Knights in the Nightmare PSP Hands-On

By Shawn Collier on September 4, 2010, 2:54PM EDT

Last summer, Sting and Atlus released Knights in the Nightmare on the Nintendo DS, and as was evident from our review of the game and anyone who played it, it was an extremely complex and involving game. But for those who put in the effort to learn the game's many mechanics would find a very deep and rewarding game hidden underneath. As expected from Sting's previous GBA/DS releases, Knights in the Nightmare is being ported to the PSP, but with the game's unique gameplay method using the stylus, how well does this transition to the PSP's single analog stick?

(Note that this hands-on preview won't be going into detail about the game's storyline or the general gameplay mechanics. For more information on those check out our review or any of our previous articles covering the Nintendo DS version.)

If you read our article about this very topic, which was put up shortly after the announcement of the game in Japan, you might be under the impression that this change might not turn out well. After getting some hands-on time with the game thanks to Atlus USA, we can safely say that this isn't the case, namely due to some smart changes in the game's controls that make it fit the control scheme of the PSP better, and in some cases, makes for better controls than those found in the Nintendo DS version.

As stated before, the player uses the analog stick to move the Wisp, replacing the touch-screen stylus method the DS version employed. While we did notice a slight size and speed in some of the "bullets" that the enemies fired to compensate for the new controls, it didn't seem dumbed down to the point many had feared. Instead of having all of the weapons lined up on the right of the screen to drag to equip your units, the items are assigned to each corner of the PSP's screen, which now has the player hold down the X button to select the item. One of the most annoying parts of the original game's control scheme, having to "spin" the stylus to switch between Law and Chaos, is now assigned to the right shoulder button, which is an incredibly welcome change for veterans of the original who were annoyed at the original game's method, especially in the later levels of the game on the higher difficulty modes.

As expected with any of Sting's PSP ports, Knights in the Nightmare on the PSP includes a bevy of upgrades. The game's soundtrack is remastered similar to previous games like Riviera and Yggdra Union. The "pause talks" between the knights, which revealed much of the game and the various character's backstories, are now saved for future viewing via a menu in the game's title screen. In addition, a new full-length mode featuring Princess Yggdra from Yggdra Union is available, which can be unlocked either with Yggdra Union PSP save data from the get-go or by completing the game once.

For those who never played the original game, Knights in the Nightmare PSP also includes the option to have the game's tutorials pop-up when necessary during the game, instead of having to go through all the tutorials before actually beginning the game. While we didn't get to see exactly how this was implemented in our time with the game, Atlus has stated that this change should help those hesitant to try out the game feel less apprehensive to the game's initial complexity.

As of right now, Atlus hasn't announced any pre-order bonuses for the game and hasn't announced that they would be doing a demo on PSN, similar to how they did on Nintendo Channel for the original Nintendo DS version. Knights in the Nightmare will hit the PSP on UMD and PSN in North America on October 19 for $29.99.

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