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Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Airship Syndicate
Release Date: Oct. 3, 2017


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Battle Chasers: Nightwar'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 26, 2016 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a classic JRPG where combat meets action-packed dungeons and stylish storytelling.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is another happy Kickstarter success story. It was a comic series from the late '90s about a fantasy RPG-style hero group and its adventures, but unfortunately, the series ended unceremoniously on a cliffhanger. Through the aid of Kickstarter backers, the original creator Joe Madureira was able to fund a game to continue the adventures of the characters nearly a decade after the comic ended: Battle Chasers: Nightwar. We were able to check it out at E3 2016, and the title is shaping up to be quite interesting.

Battle Chasers is a turn-based JRPG with a three-person party, though there will be multiple playable characters to choose from, all from the comic. In our demo, we saw Calibretto, Garrison and Gully in action. When players encounter an enemy while exploring dungeons, the game jumps into combat mode and switches to a side view, with the heroes on the left and the villains on the right. There's a turn order at the bottom of the screen that shows exactly when each character is going to act. When a character's turn comes up, they can choose to take an action. Each character has two quick attacks that can go off right away during their turn. They also have stronger special abilities that can do more damage, heal, or cause serious status effects but take up previous mana to cast.

Mana is fairly tight in Battle Chasers, so if you use it wildly or even regularly, you'll run dry. Quick attacks may not be your strongest attacks, but they build up Overcharge, which is sort of like a temporary MP boost. It only lasts for the current fight, but it allows you to build up MP that doesn't get wasted. It's an interesting balance choice, as it means you have to decide if it's worth using up your mana right away or trying to build up a buffer so you don't run out. Fortunately, Overcharge seems easy to build up, though the demo only showed an early part of the gameplay.

In addition to Overcharge, fighting also builds up your Burst meter, which doesn't disappear between fights. Every character has a powerful Burst attack that depletes the Burst meter, and the Burst meter is shared between all characters. Think of it like a Limit Break in Final Fantasy. These Burst attacks can be a game-changer. While it might be tempting to blow your Burst for a flashy attack, using it to save your party during a rough fight could be a much more critical choice.

Dungeon exploration will play a big part in the game. Every character has distinct abilities they can use a limited number of times. For example, Gully can smash the ground with her oversized fists to stun enemies, while Garrison can perform a shadowy dash that quickly covers ground and can move through enemies without starting a fight. The dungeons are semi-randomly generated but will include traps and puzzles. A puzzle can unlock powerful loot but also houses dangerous enemies, like mimic chests. Traps can hurt your party but can also hurt the enemies who appear on the map, giving you an advantage if you can make good use of them.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar has all the makings of a solid JRPG-style game. The combat system looks fast and fun, and the artwork looks excellent, thanks to Joe Madureira's iconic style. From the well-animated main characters to the creepy monsters, there's a lot to look forward to in Battle Chasers. Add in some fun RPG gameplay, and you've got the makings of a solid title. Hopefully, the final version can live up to the high potential of the demo. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is expected in 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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