Battle Chasers: Nightwar – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Airship Syndicate
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Tested on: PC

Battle Chasers: Nightwar – Review

Site Score
8.4
Good: Art, Mechanics, Exploring is rewarded
Bad: Hard to know what the game is about for those who don't know the original comics
User Score
9.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Back in April we had our first run-in with Battle Chasers: Nightwar, the successor of the comic book series that was cancelled by Joe Madureira over fifteen years ago. We loved the overall graphical style, the old school RPG mechanics charmed us, and the overall concept seemed to be built on a solid foundation. Finally we got our hands on the full build, which is now released for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and will soon follow on Nintendo’s Switch. With the Beta still fresh in our minds, we were ready to kick some ass and meet some of the other characters that weren’t included in the beta yet.

Battle Chasers Nightwar

Story

The story of Battle Chasers: Nightwar is probably a bit hazy for those who haven’t read the original comic books, as you’re pretty much thrown into an ongoing story and you don’t really get that much background info on what has transpired so far. In this scenario, the story starts off with Gully, the inheritor of Aramus’ magic gloves, Garrison, a renowned swordsman, Knolan, a wise wizard, Calibretto, a sentient war golem and Red Monika, a hired gun that’s as reliable as the wind, all who are on a trip to an island known as the Cresent Isle rumored to have mana, via a zeppelin-like contraption. Along their journey the team gets ambushed and before they know it, Gully, Garrison and Calibretto are plummeting to the ground, with Knolan interfering at the last possible time to safely put them on the ground with a portal. Nonetheless, Knolan and Red Monika are left on the burning aircraft, or at least Knolan is, as Monika has bolted out of there the moment Knolan was occupied with saving his allies.

After the crash you’ll get treated to snippets of the story, which primarily involve getting the party back together, while aiding the townsfolk of the local village you stumble upon. You find out that the local bandits are banding together and are collecting strange artifacts for an unknown leader-figure and it has you concerned, as these artifacts prove to be bursting with mana and as a result are very powerful, especially in the wrong hands. Overall the story doesn’t really go all that deep, or at least not for the first several hours of the game, but everything feels rather authentic if you’re familiar with the comic books.

Battle Chasers Nightwar 1

Graphics

Battle Chasers: Nightwar sticks extremely close to its source material, making everything come to life as a good looking 3D rendered comic book. The environments all look cheerful, detailed and very colorful, with the characters being the perfect 3D copies of their comic book counterparts. The battles are presented in an old school sideways view, which once again emphasizes the good looking characters, be it ally or foe. Special moves look fancy, and your burst moves are all accompanied by a sweet looking cinematic, which might get a bit tedious the more you use it, but it never really loses its flair. The story intermezzos which are presented in a comic book-like form are certainly a plus, and make the game feel even more authentic, given its origin.

It has to be said that the game does strain your PC quite a bit, even when you turn off the high quality settings. While the battles and the overworld views will run quite smoothly, it’s the dungeons and other exploration areas that tend to have a reasonable amount of frame rate issues. While these are often still manageable to play with, it gets a bit tiresome for your eyes after somewhat longer playing sessions.

Battle Chasers Nightwar 2

Sound

While the music is rather subtle, it complements the battles, as well as strolling down the exploration sequences and the overworld. For the most part it’s the voice acting that steals the show, as so far we only had our own imagination to think of a matching voice for each character. It’s clear that voices were chosen with care and respect for the characters, and they just sound perfect. Sadly only key dialogues are voiced, which is a shame, as it would have been an awesome implementation to fully voice this title.

Gameplay

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a rather traditional Western take on the JRPG genre, that still clings to turn based combat, an overworld view and somewhat linear dungeons with a few exploration possibilities. This means you’ll go from one battle to another, while looking for the next dungeons, which are filled to the brim with enemies as well, making sure the combat is the meatiest part of the game. Nonetheless, exploring pays off in this game, as exploring an extra room or two often allows you to find new items and useful loot that helps you on your way in this game.

Battle Chasers Nightwar 3

The game’s combat is as basic as it gets, but still proves to be elaborate enough to stay interesting throughout your playthrough. During combat you’ll have your party of three, depending on which characters you choose for your party later in the game, versus the enemy party, that also consists out of one, two or three characters. On the left, you’ll see the turn order, and during your turns, you’ll be able to select what you’ll do with your characters, be it basic abilities, specials or even a burst attack, the latter is a special move that is available when your burst meter is filled. Your characters also have certain skills that can be used outside of combat, and these can only be rejuvenated when resting at the inn.

Walking around the overworld is also pretty clear as day, because you’ll be forced to follow fixed paths, and most of the time the paths you shouldn’t enter just yet are blocked by gates or other obstacles, making sure you don’t get lost too much. Nonetheless, the map of the game is pretty much rubbish, as it doesn’t really show where you have to go, or where you are for that matter. Of course, the map has some recognizable points, but for the most part it feels like a very raw and rugged version of something that could have been a lot more useful. That being said, trying a few other paths, and entering some exploration sceneries can pay off in terms of gear and items for you to use when crafting.

Battle Chasers Nightwar 4

The crafting system or the gear system for that matter doesn’t really get that much explanation, leaving you to fend for yourself. While again, things are fairly straightforward when you take a closer look at things, a proper tutorial would have been nice on the crafting portion of the game. That being said, crafting is a useful implementation for certain trinkets and accessories, but you find a reasonable amount of gear along the way.

Conclusion

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a great continuation of a comic book series that was cancelled fifteen years ago. While those who had no ties with the original series are somewhat thrown into the middle of an ongoing story, it’s still very much worth looking into the game. You’ll be charmed by the game’s old school mechanics, the visual presentation and its ample content to explore, for half the price of other triple A titles.

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Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Battle Chasers: Nightwar – Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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