A grand but bumpy RPG adventure.
Battle Chasers comes from the creative mind and artist Joe Madureira. What started as a comic book back in the 1990’s has literally jumped from the pages and come to life in video game form. Joe is no stranger to colorful yet dark video games, having created the Darksiders franchise. Moving from action adventure to RPG could give pause to players, as the two genres couldn’t be any more different. Worry not though, aside from a few issues, Battle Chasers: Night was is one of the biggest surprise hits for me this year.
Exploration is a go
A big concern for some folks knowing the history of Battle Chasers could be the thought that it requires being a fan of the source material to enjoy or get the most out of it. Having had no prior knowledge to the series itself, I can safely say that isn’t a worry. The game quickly pulls players in with an animated comic intro and the main characters are introduced. After crashing on an island, the party splits up, the game begins, and it really just takes no time in giving control to the party. Slowly but surely the intricacies of the gameplay and exploration start to rear their head. At first, exploring the world map seems like a huge aspect of the title, with little exploration otherwise. Things begin ramping up soon enough though, as secret areas are found, main story dungeons are started, and the small town area discovered early on starts to open up with more options than at the beginning. It appears there was more to the game than the opening hour, and I wasn’t disappointed as my time went on.
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
How long to beat: 20+ hours
The world map is filled with enemies and loot to be discovered, but the dungeons and other unique environments to explore change the perspective to a more up close and detailed look. Think Diablo in view point. Isometric style, but without any true real time action aside from a few healing or battle buffs that can be kicked off. Enemies can be avoided, boxes plundered, and doors and secrets discovered. It’s especially nice that the dungeons each have a selectable difficulty at the start that enables better rewards for harder challenges, and from what I gather even have a randomized map layouts that change.
When engaging with an enemy battles are classic RPG turn based in style, with an action meter showcasing the lines up of enemy and character actions. There is a typical mana pool used for special attacks, but included with that is overcharge that can be stacked during attacks, which can be used instead of mana. The only caveat is once the match ends it disappears, so it’s best to take advantage of it. A burst meter is also eventually unlocked, which leads way to even bigger attacks, buffs, or even healing all accompanied with cinematic sweeping camera angles, which make them look great. They can’t be skipped but they are so quick I never minded seeing them every time. Between these core moves, the abilities or buffs that stack, and other moves that utilize critical hits with other affects, what starts as a very simple and almost basic system grows over time as the difficulty sets in, and it becomes more than just bashing on the quickest and hardest attack.
Riding high with speed bumps
I couldn’t be happier with how Battle Chasers turned out. It’s got great visuals, a fantastic and enthralling soundtrack, and some great, although limited in use, voice acting. Combat remains engaging throughout, and exploration combined with crafting, using the two skill trees to characters, and looting everything in sight, everything just seems to work together well. Nothing feels like it was a complete afterthought; even the finish mini-game, simple as it might be, has an addictiveness to it. From replaying dungeons for better gear, doing side quests, or even taking part in a coliseum earning points to spend. The story isn’t anything mind blowing, and more than often relies on typical fantasy tropes, but the game always remains engaging during its 20+ hours length.
The one aspect that breaks my heart with the entire experience is my unfortunate run in with multiple issues or glitches, even after the day one patch. From a cut scene playing with no video, weird loading issues that are sporadic when entering combat, stuttering in rare moments, game crashes from time to time and even having a side quest just completely stop functioning.
Thankfully, the game is adamant about auto-saving constantly, so it helps circumvent some of the frustration. Even with all these issues, I still persisted in playing because beneath the technical problems that hopefully get ironed out over time, this is a gem of a turn based RPG and I recommend, even with its faults, fans of the genre need to give some attention to Battle Chasers. It might come from a small development team, it might be rough around the edges, but it’s could be one of 2017 most unexpected RPG hits that more people should be aware of.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.