Battle Chasers: Nightwar comes from Joe Madureira, the man who was behind Darksiders and comics like the Uncanny X-Men. Battle Chasers is a crowdfunded game which acts as a continuation of both the comics and a starting point for newcomers like myself to jump into with no need to know anything prior. I honestly had no idea this series existed until recently, but, I’m glad it came across my path as this game is highly entertaining.
Doing some research on the comic series on which this game is based upon, I learned that while the original comic series from 1998 was wildly popular, however, lengthy delays between issues left the series to die in 2001, and the story was left on a cliffhanger of an ending. With the shift in the way the gaming industry works now, Madureira, who previously worked on the Darksiders series, took it upon himself to get his work on Kickstarter, and into a new medium, in which it succeeded.
If you’re wary about jumping into a new game based on an old series, worry not; Madureira and his team at Airship Syndicate have made it so that you wouldn’t need to have prior knowledge of his comic series, instead, after a brief introduction with the cast from the colored pages of this series, we’re thrust into a situation in dire need of our attention.
The game begins as the Battle Chasers are under attack, their airship is badly damaged and the next thing we see is the team split up and the ship in pieces. The team must regroup and get off the island, however, shortly after crashing we learn of a nefarious sorcerer who plans on raising an undead army. I wish the story was deeper than that, but, it left me needing more, and what we were given doesn’t paint a picture I can heap praise.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar plays like a classic JRPG, one that scratches the itch I’ve had since many games have turned to more action-oriented battle systems. Combat is fantastic in Battle Chasers to the point where I didn’t realize how much I missed classical combat. Attacking is standard for the most part, selecting your action will allow you to attack and earn overcharge, which is a buffer for your magic. As magic requires time to cast, you’ll need to plan your turns accordingly, creating tension during most battles. Every party member has their own unique attacks and skills, too, learning the value of each character’s worth will save you crucial moments when in the heat of battle. Each character’s attacks come with their own buffs, allowing for diverse ways to approach enemies in battle.
The thing is, you will need to learn to manage your magic in Battle Chasers. I mentioned attacking grants overcharge that can be used to alleviate the cost of spells and magic attacks, this buffer allows for the crucial last-gasp command that will determine the outcome of a battle. Bursts allow for powered instant attacks, the downside of using one is the longer than normal recharge. Your party builds up their shared meter for Bursts when it hits level three, a powerful attack is available in battle.
Traversing the overworld takes place on a map where players move on a set path while encountering enemies, treasures, and materials. There is one town that acts as a hub on the map and provides items of interest including an inn, magic shop, tavern, and forge. Upon reaching a dungeon from the map, players can pick their difficulty and along with that decision on the level of look they receive by clearing the area. Battle Chasers offers randomly-generated dungeons so returning an already completed location will yield different rewards.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar isn’t without its issues, during my playthrough, I ran into two crashes that crashed the game to the PlayStation 4 home screen. My latest involved a battle against an overworld enemy and right as the battle began, I saw my familiar PS4 home screen. I haven’t seen anything serious on the latest patch, and while there is no indication of it happening, I am wary of how long I play without manually saving my progress.
A successful Kickstarter produced a successful and fun game. Battle Chasers: Nightwar draws up nostalgic memories to when I was younger and I was playing Final Fantasy X, with a combat system I enjoy playing within a time where action games reign king. Diverse characters to control in battle with deep mechanics that respect the player and how they so choose to engage the enemy is a rare thing these days and the main draw of the random dungeons itches my need to get better loot by tackling the harder difficulties. I’d like to see more of this universe, and with a successful first Kickstarter and a great first game that features smart combat and dungeons full of loot, this will happen at some point.
MAY 2018 Review:
Finally, the Nintendo Switch has a fantastic classical JRPG-style game in its library after a lengthy delay! Based on Joe Madureira’s 1990’s comic, and while the port moves from PS4 and Xbox One, and PC to Switch, it does so with small issues. Being the lesser of the big three consoles, Nintendo’s hybrid struggles with load times, something I found to be of consequence, especially after jumping back into my copy on PlayStation 4. There are also issues with on-screen text being much smaller when playing in handheld mode, and the overworld map doesn’t translate well either. While not the biggest issues, the added time between this version and the original release in October should have been adequate time to acclimate the game to the most ambitious console in the market right now.
In terms of story, nothing has changed here and it is still the exact same, you’ll get the same beats start to finish, but don’t let this deter you from the excellent gameplay, as the combat is the bread and butter of this game. The gameplay also has a steep learning curve later on as you progress, but, the beauty of the mechanics help you overcome them with understanding the roles each character plays in succeeding and overcoming the obstacles ahead.
Load times and stuttering aside, this is a treat for Nintendo Switch owners with a lot of content to complete including fishing, lore to collect, a bestiary, upgrades to your gear, optional bosses, you’re in for a treat as Battle Chasers: Nightwar is now on Nintendo Switch. With a few additional patches, this game will find a wonderful home on the Nintendo Switch. As it is now, its fans of the comic books and diehard JRPG fans will find fun, those with little patience on the other hand, will not.