Tobold's Blog
Friday, July 20, 2018
 
Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a computer role-playing game on many different platforms that takes the characters of a series of graphic novels onto a new adventure. It plays a bit like a JRPG in that combat moves the group from the overland map to a battle screen, where the heroes duke it out with the monsters in turn-based combat. But the graphic novel style graphics and the innovation in combat gameplay make the game feel very modern and fresh. One of the best RPGs I have played lately, and I just finished it on the Switch after 60 hours at max level 30.

You start out the game with just one character, Gully, but that very quickly grows to three. Over time you get up to 6 characters, but you can only take 3 of them in your group. While that first led me to some crazy group compositions because I wanted to get everybody to the same level, later in the game I used an A-team of the first three characters, and a B-team of the other three, and both teams worked quite well. You could play through the game faster by just using the original three characters and never switching, but what would be the fun of that?

The interesting aspect of combat is that your characters have both “actions” and “abilities”. Actions are free, instant, basic combat moves. Most of them generate “overcharge”, a form of temporary mana. Abilities use mana, and often have a casting time, but hit a lot harder. If you start using abilities right away, you will over time run out of mana. So using actions to create overcharge and than use that to power your abilities is the more sustainable option. But of course sometimes survival beats sustainability. The balance between the two, and the different actions and abilities the 6 characters have, make combat quite interesting, even over 60 hours.

Of course there is also gear, and it can not only be looted or bought, but also crafted. That starts out a bit complicated, as you need to find a crafting station in the random dungeons to do so. But over time you upgrade the shops in the only town to have crafting stations, and then its just a matter of finding the materials. You can craft not only gear, but also potions, and enchantments that improve your gear.

The game follows a more or less linear story through various overland locations and dungeons. The dungeons are pseudo-random, consisting of a distinct tile set for every dungeon in random configuration. You can run through the same dungeon several times, and sometimes you have to for leveling or finding certain items, but you can adjust difficulty from normal to heroic to legendary and get better rewards.

In spite of having played the probably most expensive version of the game on the Switch, I don’t regret the purchase. I probably won’t play it again on the Switch, in spite of a “new game plus” option, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 60 hours it took me to play through this. I still have an unplayed Steam version I got for cheap at a sale and forgot about, and might play that for a while to enjoy the larger screen. Recommended!

Comments:
In Spiderweb Software's Avadon series, you have five characters but you can only bring three on a mission. However, all five share the experience and level at approximately the same rate. It seems a better solution than forcing unnatural party choices.
 
I bought it for the PC and I like about every aspect of the game except the controls for movement. I played for about an hour and then gave up.
 
I will need to try the PC controls when I am back from holidays. On the Switch the controls are quite good with the thumb sticks of the controllers. Makes me wonder if the PC version supports gamepad controls, those should work.
 
I suspect you are right and I just need to try hooking up a PS4 controller and see if that's better. Enjoy your holiday.
 
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