Nights of Azure tells the story of two girls, one a saint destined to be a sacrifice to keep the Lord of Night sealed way, the other a Holy Knight whose duty is to protect the saint.
Centuries ago the Lord of Night was defeated by a saint and sealed away, but the blue blood from his body rained across the land corrupting everything it touched. The Lord of Night threatens to return and bring about an endless night, so every 10 years a saint is chosen to be a sacrifice to halt his return. This burden now falls upon ‘Lilysse’ but her guardian knight and best friend, Arnice, doesn’t want her to become a sacrifice. To protect her best friend, Arnice takes up arms to defeat the Lord of Night once and for all and end the cycle of sacrifice.
Nights of Azure is a JRPG developed by GUST and produced by Koei Tecmo. With the upcoming release of ‘Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon’ I decided to take a look and see what this series has to offer. I first heard about Nights of Azure when I saw it pop up on steam back in February. I was going to check it out then but I was caught up with the release of ‘For Honor’.
So, is Nights of Azure any good? And is it worth your time? I can say ‘I’ enjoyed my time playing it but it’s not a perfect game and I feel some people might be turned off by some of its aspects.
First up let’s talk Gameplay. Nights of Azure is a JRPG, so if you have played any other JRPG it will feel familiar. However, there is one difference that is very noticeable from the start, and that’s the lack of ridiculously high numbers. I know it’s a weird thing to focus on but this is a big difference between western RPG’s and JRPG’s, so Nights of Azure’s choice to stick with smaller numbers is an interesting design decision.
In Nights of Azure you will be spending a lot of your time in combat as most of the game will have you going about the city at night and fighting the fiends that infest it. Nights of Azure features a real-time hack-and-slash style of combat that’s so simple and easy to use, anyone can do it. Using combinations of light and heavy attacks with block and dodging, I never found combat to be that challenging. To support you in combat, Arnice enlists the help of ‘servants’ which will act as your companions in combat when you summon them.
Your servants are your greatest arsenal to help you in combat. They act as your party supporting you in a variety of roles from fighters to tanks and supporters. As you play through the game your servants will level up to become more powerful and you can acquire new servants that have different abilities, so choose the servants that best compliment your preferred play style.
Arnice utilising her servants in combat.
The hack-and-slash nature of the combat doesn’t make it overly interesting but the variety of servants and their abilities makes up for that. My only real problem with the games combat is that it’s too easy. With a well balanced party of fighter, tank, healer and supporter and making sure I equipped better gear as I acquired it, I never felt challenged or worries about the threat of dying. The only real challenge I had with the game was in its final boss fight and even then, I succeeded on my second attempt. For a less experienced or more casual gamer, the level of difficulty would suit them better, but the lack of a difficulty option for us who like our games challenging was a little disappointing.
To make up for the short comings in its combat, Nights of Azure’s story and characters definitely saved this game for me. The relationship between Arnice and Lilysse through out the story was intriguing to watch, as Arnice tries to fight against Lilysse’s destiny to become a sacrifice.
Arnice and Lilysse have been friends for many years but their work has kept them apart for quite some time, so they are very happy to see each other again when Arnice is chosen to protect Lilysse as she performs her duty as a saint.
Lilysse(Left) sharing a touching moment with Arnice(Right) after a little dance.
While under the guile of ‘friends’, there is an aspect to their relationship that could be polarising to some. Both Arnice and Lilysse hold romantic feeling for each other. As the saying goes ‘actions speak louder than words’, so while it isn’t explicitly stated that they’re in a relationship with each other, their actions tell a different story. Lilysse is kind and affectionate towards Arnice, doing whatever she can to help. Arnice is caring and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect Lilysse.
Personally I’m fine with same-sex relationships, I enjoy them just as much as any other love story. But not everyone is as open to the idea, so this might be a turn off to some but honestly this game can’t hold up on its gameplay alone. So if you can’t get behind the story of two girls that love each other, one desperately trying to protect the other, I couldn’t recommend this game to you.
Yuri shall conquer the world.
For those of you who enjoy the game and want more, Nights of Azure has multiple endings you can achieve by playing through again on New Game+. I would recommend doing this as the first potential ending leaves a lot to be desired, where the ‘True Ending’ has a happier and more rewarding conclusion. Nights of Azure isn’t a very long game; I finished my first play through in 14hrs over two days, so playing through multiple times to achieve the different endings is very easy to do.
Nights of Azure is a fun game; the combat isn’t very challenging but is still fun. The story is simple but interesting and the characters compelling. It won’t be for everyone, however those who do get into it, will be treated to a fun and interesting experience.
If you’re interested, check it out for yourself on Steam or you can find it on the PlayStation store for console. I would recommend getting it on PC as the price is cheaper or see if you can find a second-hand copy for console because I feel the PlayStation store price is too steep for what you get.
I hope this was insightful for new comers like myself to the series, and look forward to October when Nights of Azure 2 comes out.