Our Rating: 8/10
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is a PlayStation 2 RPG developed by Nippon Ichi Software, the same company that brought you Phantom Break and the Disgaea series. Soul Nomad stands out for its gameplay, despite having a similar look and feel to the other titles. It’s still a tactical game. However, each “unit” is made up of a small group. The combat reminds us of a few Advanced Wars and Dragon Force in terms of visuals. The game was released for Steam and Switch in late August.
The tale of Soul Nomad takes place in the lands of Prodestus. It begins with Gig the Master of Death and the World Eaters arriving to destroy everything. After much fighting, Layna, the former king’s daughter and current leader of the resistance, is said to have defeated the villain. When Gig was defeated, the three World Eaters went into hibernation and remained there for the rest of their lives.
After 200 Years
200 years have passed and the World Eaters have begun to manifest, posing a serious threat to the world. Our protagonist appears at this point. A young man or woman from a hidden village who, when he reaches the age of majority, is presented with a sword by none other than Layna herself. This isn’t just any sword; it holds the soul of Gig, a man who, by the way, speaks through his elbows. The reason for Gigi’s presence will be revealed later in the game.
Things start to get exciting here. While Gig’s strength is necessary for us to win, we risk becoming the next Lord of Destruction if we overuse this resource. This is reflected in the gameplay and dialogue options available to you when dealing with other NPCs. There is even a “Demon Path” that consists of exactly that; with different endings and characters, which drastically alters the route.
Apart from this deception path, the protagonist’s interactions with other characters have an impact throughout the campaign. As does their use in combat and combined attacks, which disrupt affinities.
Soul Nomad is a tactical role-playing game, but instead of single characters, it features squads of fighters, ranging in size from four to nine. Aside from the main characters, you can assemble a team of hired warriors from a variety of classes, including knights, archers, thieves, clerics, and pyromancers. There are few choices at first, but as the campaign progresses, more become available.
Positioning is crucial when assembling a team. Each class’s attack is different depending on where it is in the group: front, middle, or back. A character named Leader is required in each group. Regardless of the condition of the others, if he dies, the squad is lost in the battle. Units killed in combat, on the other hand, return after the battle, and you don’t lose any units at all, which is a pleasant surprise.
It’s worth noting that each fight begins with the protagonist’s group alone. Others must be summoned onto the battlefield at any point during the battle, and it is up to the player to choose who and when to join his army. Because each Summon has a cost, this system can be useful for summoning specific groups to fight specific types of enemies, allowing for more efficient strategies. Another nice feature is that you can visualize the battleground before you start it, which is a good way to plan your strategy ahead of time.
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters was released in 2007, near the end of the PlayStation 2’s lifespan. Its visual style is similar to that of other NIS PS2 games, and it still looks great today. The soundtrack is excellent as well. The main campaign’s lines are all dubbed, with English and Japanese options available.
My criticisms of the game, as for the port, are as follows. It’s not bad; the game runs smoothly, but I wish there were more options for customizing the game’s settings. Some sidebars with art could be used to fill the screen in a 4:3 ratio. The 16:9 mode simply shows the stretched image, which does not look good in my opinion. Also, there’s only one filter that slightly blurs the pixels, and I prefer it without it.
The world needs to be saved
Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is a long-forgotten PS2 gem that gets a new lease on life with this Steam and Switch re-release. Although Nippon Ichi is known for their extremely complex RPGs, I believe that things aren’t too punishing here and that even someone who isn’t familiar with the style will have a good time. Simultaneously, anyone looking for a few more layers of systems will find it here.
The story and characters are based on the developer’s trademark wit. The various dialogue options and interactions with NPCs provide a wide range of options, giving the game a lot of life.