|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sting||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 2, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
April 30, 2009 - The Nintendo DS has certainly been a choice platform for RPGs. From classic ports like Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger to modern titles like Blue Dragon Plus, if you want an RPG for your DS, there is no shortage of titles to choose from. Though having lots of choices is generally a good thing, eventually you might find that a lot of the more generic titles on the DS start to run together and feel a little too similar for hardened RPG veterans.
Knights in the Nightmare, an upcoming title from Atlus, is one that will try to break out of the mold so many RPGs, specifically on the DS, have fallen into in recent years.
The story in Knights in the Nightmare revolves around an abandoned castle that is literally full of evil. It seems that one night, for no discernable reason, several demons took over the castle and slaughtered all of its inhabitants. But several years later, the spirits of the dead knights have awakened to retake the castle from its evil invaders.
One of the most interesting facets of Knights in the Nightmare is that it allows you to take control of all of the different slaughtered knights, which number more than 100. Much like the Suikoden series, you will be able to swap out different knights to form your ideal party. However, instead of playing as one central character, you simply play as a Wisp who is inexplicably drawn to the battlefield where all these knights lost their lives.
Depending on the different knights you use, you will also be able to experience different facets of the story. Each knight has his own back-story, complete with specific goals, interests, and skills. Although it doesn't look like you will be required to use all of the 100 knights to play through the game, the option to experience the full story by seeking out all of these knights is a great way to extend your playtime with this title.
Another facet of this game that will certainly please those who live for the 100+ hour RPG is a second story mode. After you play through the regular storyline with the slaughtered knights, you will be able to play through the entire game again, this time playing as the demons who invaded the castle. This will undoubtedly double the playtime potential of this title.
Aside from all the different characters and replay value, Knights in the Nightmare's chief feature seems to be its genre-bending battle system. The main battle mechanic involves selecting knights to summon to the battle field and directing them through various battle sequences. However, certain battle situations will allow you to help the knights take out enemies; simply tapping your stylus over enemies will allow you to attack as the Wisp using a shooter-like mechanic.
However, the Wisp will not be the only element on the battlefield with firepower. Enemies will also be able to shoot at your characters, so mastering the shooting mechanic will be an absolute necessity for success in battle. This shooter-meets-tactics style of gameplay sounds like it will be quite unique, and it will add a lot of variety to the battle system.
As for the knights themselves, they will have a seemingly simplistic two-fold attack system. Each knight will be able to equip a primary weapon, used for standard and physical-based attacks. In addition to this weapon, your character can also use magic powers (assumingly provided by the undead), which are generally tied to a secondary weapon, which is specific to your knight's special skills and can use MP gathered from special jewels dropped by enemies in battle. The battle system for the knights sounds a little simplistic, but since you will have to manage both incoming firepower with the Wisp, (No comma) as well as manage your knights, then the battle system actually becomes quite complex.
Knights in the Nightmare looks like it is going to be a very intriguing game. The shooter-and-tactics approach it uses for the battle system looks very interesting, and the dual story modes as well as the 100+ characters will ensure that there will be plenty of play value. Luckily, we won't have to wait too long, as Knights in the Nightmare is scheduled for release this June.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor