As we’ve discussed over the course of the last few articles, Gust’s Nights of Azure has a very strong sense of its own identity, both as an individual work and as part of its developer’s catalogue.
Every aspect of the game as a whole contributes to this coherent identity: its distinctly operatic, tragic Gothic narrative; its blend of action RPG gameplay with monster-raising and character customisation; its small cast of distinctive, memorable characters.
Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic, however, is its overall aesthetic. While, at times, drawing inspiration from other, similar works, there’s no denying that Nights of Azure takes ownership of its own identity to create a highly distinctive work that stands out even amid the rest of Gust’s back catalogue.
Continue reading Nights of Azure: Sights and Sounds
Nights of Azure is one of Gust’s most mechanically interesting games — particularly in how much it differs from the company’s usual output — but it also has a fascinating, ambitious narrative.
Combining a deeply personal tale with a more conventional JRPG-style “save the world” narrative, the overall atmosphere of the game is very distinctive and quite unlike your average JRPG, if such a thing exists. It blends drama, romance, action, horror and mystery together to create something altogether unique that is very much worth experiencing.
And it pulls the whole thing off with such wonderful style, such a beautifully clear sense of its own identity, that you can’t help but be compelled by the tale it tells.
Continue reading Nights of Azure: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
Gust, as we’ve established, is a company that doesn’t like to do things completely conventionally. As such, it’s entirely fitting that a Gust action RPG isn’t quite what you’d normally expect from the genre.
Nights of Azure is a fascinating game from a mechanical perspective in numerous different ways. Drawing influences from a variety of sources including From Software’s popular Souls series, Falcom’s Ys franchise, monster-raising games such as Pokémon and even elements of tabletop role-playing, the whole experience is one you can easily lose yourself in.
The result is a game that is initially surprising and baffling in roughly equal measure, but taking the time to get to know what makes the game tick really pays off in the end: it’s one of the most interesting takes on the action RPG for a long time.
Continue reading Nights of Azure: Hack, Slash… and Command
2015’s Nights of Azure — or Yoru no Nai Kuni to its Japanese audience — was something of a departure for veteran developer Gust.
Primarily known for unconventional turn-based role-playing games with heavy crafting components, a style of game best exemplified by the developer’s flagship Atelier series, Gust opted to step out of their comfort zone with Nights of Azure by making it an action RPG with elements of monster raising.
It turned out to be a highly successful experiment for the developer, and what appears to be the beginning of a new series for the company, since a sequel is on the way at the time of writing. Yet despite Nights of Azure’s relative freshness compared to Gust’s other output, the game never forgets its heritage, and is recognisably “Gust” in both style and tone.
Continue reading Nights of Azure: Introduction and History