In recent years the formula for RPGs has changed dramatically from turn based to a more real time battle system. Something myself and my friends have actually talked about and miss immensely.
Based on the Image Comics comic book series of the same name created by studio lead Joe Madureira takes us back to those earlier roots with a hint of modernization and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar starts out with a hand animated sequence featuring Gully and the gang as their airship is shot down and the gang is separated and stranded, the group seeks to find each other and get off the island, they find themselves mixed up in the middle of a rapidly evolving situation involving powerful artifacts, an immortal villain, witches, demons, and a variety of monsters that need to be dealt with to save the land.
As is typical with RPGs, the real focus is the combat system and the one created by Airship Syndicate is for lack of better word is damn near perfect. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is loaded with incredibly entertaining and satisfying, turn-based battles. In any combat situation, players strategically plan out Actions, Abilities, and Bursts. Actions are your standard attacks or defensive techniques that happen instantly. Abilities can take some extra time to perform, causing you to wait until that character’s turn comes back to them. These can be group healing or attacks spells, buffs, and debuffs. Lastly, Burst Skills are tremendously powerful techniques that can only be used when your Burst Gauge is full. Similar to the Super meter in many fighting games, the Burst Gauge fills automatically as you attack the enemy, cast spells, or take damage. Once filled, you can each character can unleash a unique and powerful spell or attack that can help change the outcome of the battle.
A unique and often times helpful system that Battle Chasers: Nightwar has is the Overcharge system. Performing Actions adds extra points to your Overcharge meter, which acts as a bonus reserve of MP. This makes some of the bigger battles and larger dungeons feel more like a game of chess as you strategically pick your Abilities and Actions strategically to get the most mileage out of your repertoire of spells and attacks.
Navigating the work of Battle Chasers: Nightwar is done via a map of the world with dotted paths leading to treasure chests, loot pickup and battles. There are no random encounters when it comes to the battles as you will know exactly when and where the battle is to take place by way of an icon on the map. Once you’ve defeated those encounters, they stay dead until you either rest for the night at an Inn or fail during a dungeon crawl so if you feel the need to leave a dungeon because you’re low on supplies but worried you might die on the way back to the Inn or a store, worry no more. Battle Chasers won’t do you like that.
The dungeons are simply fantastic from top to bottom. The graphics are beautifully detailed and nothing short of spectacular. Just as the world mad shows you when you’ll be encountering a battle, so do the dungeons and the enemies can be seen patrolling the area. Throughout the dungeon sectors players will find copious pieces of world lore further connecting them to the world Battle Chasers inhabits, treasure, items for crafting and fast travel points allowing them to quickly navigate from point A to point B if that travel location has been found. I found this to be particularly useful because at times you will find yourself quite low on Mana, health potions etc and you will want to head back to town to stock up and this helps a great deal in that process. Further I found the dungeon sizes to be exactly perfect. They never felt like they were dragging on or boring. When completing a dungeon, players can replay them at any time at higher difficulty levels for greater rewards which can be helpful with leveling or finding new and unique weapons or armor. The sound and music is spot on and the voice acting is quite good in the small doses we get. Hopefully next time we’ll be treated to more animated sequences full of dialogue.
The party system limits players to just 3 characters so pick your team wisely when embarking on a dungeon. The character all have their own unique personalities and skills. Gully, is a is a young girl looking for her long lost father Aramus. Gully’s most prized possession is the pair of gauntlets that Aramus had left behind and specializes in protection abilities. Calibretto is an ancient war golem built for battle with a specialization in healing, Garrison is a fallen paladin turned mercenary for hire who was once loyal to the missing hero Aramus. His specialization is in offensive tactics and brute force attacks. Knolan is an old mage troubled by the rapid decline of mana– the source of all magic power in the world. He works int he black arts and arcane magic and Red Monika, a wanted fugitive, who will do just about anything for fame and fortune, especially if she’s taking it from someone else. She uses her good looks to confuse and stealthily attack unknowing baddies.
Without question, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is love letter to old school RPGs and it makes no bones about it. From the stunning graphics, the beautiful music and the amazing battle system, there’s little to complain about. If there’s anything I feel that’s actually truly missing is the lack of an auto battle system. When battling some of the lesser enemies, it would have been nice to just hit the auto button and let the AI dispatch them in quick order. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is easily one of the best and most polished Kickstarter success stories I’ve ever played. If you love RPGs especially some of the older school JRPG turn based games a la Lunar, Suikoden or Final Fantasy III you need to get this game. It’s not one to be missed and I for one am extremely hopeful that we’ll be travelling back to this world in a sequel sooner than later.