Nights of Azure (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 07.02.2017 1

Review for Nights of Azure on PC

An action RPG typically boils down to a title that has active combat with RPG elements. A level-up system, stats, and item management tend to be the qualities that differentiates an RPG from other genres, although those features have become more common outside the genre as of last generation. Nights of Azure (PS4 review here) has more in common with Devil May Cry's design philosophy than more traditionally accepted ARPGs, but it nonetheless manages to blend in a fair amount of RPG staples into its design… perhaps unnecessarily.

Nights of Azure starts off strong enough, introducing Rusewall Island and the Ruler of the Night. Humanity was able to defeat the Ruler, but its blue blood polluted Rusewall and changed anyone who made contact with it into a Jayou, a creature that literally steals the night away.

As a result of the calamity, the inhabitants of Rusewall are trapped in a sleepless state. It's an interesting enough premise, and main characters Arnice and Lilysse have great chemistry performance and writing-wise, leading to a rather enjoyable introduction.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure on PC

Those first few minutes as the story fleshes itself out also do a great job at showing off how well the vibrant colours of the gothic island mesh with Kazuki Yanagawa's incredible score. Yanagawa's composition manages to invoke a Castlevania-esque quality without feeling derivative of Michiru Yamane's work.

Featuring a lively supporting cast of characters, Arnice's journey through Rusewall has a comfortable feeling of adventure when examined independent of the actual gameplay. That itself is Nights of Azure's biggest problem: it cannot be looked at without taking into account the actual game and level design.

The story, characters, music, art style, and world are brilliant, and Gust deserves high praise for just how good all those aspects are, but as an actual action RPG there is a lot to be desired.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure on PC

Enemies tend to pose little to no challenge for Arnice, but even if they did, she wouldn't have much to work with in terms of combat. Her moveset is rather generic, as she can only slash a low amount of times before needing to repeat the same combo over again. She has a dodge that adds a level of flow to battles, but nothing on the level of Devil May Cry or Bayonetta where Dante and Bayonetta can use their attacks to stay moving.

There is a summoning system not too dissimilar to Atlus' Devil Summoner series, where Arnice can summon "Servans,"contracted demons, to help her in battle. All summoning does is eat up a bit of SP and the Servans are sent off to mindlessly attack enemies on their own.

Arnice can give them commands with the D-pad and chain combos with their special moves, but the main story is so easy that there's seldom a reason to do so outside of the occasional boss fight. There is a rather difficult postgame that's necessary to complete in order to get the best ending, but even then,Nights of Azure doesn't challenge or engage its mechanics as well as it could have.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure on PC

Even if stages had simply been designed better, the gaps in quality between the production aspect and the gameplay wouldn't be so jarring. Arnice controls much like a Dynasty Warriors character, but the levels are typically very short and lacking in waves of enemies to fight, meaning the combat ends up feeling more tedious than it would have on a large-scale map.

As a port of a 2015 title, it's especially disappointing that Gust didn't go back and try to touch up the gameplay in any meaningful way. For a game with such a huge amount of customisation through Servans, it's baffling that the combat didn't get the same treatment. Nights of Azure isn't bad - far from it - but getting the most enjoyment out of it does unfortunately mean fighting a poorly thought out single-player that never lives up to its potential.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While Nights of Azure shines from a production aspect, its shallow gameplay only holds back what could have been an otherwise compelling RPG. Casual fans of the genre might be able to forgive the almost tedious combat and Servan system, but hardcore action RPG enthusiasts are hard-pressed to find much to enjoy in terms of actual game and level design. Arnice'slimited moveset simply doesn't mesh well with the genre, forcing her to spam the same combos over and over again, with occasional Servan interruption. The cast and world are admirable and well done, but the actual playable portion is lacking the same level of quality and care the rest of the game got.

Developer

Gust

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Pretty much was the same where I was.  It really had potential if they went full bore on the darker story, but instead they had stupid slips/falls etc for humor.

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