Good Old Turn-Based
Played on: PlayStation 4
What I’ve Played:
- 43 Hours spent
- replayed a variety of legendary dungeons
- Crafted two legendary weapons
- Finished the game, tried the first hour of New Game +
Based on the popular comic with the same name, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a turn-based RPG, a genre you rarely see in this generation. This was a great take on the classic formulas with an appealing art style that translates well into a videogame with a few issues ruining the momentum of this 40+ hour adventure.
A Good Start
Battle Chasers tells the tale of a group who, heading to an island, were suddenly attacked by air pirates that shot them out of the sky, separating the party. This is where the game starts, and it was ramping up nicely, slowly introducing the characters as you move forward. This eventually changes when you feel a sudden quick pace to get things going, putting a halt to character development and focusing on wrapping things up. The game’s story is the typical save the world plot, but the interactions between characters were what kept things interesting.
Sadly, these interactions are confined to your stays at the inn, where you’ve got a short but sweet banter between two characters during each visit, giving you a glimpse of their relationships. For someone like me who did not read the original comics, it was a touch I appreciated, and I wanted more, since the writing and voice acting were done well. Gully, Garrison, old man Knolan, and even the humble golem Calibretto are all likeable characters, thanks to their personalities. Red Monika has her days, and Alumon, well… he just felt forced into the situation.
The game is your typical turn-based RPG. There are no random encounters, but visible enemies that, once touched, trigger a battle. You can only make a party of three, and it’s mostly 3-on-3 battles, with the occasional wave of reinforcements if there are nearby enemies. Each character has specific dungeon skills that can aid you as you roam dungeons and explorable areas by either damaging your enemies beforehand or stunning them, pretty much giving you an advantage before the real battle begins. Battle Chasers has a fun battle system, and I found myself always thinking of ways to conserve enough energy for the whole dungeon and maximizing the use of the overcharge system - abilities that let you build up a good amount of overcharge, which can be used to cast your skills before using your mana pool reserves. It can be a tough game, and I sometimes found myself losing my grip on a fight because of simple errors I didn’t think would compound into a loss. It was best to always be prepared, and this game complements players that do so.
Fishing is one of the side activities that I found myself ignoring during most of my time with the game. Only in the final hours did I bother to fish, and to my surprise, it’s a solid source of currency that can only be spent on a vendor with powerful items for sale. It’s a basic fishing mini-game that isn’t the strongest distraction; it won’t steer you away from the main objective.
Replay For Best Results
Combat remained spot-on throughout the game, with enough difficulty to constantly encourage proper planning to stay ahead. There’s a level gap in Battle Chasers that seems to be a soft wall that players will have to consistently overcome in between dungeons. Once you finish a main dungeon, you’ll find yourself heading to the next area in the overall map. The new enemies in that new region always seem to be at a higher level, and it can be quite difficult if you choose to power through. Now, grinding to level up is nothing new, but that need to backtrack and do other activities such as hunts and the arena are aspects of the game you’ll have to get used to. Dungeons can be replayed after you finish them the first time, and you can even tackle them at a higher difficulty for better loot. Each visit results in a different dungeon layout, and (at times) different puzzles to solve, making it easier to do the same dungeon again for experience.
Experimentation is the reward for those that grind it out. You have six playable characters, each with their own unique style and equipment, but you can only bring three at a time. The other three that aren’t battling the monsters as you progress will not earn any experience, leaving them behind in levels. If you don’t find yourself investing time to improve the other characters, you’ll miss out on possible team compositions, which is a shame, because each of the characters have unique abilities that can complement one another. If you find yourself only focusing on three characters, loot can be a bit discouraging, since each character has their own weapon and armor that only they can use. For example, beating a boss and opening the chest only to find an epic armor for Garrison, a character that’s under-leveled and hardly used, can be a bummer.
Crafting is in the game, but it only shines during the second half. At the beginning, most loot found in chests end up being better, and since you can only use crafting stations in dungeons at the start, your chances to experiment are limited as well. Further down the line, you will be able to unlock these crafting stations in the game’s main hub where you can rest, buy items, and talk to interesting NPCs found in the game.
It’s a lengthy RPG, with some enemies recycled at higher levels. Character progression in terms of perks offers two trees to choose from that either improve their damage output, or improve the character’s role in the party. (tank, healer, etc) A new game+ is found after finishing the game for those looking for more difficulty and there are a few legendary items to hunt for your characters during the last section of the game.
Crashes are weirdly constant in the PS4 version of the game. They might trigger randomly after a battle has ended. Cut scenes are sometimes bugged to a point that the audio plays but all you see is black or the color green in your screen. It’s nothing a few patches can’t fix, but it did indeed affect my experience, since a few boss fights had to be replayed thanks to the crashes.
What I got from Battle Chasers: Nightwar was a need to learn more about this world and the characters in it. My itch to play JRPGs was satisfied, and despite the issues I encountered, it’s a solid RPG that can keep you entertained for hours.
- Fun turn-based RPG combat
- Original art style translated well into 3D models and in cutscenes
- Replayable dungeons that are randomly generated
- The story during the second half of the game
- Loot system can be discouraging since equipment are mostly character specific
- constant crashes and bugs on the PS4