Battle Chasers: Nightwar Review
Ever have a family member leave you something important behind? What if it is more than just a simple item that gave you a purpose? A little girl had her world turned upside down and the weight of the world in her hands after her village was attacked. These powerful gauntlets are the only thing she has left of her father who disappeared. Now she is on a quest with a few friends watching her back to find out where he is and hoping he is alive while trying to survive the perils of this crazy world. From Joe Madureira’s famed 1998 comic book series comes a game that I have been waiting for, but does it live up to my expectations?
It begins like any other adventure with an attack on your life? Our heroes are in the air traveling around until they are engaged in combat. The ship consists of Gully, Garrison, Calibretto, Red Monika and Knolan as they continue their journey protecting the young Gully and her father’s Gauntlets. The sad part in any expedition is when you and your party get separated. Now you are on a new journey tracking down your friends and continuing on fighting the good fight. See you can tell a story without too many spoilers.
What is a JRPG? It can be defined as strict storyline and a rigid gameplay. To put it blunt think of a JRPG more like an interactive novel vs. a Western RPG where you create your own path. The funny part is that I am the last person you would expect to enjoy a turn-based RPG in any form, but being that I am a big fan of the story and it has struck my interest. I have to admit they did a darn good job keeping my attention span in tuned. As in any role-playing game you will have a party of characters in which you will take turns using their abilities against the opposition. At times you will face one character to up to 3 or in two or more waves.
I have spent so far 6.9 hours playing going through two dungeons and a few boss battles learning all the mechanics. Right now in my party I just have Garrison, Gully, and Calibretto trying to seek out Monkia and Knolan. Gully is the heart of the group giving off the most defense of the party with one major special ability heroism that can put a shield on the entire crew. She is also a well-rounded brawler that can deal damage with each punch, as well as uses Earth element powers. Calibretto is the healer which is funny being that he is a War Golem and seems to be the caregiver of Gully. His special abilities can heal the whole party, but he is also a powerhouse with his hand cannon. Garrison is the offensive character with his mighty sword that can either cause bleed damage, give haste to his party members or attack all opposition with one wave strike.
As you level up you will gain new abilities and perks that you will use points to unlock through books you discover or with each level. There will be offensive and defensive perks on two pages that you can fight in your book. Since I am playing on the PlayStation 4, you will have to use the touchpad to access the book. While outside of the game you will travel the world through the map, but the view will change once inside an exploration area which you can use player abilities. Gully can use the ground pound to stun enemies to evade battles or cause damage before a battle. Garrison has a shadow step to get through traps and such. Calibretto has a healing effect naturally.
The best thing about RPG’s in any form is that you can play it your way, I always found it hard following a guide because you are cheating yourself with certain things. For example, I noticed that Garrison was extremely squishy when he was attacked, so I had to build up his defense or have Gully cast protection on him in each battle as I noticed that the enemies knew that too so they would attack him often.
There will be times that some enemies will be shrouded which is annoying, so I would suggest using a character that can bring them out of hiding like Garrison’s Siphon ability that will affect anyone even hidden.
Outside of running into enemies on the map and exploration, you will encounter Dungeons. These are where you will level up the most and if you are brave enough try to go in on the hardest difficulty. This is where the meat of the game time comes into play where I spent almost two hours in my first dungeon and the second was a little over 3 hours because I left to refuel and stock up on potions. You will be able to make your own potions and armors with the materials that you find or obtain. So please keep certain things and be careful what you sell.
Strategy is your friend and learning everyone’s abilities will keep you alive and now we come to the burst system feature. I am currently using a two bar system which is great and I tend to let it build up for major battles. Now keep in mind when you fight you will gain extra meter in your mana called Overcharge. It will be an extra red bar that you can utilize to conduct a stronger mana ability. With the burst ability fully charge you can utilize some great cinematic attacks or abilities. The video below will show you what went down during the Dungeon event.
Nightwar is stunning all around and I am not surprised since Joe Madureira is the lead artist behind this game. He took care in bringing the comic book to the gaming world and seeing it all in motion was fantastic, especially characters I have not seen in a while. JRPG’s are known for the looks while some give you great gameplay, but as I am traveling around the maps, transitioning into the exploration areas and then into combat. I am captivated by all the different personalities and scenes, which makes me wish for a toy line as I am going through the world.
The added bonus of some scenes having great voice acting, by the way, had my jaw drop. Putting a voice to these characters was delightful since I had my own ideas of how each and everyone spoke when reading the comics. There are times you are questioning some of the characters if they will be on your side or will they be a battle later on in the story. Only time will tell.
The music score is fantastic, not too heavy on battle music, but enough to give you a boost in fighting. Even down to the creepy sound effects of some of the slime monster, I swear what is up with RPG’s and having slime monsters?
There are issues I have with some of the loadings that happen which is a bit of a downer even though we are on a digital game. I don’t expect that much of a wait time in certain areas or new areas when it comes to digital download or downloaded games from disk. There are still a few glitches which cause confusion as I loot boxes. I noticed that there were a few boxes that still would sparkle that I can’t touch, so I thought I missed a box that I didn’t loot, but it was just a background.
Another thing when it comes to saving, I don’t like that you have to save and quit to do a manual save. Even though the game does gracefully autosave, I would feel a lot better to just be able to make a separate save from the main save just in case I want to go and do something different. Forcing gamers to leave when saving is just bad form and it can be a pain after a while.
All things considered, I am still powering away at this game and as much as a bad mouth some RPG’s, especially turn-based ones. I am finally enjoying one again and that is saying a lot since the last time I enjoyed this style of JRPG was Final Fantasy X and of course before that Xenogears. Battle Chasers: Nightwar brought something interesting to the genre and even though it is pretty much using the same mechanics, it still adds its own unique Western feel towards it that gives you options to pick many languages. Yes, this is a review copy gifted to us and I just want to jump back into it to see where the story goes. I also like that there is a new game plus option that will bring in a whole new level of difficulty that I am looking forward too.
All that being said, Battle Chasers: Nightwar gets 4.5 paws out of 5. It is a great game for the price of $29.99 and be sure to check out steam for sales because that often happens. I mean, this is literally a game I would pay full retail price for being that I am 6.9 in-game hours into it and not even close to getting to Red Monika and Knolan. I mean I have only done two dungeons that combined is 5 hours of gameplay! This game makes me happy to play JRPG’s again, even if I have to wait a few moments for the loading screen to finish and saving is a bit of an annoyance. Get this game and I hope you liked this review. – Beast Out –