Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 24.10.2017 9

Review for Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon on PC

Touted as a "darker" alternative to its fairly happy line-up of games, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is a far departure from Gust's typical titles. Dealing with themes like sacrifice, adult sexual situations, and heavily implied lesbian overtones, it is surprising this game is only rated T. Trying to save her friend from being sacrificed, the main character must take down an evil witch by herself rather than let her friend be sacrificed as appeasement.

Gust's Nights of Azure was a unique, if flawed game. The action was largely passable, the story was weak, and the sexualized characters were very awkward. With that being said, the RPG was still decent due to an overall fast pace in the package. The sequel fixes some issues, but brings its own to the table. The combat system is much faster, but the story and characters are mostly average.

Nights of Azure 2's narrative is heavily confusing, and if you read too much between the lines, there are a lot of plot holes. Its connections to the first game are often muddled, and given translation issues with names, it makes it even worse, as the main priestess girl has nearly the same name (Lilysse compared to Liliana). The main character bears the same issue, being named Aluche, and only provides confusion when the original title's Arnice shows up as an enemy. Much like the first game, the actual story could loosely be summed up as "don't let your female friend die, and go kill the boss." It is unfortunate as RPG players often play for the story, and while the first was not that good in that area, there was a lot between the lines that left some degree of intrigue to the plot.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon on PC

To get this out right away, the sexual aspects of the story are entirely distracting. With certain types of games, it is to be expected, such as various Senra Kagura or Criminal Girls titles, but given that this styles itself as a more serious entry, it is not a positive aspect. Normally not an issue particularly bothersome in most games, it is very hard to take the plot seriously when the innocent priestess and her female knight have chests that are literally bouncing around as if they have brains of their own. With the exception of a loli character, every girl here is stacked out and bounce their way through every scene they are in. Even standing still and talking, breasts sway back and forth like an ocean tide, which, as stated, makes it much harder to take the plot at face value.

Like the prequel, Nights of Azure 2 revolves around yuri/lesbian relationships of the characters. It is a very strange dance because the creators have tried on some level to present it as a mature take on things, but it loses much of its seriousness in many scenes. Segments that are touching often are a little cringe-worthy, as they stand there facing each other and one can't help but wonder if they are comparing the size of the swinging coconuts attached to each other's chests.

Unlike the original, where it was simply the main character and the priestess, now there are other girls to romance, which again adds a bit of confusion to the plot. To be clear, part of the problem is the strange line they try to walk where everything is hyper-sexualized, yet it is almost portrayed in a more innocent "we are just friends" style that leads to confusion of what the gamer is supposed to feel.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon on PC

The combat system is much better strictly on a technical level. The speed is a lot faster and feels much smoother. At its root, there is a strong and weak attack, and given the button press, combos do different things. Combat is fairly easy and in general there is not much threat other than sometimes being completely surrounded. A weak AI detracts from much of a challenge, but combat is fun enough that it is not too much of an issue.

There is now also a "Lily" (a girl) that comes with you, and two monsters called Servans. This is a mixed bag. The Lily system is interesting as the girls are much more involved than a single Servan was in the first game. They attack, have skills, combo with your attacks, and have special moves when a bar is charged. It adds a good layer of depth. It is much more fun having another human going into battle that is largely competent. The Servan system is worse, though. Divided into two classes, Trickers and Strikers, the former serve loosely only as a key to open certain areas, whereas the Strikers can turn into weapons the character can use.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon on PC

Nights of Azure's Servan system was arguably its best part in levelling them up, forming different groups and moves, and so on. In Bride of the New Moon, they play a much weaker role. Essentially, many players will just leave the "Key" Servans on, rather than replay a level because they couldn't open a path. Gone as well is the transformation element of the first game for the main character. Progression happens mostly the same. With enough "blood," you can improve various stats to level up. Going into battle enough with specific Lilys can gain new skills.

The adventure is very linear, just as in the previous title; pick a mission, then head out to a specific dungeon. None of the areas feels particularly amazing. The time limit remains in dungeons, which can be problematic given there is a limit already to how many missions the player can take on.

The RPG elements, the Lily system, and decently-paced combat combine for a strictly average to decent game. It is really sad to see because Gust took a different approach compared to its Atelier games, and this likely will not be particularly successful. Personally, stories like this are much, much more preferred than endless clones of their main series, but this is not a knockout game to encourage them do any different.

Screenshot for Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Like the original title, Nights of Azure 2 never shines in any particular segment, but remains an okay game on many levels. Some elements, such as combat fluidity, are noticeable improved, whereas changes to the Servan system and repetitive level design hurt. The darker story is interesting, but the heavily sexualised elements play a very strange role of being omnipresent, but never actually delved into. It is a game that is fun to play through, but is not going to be memorable in the future.

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

Always liked the look of these games. Waiting for a cheap price on the first game to pick it up.

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I had decided to pick this on Switch but due to too many games coming out at the same time, I had reconsidered and decided to wait since I not only wouldn't be able to play it straight away with Mario Odyssey coming out on the exact same day, and by the time I'm done, L.A. Noire and Skyrim both come out on it as well. So i'll be busy enough as it is. I'd rather invest my money in games I REALLY itch to play straight away and pick others like this one perhaps further down the line when the lineup is not so crowded and hopefully by then the price will have gone down a little, too.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Yeah, wonder if they'll port the first game to Switch down the road too. Depends if this one does well on it I guess.

It's sad because the Atelier games are very very bad 'clones' of each other, but this just was somewhat childish despite trying to be dark. I know can do good games (ar tonelico, Mana khemia) but this game felt like it was middleschool plot.

Shame. Some reviews went in hard on this too. The yuri and dark theme had me drawn right into this, but now it's just gonna be something I'll wait to be super cheap before even thinking about it.

Azuardo said:
Shame. Some reviews went in hard on this too. The yuri and dark theme had me drawn right into this, but now it's just gonna be something I'll wait to be super cheap before even thinking about it.

Yeah, I saw some reviews give it like a 3 etc. It wasn't that bad, it's a lot like the first, servicable but really just leaves you with a feeling of 'this could have been so much better'.  I really hated how sexed it was, but never actually touched on, could have been handled maturely or comedically.

The first one still better than this, then?

Azuardo said:
The first one still better than this, then?

It's pretty even but this one is a little better.  Combat is funner in this one, but less strategic (the monster leveling was really cool in first one).  The story is pretty cringy in both which sucks, with maybe slight advantage on this game.

Probably gonna get it regardless. What little I saw reminded me of Lost Kingdoms.

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