Unearthing a seemingly “Dead” comic franchise, creating a kickstarter for said franchise & turning it into a RPG seems like a bold move but the team at Airship Syndicate seem to think their Luck Stat is high enough to pull this off. Lend me your ear as I take you through this tale, as generic as the name sounds it’s time to see with the Battle Chasers are ready to answer the call!.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar comes from a comic that launched in 1998 called “Battle Chasers”, this tale follows a 9 year old girl Gully, she’s the daughter of Aramus a legendary hero. Aramus has left Gully some mystical gauntlets and due to this she is constantly hunted, this is where the rest of the cast come in as somewhat protectors of Gully as she quests to find her father.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar starts with a detailed synopsis of everything you need to know jumping into this game, I’ll admit I had never even heard Battle Chasers before this so the introduction was greatly appreciated. It’s through this you’ll meet the various main characters & their motivations.
The game then starts with quite a slow opening section as you find your feet within the tale, it’s a good few hours before you’re with a full party and at this point you’ll find you’re quite taken with the initial three characters Gully, Garrison & Calibreto. Each character is written well but doesn’t have enough time to shine, alot of character development and dialogue is exchanged when you stay in the Tavern.
The story I found consumed me almost immediately, a combination of some great writing and just enough mystery and intrigue that kept me plodding on to get the answers I saught. Something I should mention is that there is quite a bit of lore to be found in documents around the dungeon, the story doesn’t really get too much into your face so these help bulk it out when you’re busy questing and slaying.
Visually Battle Chasers: Nightwar may look a little familiar to some, the artist behind this and the comics is the same person who did the art for a little known series called Darksiders. The visual style throughout the game is strong, it really feeds you an eastern fantasy style with enough grit and substance to really command your attention.
The graphic styles switch from side on to an overhead view while exploring dungeons, this gives it a more dungeon crawler aesthetic and really plays off well. The World Map also has it’s own unique art style which seems to draw inspiration from Table Top games, it’s the effortless blending of styles which really shows that Battle Chasers: Nightwar is willing to go that extra mile for it’s player experience.
The music in Battle Chasers: Nightwar is great at creating an ambience, it also has an effect I didn’t expect, it recreates nostalgia from old school SNES rpgs. Yes it has a cracking little jingle upon ending a battle, one that sticks with you long after you’ve played your last session.
The voice acting too in Battle Chasers: Nightwar is also superb, all the characters voices tend to suit their character well and helped the cast become quite the pack of loveable rogues, even the NPC characters have some good voice acting, even if they don’t have many voiced lines!.
So how does Battle Chasers: Nightwar play?, well it plays much like a late SNES/Playstation One era JRPG. From the combat, the exploration to even the side content, You can see where the team got the inspiration for this title from and it’s paid off in a big way.
First off the combat is a traditional turn based affair, full of buffs, debuffs and special moves which build over time. If you’ve played any of the older Final Fantasy games or Persona you’ll be right at home here, it does take a little while to understand the different Status Effects but you’ll grasp it when needed.
One brilliant little addition to the addictive battle system is the overcharge, the more you attack you build “Extra mana”, this allows you to plan further ahead into which moves you would benefit from with the Overcharge, it also has other factors such as increasing damage of a move in regards to how much you have built up.
The dungeons in the game are randomly generated, this means rather than complex puzzles it’s more different enemy layout & traps but there is a good aspect to this, the difficulty slider. Each time you reach one of the games Dungeons you can choose the difficulty, this means you can speed up the grind with tougher enemies offering more XP & also the higher the difficulty, the tastier the loot.
Where Battle Chasers: Nightwar doesn’t innovate it takes the wheel and makes it smoother and much more enjoyable, that’s not to say it’s without it’s problems. There are some late game pacing issues & on the version I reviewed the load times were excruciating at points and the game tended to get nasty slowdown in rain or built up areas, not game breaking but still a shame to see such a beautiful game get blemished as such.
The story of Battle Chasers: Nightwar should see the player around 30 to 40 hours and for the most part it’s pure bliss, be it following the story, tackling some of the hunts or side quests or even everyone’s favourite adventure game passtime fishing, Battle Chasers has you covered for the duration.
I loved every moment with Battle Chasers: Nightwar and for me it being on the Nintendo Switch was a lifesaver as I got to take my quest on the go with me. I’d go as far to say as currently, this game is the best “Pure” JRPG style experience with the skillful nuance of western writing and an art style which oozes from every corner of the game. It’s not the longest of RPG titles and the performance at places can be a bit shakey but you would be a fool to miss out on this sleeper hit of title!. Plus once you’ve played this you can track down the comic and be ready for the new issues promised upon this games’ release!.