Thank you Koei Tecmo for sending us this game to review!
Several hundred years ago the demon lord was sealed away by a saint. That seal is losing its power and there’s an outbreak of fiends roaming the streets. The fiends are former humans who came into contact with blue demon blood. Arnice is a halfblooded knight that is sworn to protect the saint, Lilysse. Both of these characters are female and their relationship is very close. While an intimate relationship is suggested, nothing is shown in that regard.
What is shown is a lot skin. Some of Arnice’s outfits are very revealing. In order to level up, Arnice must make a blood offering with the blue blood she’s collected in battle. Her ritual attire is very tattered and doesn’t leave much left to the imagination. Demon blood is a currency used for leveling up, purchasing, and summoning demons. In order to get the help from a servan, you must collect their artifact/fetish and actualize it (for a cost) into existence.
Arnice and her servans have the ability to equip relics that can grant abilities/immunities, or enhance stats. At first Arnice can only equip one, but like many things you can increase that limitation by spending her skill points. You can also increase the amount of quests Arnice can take on as well as the default amount of time given to explore the streets at night. Anrice can fight by herself or with the assistance of her servans.
You can have up to four servans summoned simultaneously. Each servan is added to a deck and you have a maximum of four decks at your disposal. There are different types of servans ranging from attacking to support ones that can heal your party. The servans have elemental strengths and weaknesses so keep that in mind during battle.
Since the battles are in real time, Nights of Azure can be described as an action RPG. Arnice can slash away at foes with her sword, daggers, war hammer, or ranged weapon. She can also direct her servans to use their special attacks on the enemies.
In general, I found the battles to be quite easy and wasn’t challenged until the fifth chapter’s boss. Like all of the bosses, I was able to take out the sixth chapter’s boss on the first try. The final boss in the seventh chapter required me to level up to level nine before taking it out. Unlike many RPGs I’ve played, there’s a level cap of ten in this title.
Besides the storyline quests and missions, Arnice can take on side quests to increase her stats and unlock various abilities and bonuses. The quest types include searching, investigating, or slaying a set number of demons. The rewards for the quest range from items to money, or blood. If quests aren’t your thing, you can spend some time at the arena to complete various battle challenges.
The story isn’t very unique and the yuri (female + female) relationship sets it apart in that regard. I liked the characters and their silly dialogue. I wish the voice acting was localized, but the Japanese dialogue is well done regardless. The background music is exceptional and I’d be happy to buy the soundtrack if it was available outside of a game bundle that costs $100 or more.
Graphically, the visuals are good with lots of eye candy during the attack sequences. The enemy types are recycled a bit with altered colors and different elemental attacks. The bosses are intimidating and have deadly attacks that shouldn’t be underestimated. As long as you have a healing type servan in your party, you should be fine.
As I mentioned earlier, too much is skin is shown for my tastes. Other issues worth noting are the blood and violence. Whenever the fiends are attacked, blue blood will splatter on the ground. Since Arnice is half demon, she has a blood lust and longs for Lilysse’s. Magic, demon summoning, and blood offerings are required for progressing in this game. Last but not least is the language which consists of the words sh*t, d*mn, *ss.
While Nights of Azure isn’t a deep or challenging action RPG game, it still is fun. The game can be completed in roughly fifteen hours, but if you want to see all of the possible endings you’ll have to play through it a few times. Unfortunately, there’s no way to change the difficulty to provide a great challenge.