The market for RPG titles is just as flooded as any other genre. So there’s no surprise when you hear another one is releasing, or has already released and just slipped past your wallet. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is not an AAA, so neither the budget nor the advertisement for it would match that level, but the gameplay and graphics could be otherwise mistaken. Based on the series of 9 comics from the late 90s into the early 2000s, the game depicts a band of warriors, each with their own unique classes, personalities, and fighting styles. It’s driven by a massive focus on exploration and discovery, and will take you through procedurally generated dungeons where you will constantly be tested in strategy and power. Developed by Airship Syndicate, and published by THQ Nordic, this is one of those gems that will please almost any turn based RPG fan.
Keeping true to classic turn based games, battles are initiated in a combat screen, separate from normal map traversing. This will go up to 3v3 encounters, and will be triggered by engaging with an enemy in the world. There are no random encounters, and it’ll have to take a lot for you to be surprised by an enemy. You can maneuver your way around areas in order to avoid encounters, but why would you hold the experience points from your heroes? While the inspiration for the game can be found in many classic genre hits, the game does try to be pretty innovative, even if subtle changes that drastically separate itself from the crowd. You’ll need to keep a watchful eye on the normal health and mana, but throughout battles your mana will begin to overcharge due to you using normal attacks.
This will allow you to expel some powerful attacks on your enemies without the fear of wondering if you have enough recovery items in your inventory for after the fight, as the overcharge does not carry over after you are done. Also, the third important aspect of combat is the team burst attack. This will slowly grow over time, and when one uses it, the opportunity for anyone else is gone. This will add a level of strategy to the equation as some heroes will be able to use it as a massively damaging attack, while other may use it in defensive ways. But experience points and perks that aid either offensive abilities or defensive abilities are not the only way to increase your odds of survival in this dangerous world. When in the hub city, you can forge new equipment and purchase items you will need later.
There are six total characters for you to play as. The party size is only three though, so picking and choosing the combination you run with will come down to personal preference and style. Of course, it’s not as simple as which characters look the coolest, but rather which of their unique abilities you find to be the most helpful in your travels. Each one is completely different than the others, and fills the common niches of the genre while also bringing a little bit of originality to the mix. You have characters like a giant golem named Callibretto, a rogue female known as Red Monika, a mage who goes by the name of Kholan, and more. It’s easy to fall in love with them all, but the party size is not the only reason you may shy away from getting to know them all.
Experience gained from fighting is not equally distributed to all characters, regardless if they are included in the party or not. They must be in the party to gain experience and level up, which may be a bit off putting. Some RPG games have opted to use a general leveling system for all characters, or at least give partial to those not selected for party, but perhaps maybe that is a small change that could be changed post release. With anywhere from 25-40 hours of gameplay, and a New Game Plus mode, you could keep them leveled together thanks to enough game time opportunity, but it will require you to slow down the pace and really do some grinding and constant swapping.
As you travel the world, you’ll experience randomly generated dungeons, NPCs, and treasure. I loved this aspect of the game as it made me feel like there was a true reason to return to areas I had already explored, as well as start a NG+ without fear of getting a few hours in and realizing it’s still just a little too fresh on my mind to actually enjoy. It’s the feeling that you are getting a very unique experience, and for an RPG that is so involved with dungeon crawling and exploration, it was a much-needed feature to be included.
The art is one of the highlights of the game, as it was for the comics back in the late 90s, early 2000s. That same love and passion was definitely put into the game, as both the cut scenes and the gameplay look great. Cut scenes play out like comic books that you can just sit back and watch. It’s virtually uncontested in the market as really makes you immerse yourself into the world. Characters’ personalities burst out of the screen, and so too do the colors. Bright and vibrant colors make up the game world and will very from one world to the next. One area may be a winter setting while another is a dark forest, and you can sense that they are in the same world, but different corners.
All in all, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is well worth the investment for fans of the turn based RPG genre. Hell, even those who are fans of comic books, action, badass heroes, and gorgeous game environments. There is anywhere from 25-40 hours plus a New Game Plus mode that carry your dollars further. The randomly generated dungeons mean you’ll have a unique experience each time, which is important for a game fueled by exploration and combat. I would have liked for the party to gain experience together, but it’s definitely not the first time I’ve had to take this mechanic into account while playing. Party management is always a tricky task, but the great diversity in heroes makes it feel well worth the time commitment. The graphics and visual performance is one of the best I have seen in awhile. This makes me want to go check out the comic books from the past. I heard there is suppose to be some concluding ones releasing soon, but until then I’ll need to finish up on the first 9 because this universe is really worth the time and interest.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
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