Game Review: Battle Chasers Nightwar

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an indie RPG by a dev team from Texas called Airship Syndicate.  It’s their first game, and after a successful kickstarter, it was picked up by THQ Nordic.  Which surprised me, honestly, because I thought THQ went under, but it turns out Nordic Games picked up huge chunks of THQ, including the name, and rebranded themselves.

Not going to lie, I was pretty excited for this game.  They collaborated with Powerhouse Animation, which made the Castlevania Netflix show, and they’re just an absolute dynamite animation studio.  In addition to that Battles Chasers itself is a pretty successful comic series published by Image Comics.  Played a build at Gamescom in Cologne back in August and it only heightened my hype.

Well, the game came out last Tuesday and I’ve been able to get through a sizable chunk of it, probably about half, and I feel like I’m in a place where I can write a review.  Let’s start with the good stuff.

The character designs are incredible.  I love all of the team members.  In line with this, the animation is also really, really good.  Every once in a while, the game presents you with a scene told through a motion comic and, while these are the kinds of things I often skip in order to get back to pushing buttons as quickly as possible, I find myself sitting through them purely to enjoy the quality of the animation.  You have six party members: Gully, Garrison, Calibretto, Knolan, Red Monika and Alumon.  Each of them is assigned to a RPG style role, but they have pretty interesting skills.

The gameplay itself is strong for a turn-based RPG like this.  The skill designs for each character are varied and useful.  Gully, for instance, is a tank with a ton of interesting skills.  Of course she has your typical taunts and stuns, but she has a number of skills that add shields to your party members.  The skill I found myself using as her bread and butter is ‘Barrier Fist’, a strong attack that puts a shield on a low health ally equal to a percentage of the damage you deal.  This typical role with a creative twist philosophy extends to the other characters as well.  Alumon is a healer whose shtick is based on health siphoning and a general vampiric theme.