Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: 09/25/2008
I’m a huge fan of the original Rhapsody for the PSX. It remains my favorite Nippon Ichi game, as it was a wonderful mix of mirth, whimsy, charm and was accessible by all gamers whereas the Disgaea franchise goes more and more niche with each incarnation. The music of Rhapsody has stuck in my head since it first hit stateside in March of 2000. Now eight and a half years later, the game has been remade, remixed and brought over to the Nintendo DS.
In Japan, the Marl’s Kingdom/Puppet Princess series is very popular and although we’ve only ever had the first game come to America, Tenshi no Present - Marl Oukoku Monogatari, was my first game that I ever imported for the PS2. Another interesting fact about the series is that, much like Working Designs translation of Lunar: Silver Star Story, the general consensus amongst the Japanese gamers is that the English version is superior to the original Japanese, and as such the importation of both games were in huge demand during the heyday of the PSX. I myself ended up shipping nearly half a dozen copies of the Atlus USA published Rhapsody to people in Japan simply because they loved the ENGLISH SOUNDTRACK. That last sentence is a bit of foreshadowing by the way …
I did an interview with the Nippon Ichi about the Rhapsody remake back in August of 2008. Here’s an important snippet I feel needs to be recovered for this review.
DHGF: Currently NIS America is best known for its exceptionally long and complex SRPG’s. Rhapsody however, is one of the shortest RPG’s out there, clocking in at about ten hours. Do you think the ease and briefness of the game will induce a bit of culture shock to NIS fans used to 100 hour games and characters that go over Level 100, or do you think with the DS being so popular with casual gamers, that Rhapsody will act as a “gateway drug” of sorts to not just SRPG’s but Nippon Ichi games in general?
NIS: You have mentioned exactly what we’re trying to aim for with Rhapsody. Since this game is fairly short compared to our SRPG lineups, it gears towards to a more casual audience. We’re hoping that gamers who aren’t as hardcore as our Disgaea fans would pick up Rhapsody and find that we do in fact make non-hardcore games as will. That’s not to say that we won’t be focusing on our SRPG’s, since our main focus will always be towards hardcore titles.
So has NIS America managed to achieve their goal? Is the Rhapsody remake going to be their first real hit with the mainstream audience? Will it remain a sleeper/cult hit for those that pick it up? Or perhaps, it ’s such a SNAFU that the game has become exactly the opposite of the intentions NIS claimed to have with the DS remake. Let’s find out together.