Initially launched for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One last October, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is based on the late 90’s comic book series by Joe Madureira and was released a few days ago to the Nintendo Switch. At first glance, the game features a standard turn-based game that is heavily influenced by the JRPG genre. The characters are likable enough, and the game’s story provides an entertaining experience presented with stunning visuals and heroic soundtrack.
The game begins with an introduction that does an excellent job of introducing each character and a brief backstory of what is happening in the game. Players who have never heard of or read the comic book series will find the introduction somewhat helpful to keep them up to speed with current events.
The central premise of the comics revolves around a girl named Gully, who acquired a pair of magic gauntlets and is on a mission to locate her missing father. Gully is accompanied by her crew and the events of the game dubbed the Nightwar Chapter is a minor setback from the main journey of Gully. The crew’s airship gets shot down, and Gully and a few others fell through a portal transporting them to an unknown island. However, one of their members, Knolan got lost during the crash, and it is now their mission to find him.
Players explore the world by moving the character over the world map filled with enemies lurking on every trail that commences a battle sequence. Small towns contain villagers with the occasional side quests, and the world is full of bits and pieces of lore that imparts the game’s rich history. The main draw of Nightwar is seen in its dungeons, eight of them in total. Upon entering a dungeon, players are given the ability to select the difficulty that the player prefers. Surviving the dungeon would warrant the player a reward, and the more challenging the difficulty setting is, the better the reward will be. The most impressive feature in the dungeons of Nightwar is the randomization of the area. Every time the player exits and re-enter, the dungeon resets.
The combat system in Battle Chasers: Nightwar is pretty much a standard turn-based system. Early battles in the game will undoubtedly be challenging for beginning players. Unexpected deaths for unseasoned players are inevitable as enemies may hit multiple times in a single wave and can also leave debuff effects such as Poison and Bleeding, which will continuously damage the affected character during battle.
However, it is not that difficult to master the game’s combat. Each character can deal damage to certain enemies within dungeons. The unique feature of Nightwar’s combat is the Overcharge system. It is also worth noting that casting magic or special abilities would require mana points, which could be obtained by using each character’s basic attacks. Finding the balance between building overcharge or using mana points for special abilities is crucial in surviving tough battles. The good thing is, it makes every battle engaging and challenging every single time.
The biggest drawback in the Switch version of Nightwar, which is also present in the more powerful PS4, is the prolonged loading times. It gets pretty annoying when a fight in the overworld map would stop the game for around 30 seconds, even for a single low-level enemy. Traveling through different areas especially when entering dungeons would take about close to a minute. Frequently, I find myself getting into the game and enjoying it. However, the loading times would break away from the gameplay. Lastly, the game suffers from a few frame rate issues when things are getting crowded on the screen especially when using special attacks that plays an animation.
Overall, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a fun and enjoyable game. The Switch’s portability adds to the game’s appeal as players can easily play for short sessions on the go. Nightwar’s story serves as a brief diversion from the main storyline of the comics, but it still delivers an entertaining plot that holds up until the end. The game’s most prominent feature is the randomization of its dungeons where players can reset each area for an entirely new experience.
The combat system in the game takes a bit of time to master, but once players get the hang of it, it brings challenging yet enjoyable gameplay. The only downside I noticed in the game is the slow loading time and stuttering frame rate. These problems may be minor to some, but personally, I find that it distracts me from actually enjoying the game and take me away from the game experience. Overall, besides the loading and frame rate problems, Battle Chasers: Nightwar was able to deliver an exciting story of the heroes of the comic book series. The stunning visuals, dialogue, and combat system all work together into a fun JRPG experience on the Switch.