Despite having a fairly basic combat system and linear worlds, Nights of Azure was a fascinating game. The story focused on love, relationships, trust and stood out, if only for the fact it was bittersweet. Even though that story is over, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon hopes to capture the same spark of the original. With new mechanics, a deeper story and other changes, will it improve on the original or was it better as a stand alone?
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon follows Aluche, a knight for Curia, tasked with delivering the sacrifice to seal the Moon Queen’s power. The issue becomes her childhood friend, Liliana, is chosen to be the bride of time. Forced with this tough decision, Aluche decides to go against Curia and try to save Liliana.
This choice results in Aluche’s death, though thanks to doctor Camila, she is brought back to life with the cursed blue blood. From there the story deals with Aluche’s struggle with being a half-demon and how she retains her humanity. Beyond that, it also follows this ragtag group of heroes who seek to oppose the fearsome Moon Queen and save the life of Liliana.
While the core story is certainly interesting, the focus on interactions and love certainly stand out. Much like the original, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is about relationships, caring about others and finding happiness. Every character has their quest, with some being quite comical, with the end result making it an interesting experience. Perhaps not the greatest linear story, but a love story that makes the journey far harder.
Even though there is more to the story than meets the eye, gameplay is quite shallow. Like the original, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is an action RPG similar to Dynasty Warriors. There are a couple combos that you repeat to defeat various foes. However, many things were simplified, making it a more accessible experience.
Instead of collecting, leveling and building a reliable group of servans, you’re allowed to take two with you, along with another girl. All three will aid you in combat, with them having their own attack style and abilities. Your partner has a combo attack that will assist you in defeating demons, with a special skill, chance ability and more to make combat more diverse.
Servans come in many different forms and can offer big and little changes to the experience. There are three different type of servans. Attackers, weapons and ones that work like HMs in Pokemon. The first type simply attacks and has an additional attack that will help you in combat. It can be used to defeat foes, set things on fire, get out of a sticky situation and so forth. Weapon ones have the ability to transform into a weapon, giving Aluche something new to play with. Every weapon offers a different playstyle, making them ideal for anyone looking for a change of pace. The last type have some combat ability, but largely exist to enter inaccessible areas.
Needless to say, the servan system suffers from the same problem as Pokemon’s HMs. More often than not, you’ll want to keep these servans out when you explore a new location. There is almost always something to uncover and without them you’ll need to return. This discourages the use of the other, more interesting, types. Thankfully, you only need to unlock these areas once, meaning there is no reason to use them if you’ve already did everything with them, but still annoying on earlier runs. Similar problems appear with the quest and progression system.
Like the original, Aluche can only be active for a set amount of time. As you level this time increases, but it can limit what you can accomplish. In addition to that, players must progress in the story before the moon is fully eclipsed to prevent a game over. Often times there will be more quests than time to do them, meaning certain things need to be set aside to progress. This can be frustrating for anyone who likes doing everything at once or someone who wants to do certain things.
Not only is this system annoying, it forces players to cycle between the various girls, meaning you can’t rely on your favorite one without falling behind on quests. To make matters worse, often times players will be asked to revisit low level areas, meaning there isn’t much point in doing anything besides the quest, making the experience feel tedious.
Even though the quest, character, servan and even combat system could be better, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon offers a fantastic experience. I found myself bewitched by the cute story of love and quickly cheering for Aluche to find her happiness. While the combat system is a little bland, it’s still fun to mow down enemies and find secrets. As long as you’re willing to put up with the restrictions, it’s easy to get into Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon, making it an absolute must for fans of the original or anime-like games.
[Editor’s Note: Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon Review,