Hey gang, Valkor here. Back in the 90s, I was really big on comic book collecting. And there was one title I was really excited for, yet very disappointed in its short run and delays between issues –Battle Chasers by Joe Madureira. I still have the first two books in my collection, but so saddened that I never went beyond issue three. This was mainly due to the fact that I was getting out of collecting, switching over to graphic novels. But I've never let Battle Chasers leave my thoughts, as it was the fantasy realm I would have loved to see fully developed. Now, the journey of Gully, Garrison, Calibretto, Knolan and Red Monika, along with newcomer Alumon are back but in video game form in – Battle Chasers: Nightwar. And the fantasy lover in me couldn’t be happier as it’s the JRPG I’ve been waiting for, for some time.
In Battle Chaser: Nightwar, you take control of any of the aforementioned characters in a top-down journey to take on the forces of evil, which includes werewolves, demons, bandits and more. You’ll start out with three characters, but eventually, you’ll track down your remaining crew; though your journey can only handle three at a time, you’ll be able to switch out when necessary. Nightwar uses two methods of play – first up, you’ll play on a top-down map, where you’re able to travel to towns and dungeons as well as tackle enemies who are visibly locked into certain spots (no random battles with this game). The second mode happens in dungeon areas, where you also play in a top-down mode as well, but with more of an isometric view. In dungeon mode, enemies roam freely, and most can be avoided unless they spot you. Then they'll pounce on you with the quickness! Thankfully, each character has a specific dungeon ability that can help you unlock certain areas, heal up your party, slow down enemies or damage an enemy before battle.
If you’re a fan of turn-based battles, then you’ll love Battle Chasers, which uses a three on three battle system; there are two key modes that make this style of play a fun experience; first up, there’s “overcharge”. Any given attack on an enemy builds overcharge, which builds on top of your mana, but it only remains during the current battle and you’ll lose overcharge once the battle is over (unless you build your character in a way, where you get to retain some of it). It’s great for a character that doesn’t use much mana for their skills such as Garrison. And with his abilities, he can quickly build overcharge for some of his deadlier attacks. Next is the “burst meter”, which can be built up to three levels. Using burst allows you to use some devastating attacks that’ll do some serious damage to your enemies. Burst can also be used defensively as well, healing or protecting your party. Given the mix of instant attacks and burst, you can perform some brutal combos that’ll topple even the toughest of foes.
As you level up, each character can gain perks points, which allows you to boost your character's attributes such as strengthening defenses, how you build and retain overcharge before or after a battle, or increase stamina, strength, or haste. What I like best about perks points is that you can reapply your points without penalty. And since you’re given a set limit, plus you unlock additional perks as you gain in levels, you can add and take away as much as necessary. You not only gain points through leveling, but you can find books that will either give one or all of your party points as a reward.
Next, you have the ability to craft, which was, to me, overwhelming at first, but the game makes it very simple; as you play through Nightwar, you’ll gather all sorts of components that can be used in either alchemy or blacksmithing, You simply visit a shop on the map or locate an alchemy or forging table in a dungeon and select the item you’d like to craft, so long as you have enough of any given ingredient. You can unlock and craft stronger items by either purchasing books or you can locate them in chests. When it comes to potions, it's better and cheaper to buy empty bottles and fill them up using the ingredients you find. The same can be said when forging weapons and armor. sure you can buy them from the blacksmith, but if you have the components, it's usually better to create them on your own.
Finally, since you’re only able to use three characters at any given time, this means the others are left behind and won’t build experience. So, you’ll have to grind if you swap out a character. Thankfully, grinding isn't too much of a chore, and usually taking on dungeons will net you the most XP. And tackling a dungeon at its hardest level - Legendary offers the greatest rewards but resets the dungeon if you lose. You can also take on foes with the overworld map, but once an enemy is defeated they won’t respawn unless you visit an inn. Visiting an inn will sometimes trigger a cutscene where the characters will interact with one another; these scenes usually center on Garrison, Gully, and her training. But there are other moments where you’ll get to learn more about the other characters.
On top of the initial game, there’s still so much more to do such as side quests; one NPC will offer up hunts, the innkeeper will send you on quests to check out the sewers, and there are other NPCs who’ll have missions for you as well. And if you’re feeling pretty chill, you can fish! You can sell special type of fish to a fishmonger, who will reward you with shadow coins, which you can use to buy special items. So, Battle Chasers: Nightwar might appear pretty simple when you look at it initially, but there’s a lot going on, under its hood, that'll keep you pretty entertained during its 40 hours plus run.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is beautiful to look at and so much fun to play that any JRPG fan would be crazy to pass this one up. If you’re unfamiliar with the comics, there’s no need to worry as the game does a solid job getting you up to speed without having to deal with too much backstory. Yet, it’s the turn-based battles and the dungeons that are the most fun. When I did my first “Legendary” dungeon run, I will admit, I was mad nervous with the undertaking since everything resets if all my characters fall. Plus it's supposed to be tough as hell! But utilizing the mixes of overcharge and burst really helps a lot. It’s still quite challenging, but the mix of those two skills really helps out a lot. Gameplay is solid, though character movements are sluggish, but not to the point of annoying. However, if you can get around and pull off moves with ease, then you’re in good hands. The animation, character art, and backdrops are definitely pleasing to the eyes. The opening animation reflects the anime style of the comic and the digital comic cutscenes serve its purpose in helping to move the story along. In the end with the blend of captivating storytelling and fun gameplay, you’ll be in for a fun time with Battle Chasers: Nightwar.
My first issue I have with the title is the load times; this kicks in usually when you enter/exit a dungeon. It’s more annoying than anything else. Finally, the opening animation, while I don’t mind watching it, there’s no way to skip it - at all. I don’t always leave my PS4 in rest mode. So it’s really annoying that I have to sit through the opening scene over and over again whenever I switch off. Could this be something that can be fixed with a patch?
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is available now. And if you’re a fan of the comic or you’re into the JRPG experience, then this is one title worth picking up. It’s easy on the eyes, has a compelling story with a great selection of characters, which all comes together into one entertaining experience that I highly recommend picking up. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Battle Chasers: Nightwar a 4.5.