Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon – Review
Follow Genre: Hack 'n' Slash anime series
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd
Publisher: KOEI TECMO
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Tested on: PS4

Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Great atmospheric interactive Anime series
Bad: Too little gameplay for those who don't like anime
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Nights of Azure 2 is the second part of the popular Japanese game series where girls fight for the survival of the world and each other.  It’s an anime you can hack and slash your way through, being curious what is waiting for you around the next corner. Get ready for some soft skin and dramatized fights, ’cause this typical JRPG doesn’t let you down in terms of elements that should definitely be included in typical JRPGs. 

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Story

Nights of Azure 2 is about fifty percent story. This sounds like a lot but it’s actually something you will either hate or love. It’s comparable to an interactive anime series. You will fight monsters and after each fight, a little bit more of the story is given to you. At the start of the game, this mainly translates into a long introduction into the game mechanics that are quite literally given to you one button at a time. This might seem bothersome in other games but in Nights of Azure 2, it allows you to ease into the gameplay and the story in a nice, calming way. An atmospheric way of playing that pretty much finds its way back into every element of the game.

In the story, you play Aluche. She’s a red-haired girl who’s serving as a knight of the Curia, a form of a high council which tries to create a balance in the world by fighting fiends and creating a safe haven for all those in need. Aluche is tasked to guard a certain priestess, who she later finds out is an old friend of hers from the academy. Once she escorted Liliana, the priestess, she finds out that the Curia is planning to sacrifice Liliana to the Moon Queen as a bride of the new moon. The moon queen is an evil entity whose threats of everlasting darkness in this world are getting closer to reality every minute, and the Curia hopes that by delivering this sacrifice, a terrible fate can be averted. Reluctant as Aluche is to do this already, they go on their way anyway. But not before long they unexpectedly already encounter the Moon Queen, who stabs Aluche in the heart. Presumed dead, Aluche suddenly wakes up sometime later, fixed up by a doctor by combining Aluche’s body with blue fiend blood. Aluche is now a half demon, which brings much confusion as well as strength.

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The game has a lot of Japanese undertones next to the clear Anime style. For one, every character so far is a female. They also have sensual, tension-filled conversations with each other, and a lot of times this is accompanied by clothing that doesn’t protect much of their bodies, even though they are supposed to battle a lot. It’s a topic that has offered a lot of conversation and discussion in the past, but for now, you either like or dislike it. At least there is no discussion possible that it’s something that fits the style.

Graphics 

This game surely has some slick polished environments. The world is very detailed in its architecture and everything runs smoothly in terms of animation and combat. Everything you look at, like everything in the game, has something sweet about it, something very feminine. It’s welcoming, warm. Even in combat, the visuals such as special moves or a flower petal special meter are rather pleasing. Really the only downside to the graphics in a game like this is the lip-synching. The lips barely move, and if they do it looks a bit like Muppets who move their mouth. Just up and down.

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Sound

Anime games are well known for their soft piano soundtracks, and Nights of Azure 2 is no different. Like with everything, also the sound design is rather soft, pleasing. Mostly you will indeed listen to soft piano anime music (pianime? Let’s make that a word please). Only when fighting, the game gives you some classic upbeat tempo tracks, also very familiar with a game like this. The original Japanese voices do the game justice, and combined with the English subtitles it’s a fine read. The overall sound is nothing too special, but it’s nothing too special well executed.

Gameplay 

Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is a game that’s half like watching an anime and half hack and slash with just a hint of strategy. The combat system is very much like a game like Kingdom Hearts. You can smash your way through your enemies’ HP, use a specific buddy to perform special moves, and you also get creatures called ”Servans” which provide you with support to i.e. put enemies ablaze. Also, they are able to transform into weapons every now and then. Yes. A lot of options. The game could be defined as ”organized chaos” due to its many fighting options, yet it still has hack and slash as its main feature.

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Besides the fighting and the watching of anime, you are able to make some choices that allow new options for you to become available. These choices include deciding which buddy you bring along to improve your affection which eventually will lead to some side missions and buddy upgrades. Any choice you make doesn’t seem to be frustrating though, since the game is rather forgiving in your options and replayability, creating a relaxing time for the player while watching the cutscenes or cutting the fiends.

Because of the extensive amount of variations, it sometimes feels like the game has a tutorial that takes hours of your time. But at the same time, it’s able to give you that feeling of much to come and much to explore, an exciting feeling. So even though most Hack ‘n Slash games tend to become rather repetitive over time, Nights of Azure 2 feels like it has a lot to offer by introducing all these new little things. Combined with the story, it makes for a great game. That is, if you like a game with a lot of story.

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Conclusion

Nights of Azure is a fine, warm game, much like its predecessor. It’s welcoming for those who are new to games and anime and also to those who already have some experience with similar games. It has a high level of Japanese values such as.. boobs, but the story itself is rather large and offers hours of fun when watching and playing. The environment and sound design fit, the gameplay is extensive for a hack and slash game, and anytime you play it will be rather relaxing instead of frustrating. Overall, a fine addition to the genre.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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