Battle Chasers: Nightwar was a game I have had on my radar for quite a while, I managed to get my hands on it for an hour at EGX which only succeeded in increasing my hype for the game, until finally the day came and I had my hands on the full build of the game for PS4 and I can say that all that hype has built up to a delightfully charming and modern take on the JRPG genre.
The first thing I noticed in Battle Chasers: Nightwar was the character design and general artwork present – As the game booted and I was treated to a delicious opening sequence full of really nicely detailed character design. This was such a nice breath of fresh air after my recent binge of the Soulsborne games and their beautifully dark designs, it was just nice to see something bright, colourful and beautiful.
However, upon the second boot up of the game I found that this opening sequence to the game is not skippable for the first 10 odd seconds, which doesn’t seem like much if you plan on a massive binge play but as I tend to pick up and play a game like this for an hour or two at a time each day it started to grate on me pretty quickly, it is crazy how such a minor thing can annoy someone so much about such a beautiful game.
The dungeons in Battle Chasers are stunning, as I played through each of the games unique dungeon levels I couldn’t help but be reminded of games like Bastion or Transistor where you take your chosen character (Easily changed with the R1 or L1 buttons) throughout the dungeons exploring more and more in order to find better loot and make your characters stronger really quickly, I mean just look at how pretty it is:
The overworld design of the game feels a little flat in comparison to the dungeons however, essentially you are guiding your characters over a glorified map of the world that just feels a little empty. The main town of the game which serves as your hub area is situated in this world map style and allows you to visit shops such as an enchantress, a hunter or a blacksmith (standard RPG fare really) which helps to negate this emptiness of this design.
The character design of the town’s residents is also really cool, each shop owner having their own distinct feel with suitable voice acting applied:
One thing to note about the characters in general is that whilst they are hopelessly generic (big dumb robot, overprotective knight, young girl full of optimism and doesnt listen etc etc) there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t find myself liking, I feel that if they tried to push the boat out too much with this then the game would have lost a lot of it’s heart in the ode to old school JRPG’s. This goes for the storyline as well, you are thrown into this unknown land split up from your friends and you then set out to find them but the more you roam the world the more you realise not everything is as it seems, but again it was one of those things that while really simple it was really nice to easily follow along, especially after my Soulsborne binge.
One thing I have to note at this point: If you don’t like turnbased battle systems then this game is not for you. For me however? turnbased battles are like crack and I just can’t get enough of it. The requirement to think tactically about every move I make and plan ahead for whatever the enemy might have up their sleeve fills me with such a joy and just feels like such a throwback to old school JRPG’s that I grew up with – I LOVED the battle system of Battle Chasers. It also doesn’t hold your hand – at the start of each dungeon you have the ability to select a different difficulty scale that promises better loot with each one which really helps to boost replay-ability of this charming RPG.
Inside the dungeons you have the ability to choose between each character of your party, each of whom has a different field ability for use (Calibretto can heal the full party, Garrison can dash etc) and this is easily done on the fly allowing you to mix and match your party suited to both battle needs and passive field abilities, each of which can only be used around 5 times per dungeon.
Also – one of the best things about the battle system of Battle Chasers is that there are NO RANDOM BATTLES which feels like such a good design choice as never was I hopelessly bungling through a dungeon hoping I am not attacked when I am low on health.
All in all, I am having an absolute blast with Battle Chasers: Nightwar and I am struggling to put it down to get on with adult responsibilities. It just feels like such a warm familiar place from my childhood that’s filling me with sheer joy.
Based on all of this, I give Battle Chasers:
If you are a fan of turn based JRPG’s that I FULLY suggest you give it a go.