Battle Chasers: Night War – Review
Turn-based RPGs haven’t exactly deviated from the tried and true formula of classics such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior.That doesn’t mean those classic RPGs aren’t fun to play – in fact, you can check out our Twitch Channel where every Monday we play through every Final Fantasy in order. But it does mean that RPGs may be have grown stale for some players. Battle Chasers: Night War understands this and attempts to revitalize a stale genre. But the questions remains, does it succeed? Find out in our Battle Chasers: Night War review!
Let me start by saying Battle Chasers feels great. It has a very straightforward and easy to understand battle system. After an opening cutscene, players are thrown very quickly into battle with an Ooze. The battle system is so easy to understand and I don’t even believe there was ever a boring tutorial. Most other systems in Battle Chasers are like this as well. The game doesn’t have a traditional overworld map where you free roam from location to location. The world of Battle Chasers is more of a sprawling map of interconnected points of interest. You move from one point to another along a relatively straight line. Blips populate the map showing where enemies lie in wait to strike, triggering the more traditional turn-based combat. More investigative minded players will uncover treasure chests off the beaten path which reward you with crafting materials and loot.
You also will come across towns and dungeons. These dungeons will trigger Exploration mode, an isometric free roam across sets of tiles strategically placed to form a bandit fortress or a spooky forest. This tile system and movement are very much akin to Diablo or Torchlight. Monsters will roam around in real time and when the player crashes into an enemy a battle will trigger.
Battle Chasers innovates on the age-old JRPG battle formula. The use of special abilities causes the character to drop lower in the turn order, special attacks and healing are not instant and have to be planned strategically. Basic attacks will happen as soon as you pick them on your turn and will award you with Overcharge. Overcharge is used as your mana and can even, as the name suggests, be overcharged as mana. So after spending a few turns using her basic attack, Gully may have 150/100 mana. Some special abilities can only be used if you have more mana than your maximum amount.
Later in Battle Chasers you also unlock the ability to Burst. Slowly over the course of the battle burst is built. Burst is pooled throughout the party and when it reaches a charge level you can unleash any character’s powerful Burst ability. These powerful abilities are accompanied by their own unique animation hearkening back to older school RPGs.
The mix of juggling overcharge, burst, and Battle Chaser’s countless amounts of status effects can sound like a hassle but the developers over at Airship Syndicate teach you the game over a few hours. Never will the battles be slowed down to a crawl as Garrison teaches you how to use your potions or Knolan tries to explain the use of some magic ability you’ll never want to use again after reading the same dialogue accidentally five times. These pitfalls of the traditional RPGs and JRPGs are masterfully avoided by elegant game design, where the game teaches you by playing not by telling.
Battle Chasers almost starts off too easy for turn-based RPG veterans, but the difficulty comes to a challenging but fair state as soon as you hit the first dungeon. Don’t let the first hour fool you, Battle Chasers requires strategy and tactics to overcome your foes. Combat is at the core of Battle Chasers, and it is amazing. Battling is where you’ll spend most of your time in the game, and it’s time well spent. Battle Chasers is a modern take on old-school RPG games and it delivers perfectly.
Battle Chasers is beautiful. The art looks like it has jumped right off the page of its comic book roots. There are no live action or animated cutscenes in the game (other than an amazingly animated pre-start-menu movie that I suggest everyone watch). But that doesn’t mean the game is without beauty. Each character has its own unique style although they may come across a tad cliche; busty rogue, wizened old mage, battle-scarred warrior, and a headstrong princess. Each character’s 3d model is beautifully crafted and their animations outside and inside combat are jaw-dropping. It’s like watching a graphic novel come to life right before your eyes. The dialogue between characters takes a more traditional RPG approach, with a character posted on each side of the screen. The exchange of words even has its own gorgeous art. Battle Chasers is absolutely stunning visually.
Battle Chasers story follows Gully, the daughter of King Aramus. The King has disappeared behind a mystical wall of mist that covers parts of the world. Before Aramus left he entrusted his ancient and powerful gauntlets to his daughter. You start off your journey besieged in your airship by pirates. In the heat of battle Gully sees Garrison, a failed paladin turned sellsword, get targeted by an enemy’s airship cannon. Gully dives in front of the blast and protects herself and Garrison from harm, but the blast flings them overboard. Calibertto, a sentient metal war golem, jumps after Gully to protect her. With some quick thinking from the resident wizard Knolan (the K is silent), he safely teleports Gully, Garrison, and Calibertto to safety in the forest below. Red Monika, the roguish mercenary, abandons ship, leaving Knolan to fend for himself.
As you adventure around the starting area, Gully will find her lost companions and a deeper and darker story will evolve. You get the band back together to take down a big bad evil. And from there the story stays pretty samey and generic. The story is not an area where Battle Chasers tries to innovate, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The story is just there, almost as a backdrop for the masterful gameplay. Though the dialogue between characters as you rest at an inn to regain your strength, or as the dust settles after major battles is refreshing and fun.
The cast of characters never seems to fully develop their story arcs, but the evolution you do witness throughout the game is enjoyable. Each character has his or her own reasons for being in this ragtag band of adventures, but I always felt like I was missing out because I haven’t read the source material. Maybe that comes just from my obsessive need to always “start from the beginning” of stories, so your mileage may vary. Regardless, the story isn’t the most memorable, or forgettable thing about Battle Chasers, it’s just ever-present.
Battle Chasers should take you around forty hours to complete. If you’re a completionist, it’ll take around sixty hours to finish one hundred percent the game. There are tons of things in the game to keep you busy. If you get tired of the battlefield and want to take a break and relax then have no fear. As you explore dungeons you can find hidden pools and ponds that you can fish in. Fishing is a fun side distraction with a surprisingly fleshed out system. You need to locate each pond to complete your Fishédex (my name for it, not the game’s) and you can also upgrade your fishing rod and lure. The adventures can also take on monster hunts where they are given the task to stalk and kill a specific special monster.
Even the dungeons you come across in your journey are built to be replayed. You can up the difficulty of monsters that will be found roaming these halls and in doing so increase the quality of loot you will find. As stated previously these dungeons are all built on tiles, ala Diablo, so they can be rearranged. This challenge is a driving factor when deciding to replay a dungeon.
Not only do you have the option to replay dungeons, but once the credits roll you unlock New Game Plus. Beginning a new game plus will overwrite your current save game and begin the story anew. Luckily, you will keep all your perks, any enemy knowledge, time played, lore discovered, and achievements. On the other hand, you lose gold, equipment, key items, crafting materials, and all recipes. The game also provides more difficulty options for dungeons. New game plus adds Mythic difficulty for dungeons, making them harder and more rewarding than Legendary dungeons. Players will also be able to jump into the higher difficulties right away without first clearing the lower tier runs. If you’re feeling up for it you can pick mythic right away!
Battle Chasers: Night War has tons for players to experience. The game has a complex and strategic battle system with beautiful comic book art, with its only downfall being a cliché story. Battle Chasers is a rewarding and fun romp through a usually stale turn-based RPG genre. Every time I quit the game I would spend time just daydreaming about what lay in the next dungeon. Battle Chasers will definitely be in my Game of the Year considerations.
Note: GameOctane Editor Jason Germino received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ Extremely fun and strategic gameplay.
+ Beautiful colors making the world feel dripping in comic book ink
+ Huge RPG for a budget price, You'll get your money's worth
- With all of Battle Chasers innovations story is one area lacking. Falling into cliche and classic fantasy tropes