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NIS America Invites Drunken Shenanigans

And in the process we get to see some fancy new games and get a rockin' hangover!
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 8, 2009
There's a certain level of openness that comes from NIS America that you'll never, ever get from other publishers. When the head of a company publically apologizes for a botched localization of an otherwise great (though kinda creepy) game, then vows that it'll never happen again, you can't help but feel a little... impressed? We don't even know if that's the right word, but it did actually mean something. That same company also continually espouses the importance of us dorks with jobs making a difference on their sales, and it humanizes the whole bunch.

Maybe that's why we were rather enamored of the smallish publisher's efforts for the rest of the year -- that or the open bar that was a little too attractive to resist. Still, as we nurse our hangover, the titles at the event still managed to stick out. We went hands-on with a couple of 'em which you can read about down below, but we wanted to also make a smallish run-down of what was announced and discussed at the event (and, uh, we need an excuse to point to all the screens and movies we drunkenly stamped with our logo at like 3AM this morning). So, without further ado...

[PlayStation Portable]

[Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days]
| Screens | Trailer |
The fact that NIS America was rolling out another Disgaea on the PSP wasn't entirely surprising. After all, the first PSP game was friggin' awesome. What did surprise us, however, was the news that the game would actually be incorporating elements from Disgaea 3. It was one of the most impressive signs of the developer/publisher seriously listening to complaints from the first PSP outing (namely that after Disgaea 2, it was a little tough to go back to the limited gameplay of the first game, good as it was). With the addition of things like a completely separate story arc that focuses on Dark Hero Axel -- complete with his own hub world -- and the magichange system from the PS3 outing, plus new items, skills and characters. Awesome.

[Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This?]
| Screens | Movies | Preview |
There's not a whole lot to say here that isn't already talked about in a preview, but Acquire's funky little retro dungeon maker/cultivator is straight-up sweet. It's unlike anything else we've seen on the PSP, manages to be at once old-school and yet feels quite new. Yeah, it's difficult, it's also niche as hell, but we love NIS America for showing the game luv.

[PlayStation 2]

[Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy]
| Screens |
Gust's item crafting-heavy games have apparently found an audience over here in America, so again we weren't entirely surprised to see that it'd be headed our way. Things this time around center around two classes during battle (defenders and, of course, attackers), two main characters (each with their own stories) and of course a ridiculous amount of item creation by way of alchemy. That's about all we know about things at this point, but the game's coming, and we'll almost certainly have a preview build of the game in the coming weeks, especially since the game is coming... next month? Huh...

[Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love]
Wow, uh, talk about unexpected. So unexpected, in fact, that we don't yet have any PS2 media on this one yet, but that's probably because it's sorta directed at the Wii crowd. The first Sakura Taisen game to actually make its way to US shores, Sakura Wars is actually an updated version of Sakurai Taisen V with a proper translation (naturally), and carries with it the insanely Japanese melding of a dating sim and mech duels. Yes, really. The game's six endings piggyback off the dating sim elements (which also determine how well you'll fight while in the robo-suits) across more than a half-dozen chapters all taking place in the good ol' US of A (which might explain why NISA decided to go with this one). We have to admit the series is long, long overdue for Japanophiles, but it'll be interesting to see if the game takes off. As soon as we have proper media, we'll kick it your way.

[PlayStation 3]

[Cross Edge]
| Screens | Trailer | Prevew |
Like Badman, there's not a whole lot to say here that we didn't already spill into our hands-on preview. Take characters from Capcom, Idea Factory, Gust, Nippon Ichi, and Banpresto (now just Namco Bandai Games), throw 'em all into an RPG with a little planning help from Compile Heart and you have game that... Well, a game that's a pretty massive undertaking both for the developer and players. All the same, we're interested in how things might turn out, and our hours-long time with the game has yielded more than a little potential. JRPG-starved PS3 owners might want to keep this one on their radar.

[Last Rebellion]
| Screens |
Of all the games shown off at the event, this one was perhaps a bit too... let's just say it was extremely "early". You can see what we mean with the images, but we're excited that developer Hit Maker is trying their hand at a full-blown PS3 project. All we really know right now is that the game will be turn-based and that there will be area-specific attacks for enemies that will slow movement or attacks for clubbing 'em in the legs or arms, with respects. We're not really sure how this one's going to turn out, but one thing's for sure: it's bound to look a little more next-gen than what was shown this early. As soon as we get an updated peek, we'll let you know.