[Battle Chasers Nightwar]GAME ON: Battle Chasers: Nightwar

07-14 18:22

  Title: Battle Chasers: Nightwar

  Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, macOS, Nintendo Switch

  Cost: $39.99 or less

  Rating: Rated Teen for fantasy violence and mild language

  Score: 8/10

  Battle Chasers: Nightwar has an interesting history. It’s a Western take on the Japanese-style role-playing game genre, based on a late ’90s American fantasy comic book that was itself heavily influenced by Japanese anime and video games.

  The game features five diverse and visually striking main characters that come straight from that comic series — Gully, a girl with a pair of oversize, magical gauntlets; Garrison, the brooding ex-paladin turned sell-sword; Calibretto, the massive war golem with a heart of gold; Red Monika, the beautiful swashbuckling rogue; and Knolan, the ancient wisecracking mage.

  Nightwar is a sort of steampunk meets Dungeons & Dragons world, and the main characters are in the middle of a journey to find Gully’s missing father. When their airship is shot down over a mysterious island, the team embarks on a quest to investigate a source of magical power and stop the plans of an evil sorceress. There’s also a sixth playable character, unique to the video game, that is unlocked furthter along in the story.

  Exploration of the world occurs in a pretty linear fashion where enemies must be fought at set intervals rather than through random encounters. Most of the combat occurs when players enter a dungeon, which is explored in an isometric, top-down view similar to the Diablo series. The dungeons are expansive and procedurally generated with three difficulty and reward levels.

  When an enemy is encountered, players engage in turn-based fights, using basic attacks, status-buffing abilities and special moves. Each character has a pool of hit points and “mana” — which powers they can use. Using normal attacks adds an “overcharge” boost to the mana points that fuel special abilities, a mechanism that is also similar to the Diablo series.

  There are quite a few side quests to complete, and a fun progression system. Leveling up earns characters perks that customize their combat abilities, and there’s a full-fledged crafting system to create custom weapons and armor. In addition to monsters to defeat, dungeons also offer rare bosses, traps, puzzles, secret areas and even a fishing mini-game. There’s also an arena mode to battle wave after wave of enemies for loot and other rewards.

  Although the main characters all come from the Battle Chasers comic book series and the game is a continuation of that story, Nightwar is a self-contained tale, so it’s not necessary to read the source material to enjoy it. The narrative isn’t particularly original, and character development is mostly nonexistent, but with an indie game partially funded by Kickstarter, it’s hard to complain too much.

  The designs and art are eye-catching and well done, and dialogue takes places often through detailed comic-panel cut-scenes with good voice-acting.

  While Battle Chasers launched in the fall for PC and most consoles, it wasn’t available on the Nintendo Switch until May 15. Because it’s still new to the Switch, it still costs the full $39.99. If you’re interested in getting it for the PS4, PC or Xbox One, it can cost half that, or even less.

  All told, the game takes 25 to 35 hours to complete, although a chunk of that is spent grinding for experience in the later stages of the game, as the difficulty spikes rather dramatically after the third dungeon.

  On the Switch, load times into dungeons can be fairly long compared with the PS4 version — 10 to 30 seconds at times. There’s also no way to speed up or auto-play battles, which is something I wished for when grinding to level up the characters. Also, the characters not currently being used don’t gain any experience, so you might want to pick the three you want to use early on and stick with them — and then maybe use the others on a second or third playthrough.

  Despite those issues, Battle Chasers has memorable characters, clever dialogue, a great soundtrack and beautiful, comic-book quality artwork that made for a pretty fun experience.

  Battle Chasers: Nightwar was reviewed on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch using review codes provided by the publisher.

  ActiveStyle on 05/28/2018