I’m hoping that all my fellow comic nerds out there remember the late 90’s comic series, Battle Chasers. It was created by one of my favorite artists on this planet, Joe Madureira, who is known for mixing Anime designs with really detailed American-style shading techniques. His style blew my mind when he was drawing Uncanny X-men, but once he started to work on Battle Chasers, he really started to hit his stride as a penciller. He was and still is one of the major influences of my pencil work, which makes this review a little hard to do. But my job is to give unbiased opinions for you guys, and I would be doing a crappy job if I told you that this game is amazing.
Battle Chasers starts out promising. The visuals are really sharp and you can tell that a ton of time was put into character design, the environments as well as the cut scenes. I was a little annoyed that the beginning of the game was a longer cut scene that lasts several minutes before you can actually play. Once you can actually play the game is pretty decent to begin with. It’s an old school JRPG with some unique elements that work well. There are two different kind of maps in this game: one that is an overworld view with different map points you move between and enemy encounters that are clearly identified, and the others are Diablo-esque dungeons. I really liked the dungeons and love the idea of mixing dungeon exploration with a turn-based JRPG. Each character in your party has different abilities that help you get through the dungeon. Before you enter a dungeon you have the choice of difficulty level, the harder the difficulty the better the loot you can pick up. The majority of Nightwar is actually spent in the randomly generated dungeons. But there is also plenty of side quests, crafting, and exploring to do in this game, I still haven’t become disinterested in the game because there is always something to do.
Ok, so what else did I like about this game? Other than the visuals and the dungeons that I mentioned above, the combat feels old school, which I love, yet also had a fresh feeling with the Overdrive mechanic. Usually you pay mana to use spells and special abilities, but by doing attacks you build up your Overdrive meter, which when fully charged, lets you use abilities for free, increases damage, etc. It adds an additional element of strategy to each fight, do you use the Overdrive early and try to build it up again? Or do you hold off until you have a boss on the ropes? I also like that random enemy encounters are not a thing in this game. It’s one of my pet peeves about other RPGs. Nothing worse than trying to walk somewhere and getting constantly bombarded by random enemies.
Okay, so now onto the bad stuff. The game crashed a few times on me. After some interwebz research, I wasn’t the only one that this happened to. I was very, very thankful that it autosaves so much so I didn’t really lose much. Still, this is something that is unforgivable in a finished product. I also found the inventory screen to be clunky and confusing, as well as having tiny font (I played this on my 60″), and the font was still on the smaller side. If it wasn’t for these issues, one being major, this game is actually decent as far as a JRPG goes. So back to the end of the first paragraph, I can’t say this game is amazing, don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly one of the better JRPGs that has been released in the past couple of years, but the bug and the menu design hold it back from being great. Is it worth the $25 price tag? Absolutely. Is it perfect? No, but still fun.
Buy it: If you’re an old school JRPG fan, like Diablo and used to be a fan of the Battle Chasers comic. It’s really neat seeing the characters come to life so to speak.
Try it: If you like JRPGs, this game is worth giving giving a shot. Is it Final Fantasy 3? No, but you might want to consider adding it to your collection anyways.
Walk by it: If you’re looking for a perfectly polished game. Or you have kids. Seriously, don’t buy this for your kids. Red Monika’s outfit is a bit much, and hers is not the only one, there is a witch in the game that leaves very little to the imagination.