Recently gaming has been moving towards series, over one and done experiences. Even if the game in question has a complete story, the next title will take place at a different time period, offer a check in or something else. This was certainly the case with Nights of Azure. Arnice’s story concluded and it looked like our adventures fighting demons and fighting for Curia were over. However, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon continues the adventure. With gameplay changes, some new and familiar characters, along with lessons from the original, is it the sequel the series needed or does it try to cash in on the name?
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon follows Aluche, a demon slayer fighting for Curia, on her quest to either defeat or seal the moon queen. While Curia wants her to sacrifice the bride of time, who happens to be her childhood friend Liliana, she battles with the idea of sacrificing her friend for the sake of everyone else or risk it all for her beloved friend.
Beyond the ethical dilemma, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon is really about relationships and being close to one another. Most of the cutscenes, dialogue and even events are built around getting closer to your teammates, overcoming a problem or just helping them find their own version of happiness. This isn’t too unusual for an RPG, but the sweetness that Aluche and her friends certainly stands out.
The same bitter sweetness is a cornerstone for how many of the interactions go. While some characters accept who they’re, their fate or even cost associated with their happiness, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon never gives up hope. Whether that means Aluche is successful is up for debate, especially not without paying a price, but this is also what makes Nights of Azure such an emotional franchise.
Even if the story is deep, the same can’t be said about gameplay. At it’s core, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon is basically a less active and more convoluted version of Dynasty Warriors. Aluche has a couple set combos you can perform and that makes up the bulk of your experience. By utilizing servans, demons’ players can recruit, new gameplay options are unlocked.
Among the most exciting changes is the ability to use different weapons. Certain servans have the ability to transform into a spear or shield, giving players something new to work with. Some of these work better than others, with the main advantage being a change of pace. If there is a downside to the system, it’s that Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon gets a lot of replayability by forcing players to use certain things.
For instance, several servans have the ability to interact with items on the map, granting access to new areas. If this is confusing, think of Pokemon’s HM system. These will unlock additional servans, shortcuts, equipment and more, meaning they’re important to have, at least the first time you explore.
While Aluche can only bring two servans with her at a time, down from the four at a time with different loadout system the original had, this time she has a companion. Every companion has their own special skills, like one can heal players, another sometimes instantly kills things, with various other perks. These can be useful, like deploying a shield or doing an AoE attack to change up gameplay. Whatever direction you take; a big part is going to be swapping between them.
Since quests, along with relationship progress, hinges off doing specific things with each companion, players are punished for picking one they like and sticking with her. This wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t for the various time restrictions.
Much like the first game, Aluche can only be active for a small period of time. Leveling, perks and other things can increase it, but usually players will have to rush if they want to see and do everything. Since the amount of quests and activities exceeds the amount of time you have, often times players will have to sacrifice side quests for main quest progress to prevent failing. This can get annoying, but at least you have enough time to finish the vast majority if you plan ahead.
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon is a fantastic game that could simply be better. While the story is dark, grim, happy, sad and at times overly romantic, it has a certain charm that can’t be found in other games. This deep and complex story runs against the gameplay, one that has been simplified from the original, to be closer to Dynasty Warriors with less enemies. This isn’t bad, at least if you don’t mind simple combat, just something to remember. Outside of that, the feminine style, lovely visuals and fantastic score make Nights of Azure 2: Bride of The New Moon a strong choice for anyone into something like Atelier or simpler action RPGs.
[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.]