Friday, April 8, 2016

Shallowness everywhere

It is obvious that Nights of Azure was designed with the Vita in mind and not just because it looks like a better than average PS3 game on the PS4. Gameplay runs on a daily cycle with the night being used for adventuring, exploring, and in general killing bad things and the day is filled with automated tasks and running around the hotel, talking to your servans (think familiars) and enduring absurdly earnest cut scenes.

The night portion is limited to fifteen real time minutes, at the end of which you are automatically sent back to the hotel regardless of what you are doing or where you are. This burst gameplay is perfect for when you have a few minutes to throw down on a lunch break but it is a little off putting when you want to marathon a few hours in a row. It's not a deal breaker but there is no story reason given for this limitation.

Daytime tasks are used to either earn money, blood (for leveling) or skill points in one of four disciplines. These skill points are then traded in for skills, some of which are quite useful like the ability to equip more items or do more damage with your sword and others just unlock different daytime tasks. This is separate from actually leveling up the main character which is down by taking an elevator to a dream world and making a blood offering while wearing the skimpiest 'pajamas' in the world. I did not make any of that sentence up.

This is also separate from how servans level. Thankfully they operate in a more traditional kill things, gain levels, manner.

The complexity doesn't bother me. The lack of payoff in the combat does. Servans are assigned to 'decks' with four slots and you can unlock more decks to take into battle. Summoning servans costs magic points but once they are out they stay out until they die so there is no reason to not run around with all four out all the time. The servans themselves have a special ability that pulls from their own magic point reserve and switching decks removes all active servans. Translation - have a healing servan in all of your decks.

All of this sounds interesting, yes? It would be if the combat was not so easy. There is some strategy with what servans are used together and what attacks the main character actually performs but none of it is required, at least not yet. Right now I am finding the most stylish way to tear through tissue paper.

I have a feeling that it will improve as more areas are unlocked but reports are that the game is not very long so it does not have much time to ramp up how involved I need to be in the combat. And I promise not to complain about how the characters look any more after today, but damn. What the hell is this?

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