Pre warning – This is a Gust game, so some images may be NSFW.
One of the first things that must be addressed when discussing Nights of Azure (Or any game by Gust really) is the reputation that lies behind these Idol Simulation and almost fan service-y graphics and storyline that they possess. Is Nights Of Azure’s beauty more than skin deep or will it simply leave you feeling blue?
As normal we will not be delving overly into the story of Nights of Azure in order to avoid entering any sort of spoiler territory, however the basic premise of this action RPG is that you play as protagonist Arnice; an agent who works for a mysterious shadow company to support the “Saint” who happens to be the one person Arnice cares about more than anything else. Whilst the story is nothing original for fans of Japanese games, I found the humour within the script and interactions between characters to be a delight, the horror that Arnice felt with some of her outfits in particular had me chuckling away.
The battle system is a standard hack’n’slash format used widely across the genre and the combat in itself does not bring anything new to the table, however there is also a solid monster collection mechanic within this that really shines through the often dull mashing of the square button. As anyone will tell you, I become rather obsessed with collecting them all when it comes to monster collection (97 hours on Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth spent digivolving EVERYTHING) so this was a real highlight for me. I found myself spending a lot of time collecting all the best monsters I could in order to turn them into Servans and take them out on the next night of fiend hunting, a real highlight of this was the unique design of each of the collected Servans which led me on to hunt down the most badass ones I could find. Each of the dungeons allows you a time limit of 15 minutes to explore. Initially this feels quite constricting, however this in turn shifts this action RPG into bite size and easily accessible chunks that are playable when you only have small amounts of time.
Levelling up is done in a dream world, in this dream world you also access backstory snippets each time you level up which was a really nice touch in addition to the standard benefits of extra health and increased damage. I just have to also mention the outfit in the dreamworld…
Between hunting fiends in the nights, your base of operations is a hotel that houses a few rather odd guests including your own “Servans” which you can talk to and find extra snippets of story. I will avoid going into this too much at this time but the interactions with some of the servans and supporting cast were really amusing. The character design here falls a little as it is nothing we haven’t seen before, but the personalities of each character stand above the initial design.
Alongside the demon hunting and side story activities, Nights of Azure has an arena which allows you to undertake challenges using various types of Servans. These challenges can quickly go from incredibly simple to almost impossible, especially if you suffer from the same compulsiveness as myself to achieve the 3 star rating and some of the rewards for this.
Nights of Azure is a game that does not take itself too seriously and you shouldn’t either. Whilst many people may get turned off by Gusts choice of (HUGE) huge boobed character models, I implore you to look a little deeper and you will find a charming and solid action JRPG/ Monster collector.
What are your thoughts on the game? Have you played it and if not, why not? Let us know in the comments section below!
Respawning are dedicated to bringing you short and snappy reviews allowing much of the game to come as a suprise (and not ruin the enjoyment of course)