Nights of Azure 2 doesn’t do anything particularly revolutionary or interesting with the action-RPG genre, opting to instead play it safe by sticking to well-worn conventions. Outside of the music, nothing in Nights of Azure 2 stands out in an especially meaningful or noteworthy way.
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon
Developer: Gust, Koei Tecmo
Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC
MonsterVine was supplied with a PS4 code for review
Action-RPGs are typically a lot of fun because of their ability to combine the depth of an RPG with the exciting pace of an action game. Nights of Azure does these things, but not in a very unique way. The end result is an action-RPG that is by all means sufficient, but can’t really stand out on its own among the many more original titles in the genre.
In Nights of Azure 2 you play as Aluche, a warrior of the Curia whose duty is to guard her friend and newly appointed priestess Liliana. Liliana is being guarded so that the Curia can sacrifice her to the Moon Queen to stop the world from falling into eternal night. It’s very reminiscent of Final Fantasy X, though I didn’t find it to be as compelling. Aluche nearly dies and is turned into a half-demon by Camilla, a Curia scientist. The two of them team up with Aluche’s childhood friend to find Liliana and to keep her from being sacrificed.
All of the characters tend to fall into one of many anime stereotypes (tsundere, sadistic scientist, etc.), without expanding beyond these roles. This keeps any of the cast from becoming especially memorable, as I found myself quickly becoming bored with their tired shticks. The overall story is pretty basic as well, so I never really felt invested in the world of Nights of Azure 2.
“The most unique thing in the combat system would be the Servan system, which is similar to the use of ‘familiars’ in other games.”
The gameplay is similar to the narrative in that it is present, but doesn’t stand out. Using square and triangle, you throw out light and heavy attacks to cut down groups of enemies with different weapons. While you’ll typically use a sword, there are ways to use different weapons like lances and greatswords. They all have moderately different playstyles, but in the end I found the default sword to be the easiest and most reliable weapon to use. There isn’t really much to combos outside of “double chances”, which is when Aluche and her teammate both execute a powerful team attack at the same time. It’s a pretty flashy move that is satisfying to land on bosses and enemy hordes.
The most unique thing in the combat system would be the Servan system, which is similar to the use of “familiars” in other games. Basically, as you proceed through the game you can find different animals and fairies that can be equipped as “Servans”. Each has a different ability, ranging from damaging attacks to weapon transformations. Since you have the ability to equip two, it’s easy to find your favorite Servans to make your own personal team with. Finding new Servans feels quite rewarding, as their designs are often quite distinct and interesting. Servans stand out amongst the otherwise vanilla gameplay, and I quite enjoyed their inclusion.
“The result of these limitations is a restrictive game world that makes you feel far too pressured to accomplish goals in a certain amount of time.”
The biggest problem with Nights of Azure 2 is its obsession with time limits and caps. Because of Aluche’s status as a half-demon, she can only be out for 10 minutes at a time. (This number can be increased through upgrades, but only by small increments over time). If that wasn’t enough, there is also a “days” system where you only have so many in-game days to finish a portion of the story. So you can only stay out for so long, but you need to accomplish a lot because you can only wander around the world for so long. The result of these limitations is a restrictive game world that makes you feel far too pressured to accomplish goals in a certain amount of time. I’m not against time limits, as I think games like Dead Rising and Majora’s Mask do it well, but Nights of Azure 2 has two different and restrictive types of time limits that impede your exploration, making it feel a bit too demanding.
Visually Nights of Azure 2 is all well and good, as it sufficiently uses the anime aesthetic that many similar games also utilize. The characters look expressive and have incredibly complicated outfits, while the world is dark and moody. Unfortunately, some areas are a bit too same-y (a lot of forest areas look identical to one another), which can make navigation a pain at times. As previously mentioned, the designs of the Servans are solid, with an almost Darkstalker-like appeal to some.
The music in Nights of Azure 2 is the best part of the game, as each song brims with atmosphere. There’s a gothic feeling that permeates the majority of the soundtrack, making it feel pleasantly grim. I found the majority of the game’s songs to be catchy and worth listening to even outside of the game itself. The voice acting is strong as well, though there’s only so much the performers can do with the fairly flat characters.
The Final Word
Nights of Azure 2 is a very average action RPG that does everything okay, but very little exceptionally. While the Servans and music are worth checking out, the game as a whole is best experienced when grabbed during a sale.
-MonsterVine Rating: 3 out of 5 – Average