I haven’t had much experience with Gust games in the past but the ones that I have played I’ve enjoyed immensely and Nights of Azure definitely looks like a title that would interest me. Being a new IP from Gust also added to the excitement but how does it fair to that of previous Gust titles.
Prior to Nights of Azure, I’ve only played one other Gust game and that was one of the Atelier entries. While there’s a visual similarity to the Atelier series, it’s very clear that this new IP is distinctly different. Being Gust’s first outing on the PlayStation 4 it was great to see that unique art style on more powerful hardware and the gameplay doesn’t disappoint either. It’s clear that I’m quickly becoming a big fan in Gust and kudos to Koei Tecmo for continually bringing their titles westward.
Set in the uncharted imaginary island kingdom of Ruswal, Nights of Azure is a story of endless nights tormented by azure-blooded demons. Once night falls in this isolated kingdom the streets become deserted and barren. Only a very few people with the strength or skill to take on the monsters that roam after the sun has set exist. Enter our protagonist, Arnice, a knight of great power and skill, and her friend, the priestess Lilysse. The two are tasked with ridding the land of the demons that have plagued the kingdom, but Arnice soon finds out that the solution might not be as simple as defeating enemies in battle. It’s certainly a darker and more thoughtful plot in terms of characters and their motivations with this new IP from Gust.
Night of Azure is an Action-RPG that’ll see you hacking and slashing your way through areas under a 15-minute time limit. Don’t fret as you usually have more than enough time to complete the area and there’re checkpoints along the way that allow you to return to the hotel and save. You play as Arnice through these large areas along with four Servans. These are creatures similar to summons or familiars in other games and you can summon up to four of them at one time. Each Servan comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses with some being great damage dealers, defenders or healers. You can command your Servans to attack by using the shoulder buttons and a corresponding face button. Your normal means of attack will be with Arnice using square as your basic weak attack and triangle as a heavy attack, hitting cross with allow you to perform a special move. You can also temporarily transform into a new form to become stronger. When you combine each of these methods of attack effectively you’ll quickly take care of your enemies.
While the difficulty doesn’t spike too much in the game you’ll come across some lengthy battles, and not paying attention to your equipment and Servans is a surefire way to run into trouble. Outside of battles you’ll spend your time at the hotel where you can talk to other people as well as your Servans. Doing so can activate side-quests for you to undertake that range from defeating specific monsters to finding an item. You can also try your hand at the arena where you can take part in specific missions and net yourself some good deal of experience.
If you haven’t played a Gust game before then you’re in for a treat visually and with this being their first title on PlayStation 4 it’s a great way to experience it. The art style absolutely sings off the scene, the graphics themselves might not be to the highest standard but it’s still a wonderful game to look at. The character designs are fantastic, as are the enemies, and the world that Gust has put together is a real treat for the eyes.
The game only features a Japanese audio track, not a surprise for many I’m sure, and given that this is a brand new IP it’s understandable. The Japanese voice-over does a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life, regardless. As with other Gust titles, the soundtrack is one aspect of the game that really stands out. I’d be happy to own this OST it’s that good, this seems to be a common thread with Gust titles.