Saturday, May 19

Review: Battle Chasers - Nightwar [Nintendo Switch eShop]


When it comes to the RPG genre it always seems to be tough on the upstarts who want to storm the scene and blow things up a bit. The number of established stand-by franchises has gotten to a point where it feels like the “little guys” get squeezed out and it can be hard to make an impression. While Battle Chasers: Nightwar may not be a familiar name to gamers, unless they happen to be comic book fans familiar with the series from that space, it brings fantastic art, a smart and pretty customizable battle system, and a satisfying level of challenge to the Switch.


Starting with the art style that is pretty well impossible to miss Nightwar simply looks stunning. Colors are varied and vibrant, your heroes are distinctive and varied, and the enemies are constantly surprising. Even down to the small details in the environment the game is a feast for the eyes. On top of that each attack, in particular the high-powered burst abilities, has a cinematic quality but stays within the in-game engine so it is all pretty seamless as well.


While you’ll begin your journey with 3 characters you’ll be on the lookout for the 2 missing from the party. As you find each you’ll then have to juggle members, working to find the right balance most often between sheer attack power, offensive and defensive buffs, and plain old healing. As you level up you won’t just be choosing new equipment for your heroes, you’ll also have Perks points you can allocate between 2 disciplines per character that allow you to more finely tune you party. Not just in terms of visuals, but also when it comes to strategy the combat remains engaging through to the end, with an overcharge system that allows to you build up additional mana when you use your base skills and can keep you flush with power for spells when you really need them. To top it all off your party will also build a burst gauge that can be used by one of your party members for a more powerful attack, but you’ll need to use it wisely as the game wears on.


For the most part the level of challenge in the game is quite fair, as long as you’re carefully grinding all along the way. Managing the overall level of each of your party members can become a concern when they’re sitting idle so you’ll need to decide whether you want to juggle them all and have each ready in the event your strategy needs to change or if you’ll just put all of your chips on a core group. Dungeons are generated in a somewhat random matter, and when you enter you’ll be able to choose which level of difficulty you’d like. Be warned, the game doesn’t kid around when you ask for difficult, though your rewards for amping up the challenge is a better reward as well.


Throughout the game load times can get a little long, especially noticeable when you move from one space to another quickly, and each needs to load, but it’s not too excessive. The level of detail can, at times, have an Achilles heel, especially in handheld mode, as figuring out your path can get muddled by the complexity of the areas. This doesn’t happen often but it can stump you for a few minutes as you try to figure out what you may have missed. In the exploration areas you’ll have some skills at your disposal that can give you a slight edge if you’re able to use them before you go into battle but I found the implementation of this to be quite hit or miss and inconsistent. Not a major annoyance but it would have been a nice bit of added help at times.


If you’re an RPG fan I’d say there’s no doubt Battle Chasers: Nightwar is well worth picking up. Even for casual JRPG fans there’s enough content, character, and beauty in the game that if you’re intrigued it should be well worth the plunge. For RPG novices it may all feel a little busy but if you’ll take the time to work through the menus and get to know all of the elements you have at your disposal it should be accessible, just a bit overwhelming. For whatever minor flaws the game may have it is well worth the ride.

Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • Absolutely incredible art
  • Each character has distinct benefits they bring to the table and the perk system allows you to tune them to suit your style of play
  • Combat is strategic and satisfying, often forcing you to change up your tactics

Cons:
  • In handheld mode there can be struggles with it being dark or being too finely detailed at a smaller scale
  • Load times aren’t horrible but are noticeable
  • In exploration mode your special attacks aren’t always easy to use effectively