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Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 31 - 2018

Finally on the Switch.

While it is great to see games being launched across all three major platforms now, more often than not the Nintendo Switch versions seem to lag behind the other two. Okay, it’s not a big deal, but for multi-platform gamers it creates a dilemma. Do they grab the awesome looking new game on their home console, or wait for the Switch version which could turn up anytime? I am impatient, so will likely grab whatever version I can first lay my hands on, which is a shame as sometimes it really is worth waiting.

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Airship Syndicate’s Battle Chasers: Nightwar, a classic JRPG styled game based around the 90s comic books by Joe Madureira, is perhaps the perfect example of a game that would have been worth the wait. Releasing originally late last year on other platforms, Nightwar finally turned up on the Nintendo Switch a couple of weeks ago, bringing with it the sort of turn-based RPG action that is perfectly suited to the mobile nature of the console. Of course, pure Switch gamers don’t have to worry about the trials and tribulations of owning different console platforms. But many multi-platform gamers may well end up missing out on what is the best version of a very good RPG. It’s a real shame.

But what isn’t a shame is how damn good Battle Chasers: Nightwar is. The first thing that hits the player, is simply how nice the game looks. Nightwar is a high fantasy game with a slight touch of Steampunk, and an undeniable comic book style, which is no surprise as the game is based around a comic book series. The colours pop, the environments are varied and nicely detailed, the characters are very well animated and stand out from one another, and the enemies are equally impressive. The game looks just as good on the big screen as the small, although I would imagine most players will spend their time in the game in portable mode.

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The story revolves around a young girl looking for her father, an airship crash on a mysterious island, and an evil force. It is actually a fairly simple story compared to some convoluted JRPGs that are around, but it is quite enjoyable nonetheless. The core characters are all interesting and varied, all fitting into the various standard roles that you would expect in this type of game. This is all very classic JRPG fare, which is something that players will find throughout the game.

So, there is an overworld map to wander around with your team, which is beautifully presented from a slight distance with oversized sprites. As is often the case, enemies will hamper the player and their team as they explore, but this throwback to JRPGs of old is quite welcome in Nightwar due to the amount of grinding that the player will have to do. The problem is that only active characters gain experience and level up, so keeping a full roster of equally powerful characters will require both some juggling, and a whole lot of grind. Aside from the fighting, the overworld will give the player a chance to find shops and side-quests, among other things.

But it is the dungeons where the majority of the action will take place. In a dungeon, the view will change to an isometric viewpoint, making a dungeon crawl feel much more involved. There are a number of different dungeons to explore in Nightwar, each increasing in difficulty. There is also some obvious replay value to the dungeons, as the player chooses the difficulty before entering, with better rewards available for higher difficulty. As the game ramps up the difficulty when the player levels their team, a hard dungeon is always going to be hard.

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The turn based battles are where Nightwar really shines. Characters will take their turns to perform an action, such as a regular or magical attack, depending on their haste score. There are plenty of different moves available, especially as the characters level up, but for the most part it is a normal JRPG battle system. Except, there are two additions to bring the game more up to date and make it stand out somewhat. The Mana that fuels magical abilities is quite difficult to come across and replenish in the game, so the developers have introduced an Overcharge meter that gradually fills as the character uses regular attacks, and can then be used for powering magical attacks. Then there is the Burst meter which is filled by the team and gives access to some of those epic moves that you expect from a JRPG.

The combat is very smooth and easy to learn. It is not as complex as some games, but still manages to have enough depth to give even the most tactically minded players plenty of options. Also worth noting is the brilliant crafting system that gives players much more leeway to experiment without locking them down to rigid recipes. It’s another nice system that really helps the game to shine.

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At the end of the day, there is a lot of familiarity to Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Sumptuous visuals aside, the core game is very similar to any number of old-school JRPGs. But the game has a nice story, and there are a few twists to the formula that make the game feel more modern. There is a slight heads up that the loading times are longer than I would have liked on this port, but that is a small price to play to enjoy this RPG action on the bus. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an instant classic that deserves a place in the Switch library of any RPG fan.




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