If you’re into JRPGs or anime, Nights of Azure is probably going to be the biggest release of early 2016 for you. For anyone who isn’t really into that style of game or art, you won’t find much here to enjoy. That’s not to say that Nights is a bad game- there’s plenty to enjoy, from the gorgeous color pallet to the unique premise and exciting gameplay. The fact that all of this is bogged down by so many anime tropes, though, will make it hard for anyone turned off by the genre to really get into the title.
The game follows two girls (whose relationship is handled very tastefully throughout) that live in a land without night; a land plagued by the vengeful “Jayou,” who were once humans until they came into contact with the evil blood of the now-dead ruler of the night. These Jayou will immediately attack anyone who ventures out into the night, and the girls are part of a Holy Order tasked with stopping the Jayou and ensuring that the Lord of the Night stays dead.
Arenice is the name of the girl that you control, and she is unique due to the fact that she came into contact with the evil blood but didn’t transform into a Jayou- instead, she was given powers that allow her to control an army of demons called “Servans” in addition to allowing her to transform into a number of different forms herself.
Gameplay is action-RPG oriented, so you’ll be controlling your Servans and fighting in real-time, and the result is fun, fast-paced combat with a ton of different options depending on your playstyle. Servans basically come in either attack or support forms, which are essentially the roles that your transformations play as well. Combining your powers with theirs and finding different combinations to take down the many Jayou in the world is what’s really fun about this title, especially thanks to how great the powers (and the world itself) look.
With that being said, while the action is fun, it’s not exactly challenging. This game is a breeze to play through, and the story isn’t really all that compelling, so at times it’s hard to get sucked into the experience.
When you’re not taking on Jayou, you’re really only getting a break when you visit the hub world known as “The Hotel,” where you can customize your character and take on new missions. There’s not a ton to do here, though, and gamers only in it for the action will probably find The Hotel to be somewhat of an annoyance, with the exception of the “Arena,” where you can take on a number of challenges that will rate you from one to three stars.
Overall, if you’re into the whole JRPG/anime thing, you can’t find a lot to complain about in Nights of Azure other than the difficulty and minor graphical issues. Nights is certainly a better offering than developer Gust’s last title, but it’s definitely not the best game for a non-JRPG fan to get into. Certainly consider picking this one up.