I feel like I literally just played the last NIS Classics release and they’re already back with another one. Not that I’m complaining though – I’m always up for an opportunity to play some neat, older JRPGs. Now NIS Classics Volume 3 continues the trend of including one game I really like and another I find to be just okay. That said, they seem to be improving on the porting front at least.
Starting with La Pucelle: Ragnarok – one I had never heard of before. It was originally released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2002 as La Pucelle: Tactics before being ported to the PSP in 2009 as La Pucelle: Ragnarok – the version present here along with a plethora of new scenarios, characters, voices, music, and other tweaks.
So right off the bat, I applaud NISA’s effort here in actually giving the game more of a facelift compared to what they did in Volume 2 with Makai Kingdom. The game runs flawlessly at 4k, doesn’t have nasty washed out sprites from texture filtering, and actually has some pretty serviceable keyboard and mouse controls that are also fully rebindable. I also noticed the addition of fast travel – a much appreciated quality of life change.
That said, I have the same problem with the game that I did with Makai Kingdom – that being that it just plays too slow and too similarly to Disgaea that I would just rather be playing Disgaea with all of its customization, quality of life features, and everything else that this game lacks. Sure, it’s nice to have an authentic experience as the game was many years ago, but I quickly found myself bored with its pacing and how clunky the gameplay can feel at times because it’s missing little stuff like not being able to quickly swap between units that haven’t used their action in a turn yet.
So yeah, I kinda gave up on this one after some hours – I would just rather go play a different NIS release instead, whether that be Disgaea or otherwise.
The other game though is Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure and this was a pleasant surprise. It was originally a PlayStation 1 game released back in 1998 and if I had to best describe it, it would be something like if Disney decided to make a Japanese tactical RPG. It still has that same classic NIS-style tactical combat, but it is all wrapped up in this larger, musical adventure that is far more lighthearted and fun than I was expecting.
You go around, playing music, completing little questlines, exploring these colorful and diverse environments, and the pacing is solid. It’s quite literally like a musical theater production as a JRPG and I am absolutely here for it. Granted, it should be noted that this game is by no means difficult – even if you bump it to the hardest option. It feels like it’s aimed at a younger audience in this way, but I honestly was having a great time with it regardless.
And like La Pucelle, it comes with a bunch of updates to make the experience more modern, such as the customizable keyboard and mouse controls, high resolution support, and – in this game’s case – a couple filters to choose from if you so desire.
So that pretty much sums up NIS Classics Volume 3. Again, one good, one bad, but if you’re playing on PC you at least have the option of buying them separately. I feel like NIS gave these two more of a facelift compared to the last volumes, so that’s nice to see as well – even if more work could still be done in the quality of life department.
Anyways, I can’t say I’ll end up playing more La Pucelle, but I’ll probably give Rhapsody a playthrough on my Steam Deck and I’m looking forward to what a potential Volume 4 will contain.
La Pucelle: Ragnarok is available on Steam and Switch.
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is available on Steam and Switch.
I was provided a review copy of both games in order to write this article. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.