Review – Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Battle Chasers: Nightwar released about seven months ago on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but Nintendo Switch owners have had to wait until now to try out this excellent RPG (roleplaying game) based on the Joe Madureira comics from the late 90’s.
Nightwar, originally scoring a 4/5 when it released back in October, takes inspiration from classic RPGs from the past and is an old-school turn-based combat experience that will remind older gamers of games like Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy. With a party of three, chosen from the array of characters available to them at the time, gamers dungeon dive through 30-40 hours of RPG goodness and explore a story that’s driven forward via gorgeous 2D animation.
Choosing and outfitting a proper team is key, though there’s some room to experiment in party design – especially in the latter half of it, when all the characters are available for use. A balanced party – with a tank to take the brunt of enemy attacks, a damage dealer to wear down opponents, and a healer to make sure your own party doesn’t get worn down – is generally a good idea, but gamers can also find success by creating a more offensive-minded group and leaning on potions for healing and buffs.
The combat starts out simple but ramps up quickly as new skills become available. Outside a few key skills, however, most abilities are best used only in situations that were tailormade for them – and while this did make tactical thinking a necessity in major fights, it also made most battles a bit formulaic.
There’s also an unlockable perk system that will appeal to all those gamers who love to grind out fights, as it rewards them for fighting creatures multiple times. Take bats, for example, an early monster that players can fight again and again if they choose. As beasts, they qualify for Beast Hunter – kill 50 beasts to bump experience earned by 5% for all heroes, and if they’re defeated in the Iron Outpost region, killing 100 of them earns Outpost Hunter – an additional 1% Stamina boost for all heroes. Kill 50 bats and Wing Clipper unlocks, increasing every hero’s Haste score by 1%. Between skills, perks, and crafting or looting equipment, the pursuit of the ultimate build should keep gamers busy for hours on end.
The game that scored a 4/5 seven months ago is here and about 95% intact, which is a bit of a feat considering the somewhat more limited hardware to work with on the Switch. Concessions are minor, with graphics that are a bit less crisp and a framerate that fluctuates a bit more – especially when playing in handheld mode.
Going portable does introduce a factor that’s largely a non-issue on other consoles – glare. The reflective screen, coupled with the dark graphics when exploring the underbelly of Nightwar’s world, can make it very hard to see what’s going on when there’s too much light around you. Finding switches and spotting breakable walls – key to finding hidden loot – is miserably hard in bright conditions.