Battle Chasers: Nightwar doesn’t really need an introduction. It was part of the indie boom early this generation that turned out to be a really well made game with excellent productions values, and best of all, the developers actually had an idea on how to design their game instead of blindly taking inspiration from the classics.
On the surface, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is basically a turn-based RPG that was designed as a JRPG. It carries the same addictive battle system that offers a lot of depth once you dig deeper into it. The characters are likable and the story provides a good foundation for the game to stand on. The visuals are also extremely gorgeous and the presentation is often sublime.
In case you haven’t heard about it before, this is actually based on the Battle Chasers comics by Joe Madureira. If you have read them, be prepared to go through a nostalgic trip since the developers have successfully managed to capture the art drawn by Joe, making it visually appealing even on the Nintendo Switch.
The intro does a good job of establishing each character and their motive making it easier for those who have never read the series to get an idea about their motives and some of the backstory. It is not exactly a complex story to understand. The game opens with a gorgeously drawn animated intro and then the story continue through text explaining the characters and their powers. This is an unlikely group of heroes who end up getting crash landed on an unknown location during a mission. They lose one of their team member Knolan, and set their course to locate him.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar has a rather interesting world map. It is mostly an overworld where you have limited form of movement. The main points of interest are represented by blocks on the map where you can stand and interact with them. This way, you can get to new dungeons, visit new locations or examine an object. Enemies are visible on the world map but sometime there is just no way to avoid them since they will be in your way. They are represented as an icon on the world map and once you touch them, the battle will commence.
The highlight of the game is easily the battle system. You have a group of 6 heroes that can partake in battle. Each has a unique personality and combat advantage. They will all offer different skills that can provide a good offense or defense. Attacks can also result in status effects on either the heroes or the enemies. Your abilities are tied to a mana meter where each of the ability will consume a set amount of the mana meter. Experience points are gained at the end of each battle and if you level up, it is possible to recover full health and mana.
The dungeons are randomly generated so you will get different loot depending on the difficulty that you pick up before entering them. This doesn’t apply to the common points of interest on the world map which can hide secrets. It is possible to find treasures or other collectibles in dungeons which can help you with crafting new type of items. You will get a lot of loot after battles and by searching around in each dungeon which can come handy once you unlock crafting.
I haven’t played the original game so this was my first introduction to it. My initial impressions were that the frame rate felt a little too low at times giving everyone a feeling of moving slowly. It will take some time to get used to this but aside from that, the performance mostly seems to remain solid. Battles are a lot faster paced though and I didn’t notice the performance issues as much there. The most troublesome areas are usually those with isometric camera angle and focus on exploration.
The other major issue with the Switch port is the load time. The game will take its sweet time in loading whenever you enter a new location or start a battle. These loading screens can get annoying if you face them too frequently and in certain cases, they started to happen more frequently if I started fresh. I honestly have no idea how to reduce them since the issue plagued both the docked and portable mode. If the developers can reduce it in a patch that would definitely make it a much better experience.
As a JRPG with focus on turn-based combat, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is the perfect portable game. It is designed in a way that even if you play it for a short amount of time, you won’t have much difficulty getting back into it. The save system lets you keep your progress at any point during the story. The portable mode works flawlessly but I don’t think the game runs at native resolution on Switch. It looks far more crisp when played on the big screen and the visuals don’t really pop out as much in the portable mode.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar has managed to retain its charm on the Nintendo Switch, albeit with some flaws. The load times can be a bit too long and the frame rate in dungeons or the world map feels sluggish, but the experience is still great because the game is a turn-based RPG and doesn’t rely quick inputs like an action game.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a turn-based RPG developed by Airship Syndicate and published by THQ Nordic. It was released in October 2017 for Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and will be released in May 2018 for Nintendo Switch.
One of the best indie RPGs from the current generation is finally playable on the Nintendo Switch, and while it doesn't offer the perfect experience, the allure of portability should be enough to make you consider giving it another chance.