NIS, Sohei Niikawa, creator of Disgaea, dressed for important shareholder updates.





I had a bit of a NIS phase after reading this HG101 article series (link is to an archive version because on the current site it’s broken up into different game series). I got all the games in this article and a few others, I think I’ve played about half of them. I like their soldier designs:

(Makai Kingdom - I don’t know what the text says, hopefully nothing too dodgy)

(Soul Nomad)

I didn‘t really have anything to show, but I loved Nippon Ichi’s legendary PS2 run. Played through Disgaea 1 and 2, Phantom Brave, and Makai Kingdom. I also had Soul Nomad and La Pucelle but didn't beat them even though I think they were both good games.

Nowadays the graphical style / humor / tone of these games is not so much my taste, but I had a blast with all these games, and I loved how they were always stuffed with systems and options like Disgaea's Demon Senate or Phantom Brave's confine system or just how these games always let you play as the monster units. Some people say that there's not enough actual strategy in these strategy RPGs, which is probably fair compared to stuff like Shining Force or Fire Emblem, though I remember some interesting maps and tricky predicaments in NIS games. Besides, I think the NIS games were more about the fun of preparation and building your party the way you want it, and then the battles are more about "player expression" and just making yourself laugh with all the cool stuff you can do.

I'd say of the bunch Phantom Brave is the one I remember most fondly and my overall favorite for its tropical vibes, awkward but sincere attempts at character and story, wild gridless gameplay, title system, and, of course, bottle mail.

Mechanically, can't think of too many other studios that appeal to me more. Super in the weeds combat systems that want you to break them, endless replayability, a focus on the exact types of rpgs that appeal to me in tactics rpgs and dungeon crawlers.

But good _lord_ do I hate the writing in their games.

I liked how Soul Nomad & The World Eaters asked which gender you would like to be, not which gender you are.