Badass ladies of the night save the world in Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon – Nights of Azure 2 Review [Switch]
I’m just going to start off by saying it’s kind of unfair the Premium Box Set is not readily available to us here in the states. That alone made me knock off a point in my review. I believe fans in America enjoy fan service just as much as they do in Japan. Anyway, back to my review. Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon for Nintendo Switch, is the sequel to Nights of Azure, which was originally released in Japan October 2015 and in America late March 2016. Nights of Azure 2 is also available for PS4, PlayStation Vita, and Windows. It is a fantasy action RPG that lets players play as Aluche, whose sole mission is to save her friend.
The story is a little more complicated than that. Personally, I did not play the first Nights of Azure, so I can’t tell you much about it. But, Nights of Azure 2 follows Aluche Anatoria, an agent of Curia. She is given orders to protect her close friend, now a priestess, Liliana. Aluche fights her way to Liliana, then the two fight their way back to Curia only to discover that Liliana has been chosen to be the next “Bride of Time” of the Moon Queen (or Bride of the New Moon). Going against her feelings, Aluche attempts to carry out her mission of escorting Liliana to the Moon Queen, but sadly dies in an ambush before she is able to make sure Liliana makes it to the Moon Queen. Then suddenly, Aluche reawakens, revived as an artificial half-demon, along with new powers. According to a Curia researcher, Liliana was nowhere to be found when Aluche’s body was recovered, leading them to believe Liliana has been kidnapped and taken to the ruined city. Aluche makes her way there, wielding her new found powers, in hopes to save her friend.
The gameplay of Nights of Azure 2 is best described as 3rd person beat-em-up with RPG elements. It is largely combo based and you unlock different combos and supers/finishers as you progress through the game. There are also certain abilities that activate at certain combo numbers and certain health levels. These allow players to cater their strategy to their desired method of play, or only ways to beat certain bosses. Where Nights of Azure 2 stands out in terms of other 3rd person beat-em-up games, are the team Burst attacks. You usually have at least one companion fighting alongside you, but chances are you’ll have two. You’ll be able to combine attacks with them and deal crazy amounts of damage, or other terms perform some mesmerizing abilities with different effects. I kind of don’t like that the game pretty much comes to a halt when you perform these team attacks, but the effects and animation usually tend to outweigh any qualms I have with the game flow. For the record, the animations for the team attacks aren’t really “fan service” like, they’re just cool looking attacks. The fan service scenes usually happen in cutscenes. The one major downside I have with the game is that the levels feel like train tracks. You’re placed in an open space and given a large map, but most of the time can’t explore. It just seems counter-intuitive to the given environment and RPG elements of the game. Exploration is pretty much nill, yet the game pace often has to feel of an RPG where you are encouraged/rewarded for exploring.
Mechanics-wise, the game is very hit and miss. Visually, the game is gorgeous in the cutscenes, and pretty good during gameplay. During the cutscenes, there’s a deep depth in the details that really engage the viewer (not even considering the fan service). But the gameplay looks pretty plain until special attacks or boss fights happen. The combo system is intuitive, easy to remember and predict, as well as effortless to execute. However, the progression system feels like many of the levels of the game, train tracked. It doesn’t actually feel like you are earning your power as you play. It’s pretty much you’re given it when you reach a certain point. Which I know is common, but some games do a great job of making it feel organic, whereas in the case of Nights of Azure 2 it feels like an unnecessary tutorial that kills gameplay flow. The game is a lot of fun, but the mechanics often take you out of the game and make you aware of the cliche and redundancy that is found in many games. Which makes you realize, you’re just mashing buttons until the next cutscene. Lastly, the localization is very depth and lacks nuance. The translation of the text doesn’t come off as native. Which may or may not be on purpose. I’m just personally in the belief that if you make the effort to translate it, the words should come off as native to the translated language, rather than obviously translated into it.
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is a fun action RPG with a compelling story and intense gameplay, that is often thrown off beat by the hit and miss mechanics. Players are given enough backstory and the cutscenes provide enough depth, that the characters and bonds are fully felt and only enhanced by the unique teaming up available during gameplay. Players will understand that Aluche and Liliana are definitely beyond friendship, but it’s hard to say if they are more through the localization. Often times a lot of content is censored and watered down when translated and localized to Western audiences. I think they’re definitely more, especially considering the lack of males in this world. Overall, Nights of Azure 2 is a fun game with engagement issues. If you’re not as impatient as I am, chances are those breaks in the gameplay/mechanics won’t deter you. If you’re into action-RPG and games with pretty girls who kick ass, this game is definitely for you. My Nights of Azure 2 review gets a 7/10.
Genre: Fantasy Action RPG
# of Players: 1
Publisher: Koei Tecmo