Game: Nights of Azure
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), PS3, PS Vita
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd.
Knowing the world is nearing its end is a hard pill to swallow. Having the power to prolong the existence of the humanity and the world it inhabits may sound beneficial. But when you have to choose between your closest friend’s well-being and the world itself, your mission becomes all the more harder to complete. Nights of Azure places you within such a predicament as a half-human, half-demon warrior named Arnice. Arnice must make the toughest decision of her life – allow your friend Lilysse to sacrifice herself for the greater good or save her but sacrifice everyone else in the process. This action RPG presents a strong storyline that tugs at the heartstrings and makes you question the more important matters at hand in your own life.
Your main adventure will take place on an uncharted land known as Rusewall Island. Humanity defeated a great evil known as The Ruler of the Knight. However, the creature’s blue blood has splattered all over the island’s denizens and transformed them into bloodthirsty creatures that endanger everyone when night falls. Arnice arrives with her powerful abilities in order to push back the threat of the wild creatures and massive bosses present on Rusewall Island. Arnice’s closest ally Lilysse is there to support her, but she also takes her role as the Saint seriously. Lilysse is chosen to play the part of the world’s sacrificial lamb, which is something Arnice is trying to prevent. The plot features elements of friendship, loss, religious overtones etc. Don’t judge this game by its cover. The mature themes and likable cast of characters will give you plenty of reasons to discover the outcome of Arnice/Lilysse’s dilemma.
Nights of Azure lets you wield the powers of Arnice during each chapter. Arnice can cut down the many beasts that bathe in the night with her massive sword or two smaller blades. Hacking and slashing is a fun endeavor…at first. Arnice’s moveset may improve over time, but you’ll mostly find yourself using the same combos on a constant basis. The melee combat itself is solid, but its repetitiveness is evident. The Servan mechanics do manage to keep you from quitting Arnice’s tasks, though. Servan monsters do their part by being summoned into battle and assisting Arnice with their own abilities. Monster collecting is one of the main systems in this game that adds so much to the battle system. You’ll grow enamored with these creatures as you discover new ones, upgrade them and create different parties of Servans. It pays to be develop winning strategies since this game is far from a cakewalk. Once you get through the main story, you’ll still get to enjoy the use of your Servans and Arnice’s transformations in Arena battles and side missions. There’s plenty to do here.
Visually, Nights of Azure shines when it comes to its art design. The Gothic architecture meshes well with the anime themed artwork for each character. But it’s easy to see that this game doesn’t truly realize its graphical potential on the PS4. It looks good enough, but you’d think it would look that much more refined on such a powerful console. Seeing as how it also was developed as a PS3 and a PS Vita title, you’ll come to realize that Nights of Azure wasn’t solely developed as a game that takes advantage of everything the PS4 offers. The framerate gets a bit problematic at times, too. The graphics aren’t outright terrible, but they could have looked just a little bit better for its current-gen arrival.
Nights of Azure is a solid action RPG from the minds behind the Atelier and the Ar tonelico series. The dark environments you’ll run across challenge you to take on a wealth of monsters and huge bosses with your trusty sword, Servans and demonic transformations. You’ll push yourself all the way to this game’s end thanks to the mature plot that places the fate of the world and your best friend in your hands. The game’s high replay value will guarantee you’ll stick with this game long after its conclusion. The underwhelming graphics and repetitive melee combat falters, but Nights of Azure is still worth braving the darkness for.
- The story being told here is more mature and deeper than you probably would have imagined
- Collecting, commanding and upgrading Servans is a fun endeavor
- There’s so much to do even after you’ve completed the main story
- The melee combat grows a bit repetitive; be prepared to see the same combos performed over and over
- While the art style is great, the visuals themselves don’t look that impressive for a PS4 title