+Solid battle system that feels like a true spiritual successor to Folklore
+Beautifully crafted romance between the leading ladies
+Character designs feel solidly crafted to fit the world perfectly
+A very relaxing soundtrack that soothes throughout the game
-Muddied and blurred CGI scenes
-Breast emphasis is a bit overwhelming
When it comes to games that are thick and immediately accessible on a narrative, it’s Nights of Azure. This seems quite simple to say that this is good, something that we know Gust has been great at with past titles like Ar nosurge Plus have proven that stories are something they are great with. With Nights of Azure, we’re given quite a few twists and even characters to remember as the story gets underway, which is easy to say – is a good thing as Gust has gotten it all right with this title. With our leading ladies Arnice and Lilysse, we find the two as our characters of interest. That being said, we get to see them at the same locale where they just happen to run into each other – the abandoned Ruswal Island. Otherwords? A place known as “The Land Without Night”. A place where the island’s inhabitants turn into monstrosities after the wicked Nightlord through contaminating them with his Blue Blood, which corrupted their very souls.
After having come in contact with it, Arnice has managed to somehow managed to retain at least half her humanity. This enabled Arnice to turn into the demon-slayer we get to know. Like any tale of where night dawns, this is where Arnice finds herself at her peak, and will find herself purging the island of the residents that were cursed by the Nightlord. The downside to this tale? Arnice must find a way to stop him without having Lilysse force herself from being sacrificed in order to do so.
As much as one would expect, the story is one that is rather respectively done as the relationship for the two women is a same-gender type. One that is not littered with cheap, porn style emphasis nor does it take on the internalized shame experienced by either women. This makes their relationship believable, realistic, and noteworthy as the women get their story underway. All you need to know with these two? They love each other, they find themselves sweet, refreshing, and enjoyable for the viewers to experience. Something that is pure as it gets when it comes to any game out there yet. One that does feature natural drama and action within the story elements given to them.
While the story is what shines the most, the games battle system is one that shines quite a bit. As those who experienced Folklore will know, the game seems to be a successor to that same one, and even offers up unique battle sets that are comprised of “Servens” that players will have battle it out during the battle phases. During the combat phase, players will find themselves pressing upon the corresponding button to that Serven in order for them to attack. The biggest difference between Nights of Azure and Folklore? You have to pres the buttons instantly in Folklore to attack while Nights of Azure allows for companions that are summoned to be summoned into combat and fight with the player. This gives the characters you fight along side a sense of life as they fight uniquely as part of the party rather than being controlled as the party. This is something that also seems that Gust has intuitively designed using Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch as a reference point. The biggest feat to this entire system? Players can unlock new Servens as they progress through the game in order to change up how the battlefield feels. This allows for the combat situations to feel rather fluid as if it was meant to be this way without any second thoughts.
While combat does see Servens as a big part of it, transformation as well as weapons play a rather large role within the game. As you know, combat coincides with the use of Servens, which you equip through your loadout, which allows you to change up during situtations as players will find themselves building up a transformation bar. Here players will find Arnice transforming into a demon-esque creature. One that is based upon what Servens are in the character loadout when playing. This means that are multiple transformations, but the two experienced most? Fire demon, which is the basic transformation that is obtained upon starting the game. The second and personal favorit eof mine? The Bunny Girl, one which makes fast jabs, kicks, and even uses a finisher that allows for enemies to be hit in a certain vicinity. If you’re used to playing the .Hack G.U. games the weapon change system will also seem rather familiar. All weapons do have their uses based upon the enemy type being fought. The downside? The changing of weapons does feel sluggish from time to time.
Combat aside, the game shines through its soundtrack where players will find themselves relaxed to each soothing tone, one that can be attributed to its light side as well as its beautiful darkness that is embedded within it from time to time. Something that is beautifully accentuated by the games ambient sounds that are perfectly placed to add more essence to the games life. Something that seems to follow perfectly with the games graphical designs that allow for an anime-like approach that works quite well. While areas of combat are smooth and stay so for most of combat, the game does see slight frame rate dips in high action moments. Though the dips are not as noticeable as one would would think. The games graphics offer quite a bit of clarity to the detail while the depth of zones are easily enjoyable thanks to the games use of background as well as backdrops while exploring.
While each environment seems rather dark and gloomy, it works quite well for the games story approach as well as the world that it takes place in. This case makes it rather gorgeous, beautiful even. While each zone may seem small, each is well designed, thought out, and easy to navigate so that players don’t get lost when trying to navigate between zones. The fact this has been done, seems easily to attribute to Gust’s Ar tonelico franchise. The downside? Some are ones that will shine that the boss is there by simply stating “BOSS” on the entry way, notifying players what encounter is up ahead.
Aside from the games overall design, there is something unique that comes to happen as players enjoy the title: Decisions matter, and they matter big time. Depending on the decisions made, the game does change out the experience that players will have as the title gets underway. This can be things such as dialogue can depict on the aspect of things that can happen. This also means the options that become available throughout the game. This means even negotiating within the games progress with currency such as Libra and Blue Blood, which allows players to obtain items they need. Libra being the basic that can be used at trade shops for items or Blue Blood, which is where decision making really comes into play. This currency can only be obtained through defeating enemies. This currency is used to purchase items from alternative traders, which have items that can be used by the
While the game gets the good graces it deserves, there are a few places where the game stumbles quite a bit. This comes to cut scenes, which seem rather muddied, blurred even during their moments. While the CGI moments seem rather problematic, but when the game uses the in-game animations? The graphics remain pure, clean, and beautiful as if they were never bothered with during their creation. Sadly this seems to follow through with the character breasts, which seem to take center stage at times as they seem over emphasized upon. While this isn’t bad for some games, it’s something that does take over during certain scenes as well as parts of the games story as the character chests bounce during walking, running, and even while breathing during stand-still moments. This seems to take away from the games sincerity quite a bit during the campaign, but doesn’t deter the enjoyment of the overall title.
Nights of Azure – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Price: $59.99 USD
Released: Available Now
Overall, the game is enjoyable, one that has noticeably and carefully crafted for players to experience during their time with Gusts latest title. This title is one that fans of both the Atelier and even the Ar tonelico franchise can come and enjoy when looking for a new game to play by the same developer. For Ps4 owners? This is definitely a game that should be considered during the drought of JRPG’s on the console.
Our review is based on a copy provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
Chris Adee is one of B.A.T.G.R.’s newest writers who seems to love three things. Sleep, games, and MOBA’s when he’s not goofing around on Warframe and SMITE. He also likes games. A lot. Oh and anime. Did we mention anime?