Nights Of Azure 2
Nights Of Azure 2 is one of my Most Anticipated Sequels of 2017 and was developed by GUST -- who also made Blue Reflection and the Atelier Franchise. GUST games are adored by most for there stunning artwork, beautiful stories, Cinematic Cutscenes and astounding music (Blue Reflection is no exception). The first Nights of Azure was released in 2016, with this sequel being released a year later. The first game is available on Steam and PS4, with Nights Of Azure 2 being on PS4, Switch and Steam.
The story follows on from the first game in some ways, but as Nights of Azure 2 is set centuries after the last game there are lots of differences. However, Fiends are still very much an issue if not more so in Nights Of Azure 2, and the main protagonist of the first game, Arnice, is a villain in Nights Of Azure 2. It was never intended for her to be as such, but the demon blood inside her managed to corrupt and turn her. Nights Of Azure 2's story is all about trying to save our new protagonist Aluche’s childhood friend Liliana (the Time Bride) from the Moon Queen. The Queen wants her Time Bride so as to rule the world, and so makes a blue moon in order to unleash the demon blood and make the fiends more powerful and far worse than they currently are. This would bring an end to the human race from either death or transformation into demons themselves. Our protagonist Aluche is half demon, which occurs at the start of the game, and is due to an injury she acquired from the Moon Queen. The Doctor Camillia attempts to heal and repair Aluche as best she can.
The game is time-based and is very strict in the how time is divided up. You may do things in the hotel such as level up your character or your Servans (more on those later), visit the pool, or the dressing room to change outfits, buy and strengthen equipment. Also, you can change equipment and party members in the hotel, as well as watch event cutscenes along with the normal save procedure. The other part of the game is spent doing missions in the world (which is split up into separate and distinct areas), but you may only leave the hotel once per day before needing to sleep. While in the world you are timed, but you can increase the time limit by investing ability points into it. Ability points are gained from levelling up. Once you have completed your missions in that one area you are forced back to the hotel. This means you are only able to visit one area per day to before needing to sleep. Nights Of Azure 2 also features a moon phase system, which means when you go to sleep the moon phases to its next stage, and if you use up all the moon phases you receive a game over and will have to start again. It does in ways limit the ability to grind the game and do all that you wish to, but there are ways to increase your moon phases by beating large bosses -- these bosses make the moon whole again. Once the game has been completed you unlock a New Game + mode, which allows you to play the game without a time limit or moon phase system -- giving you unlimited days to complete all the things you missed out on earlier in the game.
Nights Of Azure 2 introduces us to Lilies which weren't in the previous game, but they work as a sort of sidekick. Each Lily has individual moves, one you can trigger with a combination of buttons which usually buffs or protects Aluche, or an area of effect damage attach -- to the area directly in front of you. Lilies also have the ability to do a move called a double chase, and each Lilies double chase is different and requires you to do a multitude of double attacks -- everything is clearly explained in the tutorial. Then you have your Lily burst which similarly done to the double chase, but with a burst you and your Lily team up to do a very powerful move which is particularly effective against bosses. Lilies can also have equipment attached to them to give them added benefits, they can level up, and also have there own individual quests. Doing these quests increases their affinity with Aluche, which will give added benefits -- also if you get to the max affinity with 2 particular Lilies, this will allow you to see the alternative ending to Nights Of Azure 2.
Servans are small creatures used to help you in battle and to get past obstacles. They featured in the first game as a group of 4, where as in Nights Of Azure 2 you can only have 2 Servans at any time but they are always spawned -- whereas in the first game you had to spawn them yourself. Servans can level up through Servan ability points and are able to evolve and finally ultimate evolve throughout the game. Each Servan has different abilities, with some Servans being able to be transformed into weapons or shields, while others can fly and jump you to high up areas. Then certain Servans are elemental and can discharge, freeze, or burn barriers to allow you to access otherwise inaccessible areas or treasure chests. There are even sometimes other Servans in these areas. You acquire Servans rather easy, but it's also presented extremely beautifully, with each Servan being enclosed in a flower which shines bright pink. This reminds me very much in the animated Tinkerbell cartoon, with the fairies emerging from flowers. Servans are all introduced with a cutscene explaining who or what they are, and what they are able to do. The then join your party with each being used for certain scenarios -- each Servan you get also grants you a trophy as well.
Quests are split into different sections with the Main story quests, Lily quests to increase your affinity and time with each Lily, and then your sub-quests which are usually to defeat random amounts of monsters. But they can also be timed quests, like to find all portals or all chests in an area things. Throughout Nights Of Azure 2, you are given ample time to complete a multitude of these however you wish. Each sub-quest or Lily quest will tell you where you need to go, this will save valuable time and days -- to save more time it's advisable to group up as many as possible. You can even avoid doing them all together if you just want to carry on with the main story. Completing sub-quests grants experience, Libra (which is the currency used in-game), or Servan points. Completing the Lily quests gives you more affinity with each Lily -- if you're trying to max affinity for the alternative ending you need to take Camilla and Liliana on as many missions as possible and use up as much time as you can, as well as finish all their affinity quests.
Each Character portrayed in Nights Of Azure 2 has an extensive backstory and from playing through the Lily quests, and watching the cutscenes, you can see most of their past. When you max a Lilies affinity you get a Lily after story. But who is in Nights Of Azure 2?
Our protagonist is half demon and the childhood friend of the Time Bride. Aluche is sworn to protect and deliver the Time Bride in order to save the world, this is until she finds out who the Time Bride is and vows to protect her and find another way to end things without losing her childhood friend.
Liliana is the Time Bride and can control time. She is in essence pure innocence and is to be sacrificed to the Moon Queen in order to save the world. Liliana is Aluches childhood friend and has much the same relationship as in the first game between Arnice and Lilysee.
Another childhood friend of Aluche who was trained from a young age, but joins an order that doesn't want the Time Bride to be sacrificed. This order wishes to find another to do it.
The Doctor who saves Aluche and turned her into what she is. Camillia helps and teaches Aluche throughout Nights Of Azure 2 and is forever trying to find ways to save Aluche and the others affected.
When I first started Nights Of Azure 2 I couldn't fully get into it, but after taking the time and progressing with it I quickly began to love the game and found it gripping. I was wanting to find out what would happen next, and wanting to finish the story. In fact, I ended up ignoring other games in order to get more of Nights Of Azure 2 done. I love the way the story progresses and how the cutscenes are done, however, the way the game is played does take a little bit of time to get used to. Luckily once you adapt to it, and are used to it, you understand it and find you get through the game very well. There are rumours of a 3rd game in the works, and if these are true I can't wait, but I am happy with how the 2 current games' stories ended. The alternate endings which depend on how you play the game are also great, and it is definitely worth making 2 saves before hitting chapter 7 -- just so you are able to try for the alternative ending there. But you can aim for it in New Game + if you would like too. I would love to discuss the alternative endings here but that would spoil too much for people who have yet to play the game. I urge any fan of anime games you to play Nights Of Azure 2.
If you want to discuss the endings, you can always join the ETNL Discord.