Whilst there may be a drought with J-RPG titles on Xbox One, that doesn’t mean to say that Western developers can’t be influenced by them and create one themselves. That’s exactly what developer Airship Syndicate has done with their title Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Heavily influenced by titles such as Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Battle Chasers…
You begin the game as Gully, whom has just crashed on Crescent Isles following a raid on her airship from Bandits. As she begins to search for her friends, she starts learning about the mysterious Isle and the Mana that is held within it. This title takes a long time before it really ‘kicks’ in, so stick with it through the opening hours of the game and that’s when you’ll see just how much depth Airship Syndicate has put into this game, not to mention the amount of influences and inspirations.
Firstly, one of the developers’ – Joe Maduriera – used to create comic books named Battle Chasers back in the late nineties, so this title is a ‘rebirth’ of sorts, albeit different media. Not to mention that Maduriera used to work on developing the Darksiders titles, which for the keenest of eyes, will notice that some of the characters in this title resemble those of Darksiders. For example, you have the big burly Scottish blacksmith in Battle Chasers; in Darksiders you hunt down a giant Scottish blacksmith. There is also a character you collect special coins for known simply as The Collector who so happens to look suspiciously like Vulgrim, also from Darksiders. Hell, even the coins you give the guy are similar! These resemblances aren’t a bad thing though, all just nods to influences.
The major influence these guys have had in developing this game is that of the Final Fantasy titles and similar. Where the battle system is concerned, anyway. It’s a turn-based system with a turn order bar that can be manipulated depending on characters skills and abilities, which we’ll delve into later. There aren’t any random encounters here. You simply approach the enemy either in an exploration zone or on the world map and you will jump straight into battle. There are items and abilities out there that allow you to ‘stun’ the enemies so you can bypass them, but to be quite honest, every battle is entertaining. There are multiple ways to approach the situation, especially later on. What’s more interesting is the use of ‘Overcharge’ which allows you to attack an enemy without costing Mana, but instead will gain you a set amount of Overcharge points. These points can be used instead of Mana to save you from using it up – as Mana isn’t easily acquired and doesn’t reset between battles, whereas any overcharge gained in battle will be lost once finished. This adds a whole dimension of resource-management where you may end up in a sticky situation where you have to pick the right battles.
There are a total of six playable characters, and once acquired can be switched on-the-fly in exploration zones to allow the use of that specific character’s ability. They each have their own specific skill tree with more abilities being unlocked, the more levels gained and each proving more useful than others under certain circumstances. A loot system is in place in this title and whilst loot is scarce to begin with, as you progress more you’ll start discovering rarer and stronger items, with some even changing up the battle. Airship Syndicate have decided to go all out with this title and include a bunch of other mechanics such as an expansive crafting system, an enchanting system and even a bestiary for any monsters discovered – each monster even having their own rewards for quantity diminished. Oh did I say there’s fishing too?
Battle Chasers: Nightwar has everything you’d expect from a AAA RPG title, only it’s not AAA. The exploration of The Legend of Zelda, the art style of Darksiders, the battle system of Final Fantasy. What more could you ask for in a J-RPG inspired game? Airship Syndicate deserves all the praise they get with this title so let’s hope that this spawns future iterations.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £23.99.
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Battle Chasers: Nightwar tries to capture the essence of classic JRPG’s and does it remarkably well whilst still having its own unique way of delivering a powerful story. A few nods here and there, with some lore for biggest of RPG fans to discover, this title has everything you’d expect for a role playing title.