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Knights in the Nightmare for the Nintendo DS was developed by Sting, a nice little company that does a pretty good job of putting out decent games. They are responsible for Rondo of Swords and a few other games that, while not great, were pretty good. Then comes Knights in the Nightmare. I'm not even sure what to call it because strategy RPG seems so last year. I'll just call is awesome. Here's why.
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Talk about complex. The story unfolds itself that way a well paced book should. Cut scenes before and after battles give away tiny chunks of story, and you, the player, have to fit them all together. Nothing is straight forward or right out told to you, but that's part of what makes it so great.
At the beginning, a warrior breaks into the castle and steals the king's soul. She escapes and puts the soul in an old church. Meanwhile, knights all over the kingdom search for her. You play as a wisp. A white light that controls the battles and who is traveling toward some unknown goal. The rest would spoil too much it I gave it away. Just know that is too, is awesome.
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The gameplay in Knights in the Nightmare is harder to explain than the story. It is real-time strategy combat, but it is unlike any other game you've ever played because it is an entirely new take on the genre. You control the wisp in battles, and it is your job to recruit knights (by finding and giving them key items), and possess them to make them attack.
In order to kill enemies, the knights have to be equipped with certain weapons that you choose at the beginning of each round. The weapons will correspond to certain classes and either Law or Chaos. During battle you can change which rules the battle, Law or Chaos, to use the weapons which correspond to it.
Also, the knights don't really take any damage, but you, the wisp, do. So you have to dodge enemy bullets (they take time away from your battle, not HP), provide the knights with the weapons they need to use to attack, power up their attacks and wait for the enemies to be in range since the knight's themselves can't move. In order to win a battle you are given a set of goals to accomplish, such as getting a certain number of kills, and the amount of moves you get is set at the beginning of battle as well. Also, each turn is timed and when you run out of time you get the start the next turn.
You control the wisp with the touch screen, although the action is actually taking place on the top screen.
If it sounds confusing, it is. But there is a nice tutorial section at the beginning of the game that shows you everything in graphic detail. And you'll need it. Learning to play this game is important since it is so unique, but it is worth it.
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Graphics and Sound
Graphically Knights in the Nightmare is beautiful. The backgrounds are gorgeous and the sprites are cute and well-designed. All of the artwork in this game is top notch and you can tell they spent a long time on it.
Sound-wise Knights in the Nightmare is good too. The music is sweeping when it needs to be, and fades to the background when it needs to. There is a lot of voice acting in the game, which is actually one of my only pet peeves. The US voices don't seem to fit the mood of the game, and I would have liked a Japanese voice version, but all in all, that's a minor gripe.
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Knights in the Nightmare isn't the type of straight forward fun that a lot of games offer. It is more like the immersive fun of Disgaea DS. Knights in the Nightmare will pull you in and won't let you go for a very long time. It is addictive and beautiful and learning its story and the intricacies of its gameplay is like reading a great novel, it should take time and it shouldn't always be easy (and it's not), but in the end it is more rewarding that way.
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Knights in the Nightmare is a great game, and I don't say that very often. It is a unlike anything I've ever played, and while the DS doesn't really need anymore tactical game, it did need Knights in the Nightmare. If you liked Disgaea DS, you'll love Knights in the Nightmare. Go pick it up today. You won't be able to put it down, I know I wasn't. Of course, there are tons of other great DS games out there and you will find plenty of great reviews, guides, and cheats for many of the DS games on the market here on Bright Hub.