E3 2017: Battle Chasers: Nightwar Preview – JRPG Sleeper Hit of the Year

Battle Chasers: Nightwar preps for its final release…

Way back at E3 2016 I had the privilege of sitting down with comic book artist/writer and legend Joe Madureira for a first look at Airship Syndicate’s, Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Funded on Kickstarter to the tune of over $850K, Battle Chasers is on the home stretch as it nears its October 3rd release on Steam, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. A lot of work has been done in the year since I first sat down with Joe and I was extremely excited to sit with him once again at E3 2017 to take a look at the near-final version of the game.

Featuring fully voiced characters pulled from Joe Madureira’s cult favorite Battle Chasers comic book the upcoming turn-based RPG stands on its own from its written counterpart. Joe was quick to point out that fans both well versed in the comics and those brand new to the universe would have no problems jumping into the game. Superbly animated, drenched with style and promising hardcore, strategic turn-based action it should keep any RPG fan fully invested in its world. I’ll readily admit that I’m somewhat of a superfan of Joe and his work so my enthusiasm might be a bit higher than the average fan but I’ll also say unequivocally that Battle Chasers: Nightwar has enough meat to stand on its own against its peers in the turn-based RPG genre. As I said last year, if you’re a fan of old school games like Chrono Trigger or newer entries into the genre such as I Am Setsuna, then you should be proper excited for what Airship Syndicate has in store.

This time around as I sat down with Joe and one of the devs, I got a look at the overworld for the first time. Stylish in its own way it is completely unique when compared to the east-meets-west artistry of Battle Chasers’ characters and dungeons. Featuring things like hidden dungeons, random friends, and rare bosses it obviously serves to get you to where you really want to be which is ass deep in combat. While I got to see dungeon interiors and battles last year the improvements I saw this year have me even more excited to get my hands on the final release.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar Overworld

Inside the many dangerous dungeons of Battle Chasers: Nightwar you’ll be able to switch between characters on the fly and use their unique abilities to navigate their many dangers. Randomly generated, no dungeon is ever quite the same either, which will certainly help to keep the game fresh after many hours of playtime. One of the most ingenious mechanics I’ve seen in a while was what Joe called the ‘Mystery Cube’. You’ll find the cube somewhere inside dungeons at random and have the option to place an item inside. Said cube then disappears, reappearing somewhere else holding a much-improved item in comparison to what was originally left. It’s a fun risk-reward system that will likely both frustrate and delight players depending on the outcome.

Another unique mechanic was showcased in Battle Chasers’ crafting system once again focusing on the idea of risk versus reward. When crafting anything from armor to weaponry you have the ability to use more than the required amount of material in hopes of receiving vastly upgraded rare versions of the initial items. Crafting a simple Vented Cannon we used 250% of the required material and luckily received a coveted purple rare Vented Cannon in its place. We could have just as easily not seen that upgrade, however, wasting precious resources in the process.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar Combat

Getting a better look at the combat this time around, which looked excruciatingly hardcore last time I saw it, the dev showed me some of the battle systems players would be able to employ as they advanced through the game. Various buffs and effects can be used to combo up attacks on the fly, such as one move causing your foes to bleed and your next character’s attack staggering or doing extra damage to bleeding enemies. Utilizing a stop time system you are able to strategize each move patiently as there’s definitely a lot of information to take in at any given moment. Moves that overcharge your mana (which disappears at the end of each battle) encourages players to use stronger attacks and strategies rather than trying to save up for boss battles. A three-tiered Burst Metre which fills up during combat is also present, shared amongst the entire team, allowing for devastating attacks and crucial protections when you need them most.

Old school JRPG flavors mix with modern conveniences for what looks to be one of the year’s finest gaming experiences and it surprises me to see that Battle Chasers: Nightwar is flying under so many people’s radar. Consider this your notice to stand up and pay attention as Joe and company have certainly crafted something special over the past couple years. Be sure to keep it locked to COGconnected come October for a final review of the game.