After sitting through a demonstration at last year's E3, Pascal Tekaia was able to play Battle Chasers: Nightwar himself this time around. He reports back on his time spent with Airship Syndicate's upcoming multiplatform title.
It's been a year since I last saw Battle Chasers: Nightwar in action. Luckily, the good folks at Airship Syndicate haven't been sitting idly by; the game has received several improvements and additions. Of course, I was more than happy to kick its tires a little bit during a hands-on session behind closed doors at this year's E3.
Based on the comic book of the same name, and carrying that influence into a great part of its visual aesthetic, Battle Chasers starts by seeing the eponymous group of adventurers attacked while on an airship, shot out of the sky, and landing in a strange and foreign land. Surviving and escaping this land is what the game is all about, and the Battle Chasers accomplish this goal primarily by dungeon crawling.
This was my first time actually getting to try out the battle system for myself, and it's great to confirm that one of my favorite combat systems from last year's show is as much fun to play as it looks. Players put together a team of three from the six Battle Chasers, each with his or her own unique abilities. Combat is turn-based and follows an on-screen initiative bar. Each character can attack either with an instant attack, an ability, or a burst attack (which comes with its own cool animation), the latter two of which must first be charged up. Enemies can similarly use instant attacks or abilities, and bosses can even perform extra powerful burst moves.
After going a few rounds against regular dungeonbait, I got the chance to jump into a different sort of battle, this time facing off against a boss. While the flow of combat remains the same, the difficulty was ramped up quite a bit, and I barely skirted death several times during this much longer fight. The interplay between my three Battle Chasers' abilities showcased just how much strategy can be employed by mixing and matching party members between dungeons. Each character has the potential to learn a large number of abilities and several burst moves, which must be equipped to be used in combat. The versatility of this system is just one of the reasons I'm already looking forward to this game's release.
Going through these combat scenarios also served to show off an unexpected but welcome surprise: the sound design. Swords ring off each other and armor clinks and clanks in minute metallic detail, crisp and clean. Every move and action feels and sounds weighty, like there is good force behind each blow. It can't be ignored that this is also a testament to the solid hand-painted character animation. Watching and hearing it all in motion is a joy.
Despite its comic book trappings, the designers insist that it isn't meant to be a silly game. Still, it was hard to keep a straight face when little Gully, the pint-sized tank of the group, donned comically large boxing gloves as her weapon of choice. It's proof that the designers had a ton of fun letting their imaginations run wild.
In the year since we saw it last, and in the final few months before its release, Battle Chasers: Nightwar has received, and is still getting, several new features. One that we saw was the surprisingly large overworld map that has been added, with several towns to gather quests in, dungeons to visit, enemy encounters, and other story moments for those willing to search for them. A robust crafting system was also described, requiring recipes to first be found, followed by necessary materials to create armor, weapons, and items. An interesting facet of the crafting system is that there is a chance an item can be successfully crafted even without all the necessary ingredients; however, this is risky, since if the attempt fails, all materials are forfeit.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is looking forward to welcoming all manner of would-be heroes when it releases on October 3, 2017. Challenge is adjustable for those who want to have an easier path to victory. The game will release for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch.