When one of the greatest producers of turn-based strategy announces a collection of classic games that haven’t seen the light of day for quite some time, I get rather excited. Phantom Brave is a game that I hold near and dear to my heart, and Soul Nomad is one of the few games I haven’t played. Surely the NIS Collection Volume 1 is going to be this grand return to a classic era of NIS, right? Right?
Shockingly Poor Port
No. This collection is unfathomably underwhelming in just about every conceivable way. Let’s talk about ports first. The ports are bad – really bad. They have done next to nothing to update these games. Phantom Brave manages to pull through mostly fine visually, but that’s because it’s a port of an enhanced PC release from a while back. Soul Nomad though? Crikey, that game has aged like rotten milk. I’d go as far as saying it hurts to play, and you tell from the title screen they did bugger all to make anywhere near acceptable.
Zero Quality of Life
You expect to see some quality of life improvements when old games make it to modern hardware. You know, things like the ability to speed up gameplay. This collection does none of that. Instead, it focuses on delivering nothing. This makes Soul Nomad, a game that I didn’t end up enjoying, feel awful to play. Even Phantom Brave fails to transition because it’s stuck in 2004, with early 2000’s design logic. Even Nintendo, the lords of the poor port, added speed options to the rerelease of the 1990 classic, Fire Emblem. Both of these games are a slog to play and simply don’t respect your time.
In terms of content, it’s simply mixed. Soul Nomad is the clear loser here, and it feels like they just threw it in because releasing it separately would be a bad idea? I don’t know, but Phantom Brave is the big winner and carries the pack by itself. But not even Phantom Brave can save the collection from this mire of inadequacy. Oh, and don’t think about changing games without closing down the software. It has a tendency to crash.
NIS Collection Volume 1 is probably not worth buying, and it pains me to say. One of these games is one of the best turn-based strategy games to release on the PS2, and all it needed was a tiny change to its speed. Considering that PC players have been using cheat engines to add in 2x speed increases since the mid-2010’s it’s baffling how this wasn’t just included as standard. Even Soul Nomad could have been redeemed. Alas, what we have here is a cheap cash grab that does nothing obscure that intent. If you must play Phantom Brave on Switch, then this might be worth it on sale.
If you’d like to see our in-depth reviews for each title, you can find them by clicking here.
WAIT FOR SALE ON NIS COLLECTION VOLUME 1
Many thanks go to NIS America for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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Forged in the rainy wilds of northern England, I carved a path of mediocrity through generations and genres. My play style is often described as: “optimistically awful”.