We were soon off to Nippon Ichi’s corner of the show floor where we’d learn about their latest bunch of anime-inspired releases. The focus this time was very clearly on Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, a dungeon crawler that may or may not be set in the same universe as Witch and the Hundred Knight. Much like Disgaea takes strategy RPGs and cranks them up to 11, Coven of Dusk does the same with dungeon-crawlers.
You don’t control a party of adventurers here; instead you bring a whole army in with you, up to 40 Puppets who do your bidding and support one another as you explore. As you can imagine, there’s layer upon layer of complex and intertwining systems used to advance your characters and make them more powerful, and you can be sure that there’s going to be plenty of content pushing you to use all of them to the best of your ability.
Speaking of Disgaea, we’re seeing a classic return with the release of Disgaea 1 Complete, a remaster of the very first title in the fan-favorite series. This is largely an aesthetic update, with special attention paid to graphics and animations – gameplay remains much as it was in the original release, which might prove to be disappointing after subsequent games have done so much to refine the formula. Still, from a nostalgia perspective this one’s just perfect, so if you grew up playing these strategy-RPGs you can’t really go wrong here.
Speaking of nostalgia, if you’re from the West you might not have all that much for Metal Max. We’ve only seen a couple entries in that series here, after all, though it gets quite a bit of attention in Japan. NIS would like to raise a little tank awareness, though, so they’re localizing the latest in the series Metal Max Xeno.
As post-apocalyptic wanderer Talis, you’ll use a high-tech prosthetic, a pair of swords and a badass, fully customizable battle tank to scour the wastes and seek revenge. I was particularly taken with the aesthetic here; it’s got a Trigun feel that really pushed all the right buttons for me, so I can’t wait to play Metal Max Xeno when it launches.
NIS even had a fighting game in SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy, which stars classic ladies from throughout SNK’s storied fighting history. There’s clearly a little bit of fanservice and pandering going on based on the outfits they’re dressed in, but I was pleased to discover I could have classic characters like Nakoruru wear their iconic costumes instead of, uh…very little.
When it comes to combat, SNK Heroines goes for a simplified approach somewhat similar to games like Smash Bros.; inputs are highly simplified, with a dedicated button for special attacks rather than using complex commands, items that can be collected and thrown at foes, and battles that only end when one side lands a Dream Finish attack. It smacks of a game that would be a good fit for parties and get-togethers thanks to its easy-to-pick-up system.
All told, NIS America has plenty to keep anxious fans fingers more than busy with a variety of Japanese imports that all look like they’re worth waiting for. And that’s the hardest part – the waiting!