It may not have escaped your notice that I haven’t done any Blue Reflection-themed Waifu Wednesdays this month.
This is entirely deliberate; since the game as a whole is based around the interactions between the female characters, I’ll be talking about most if not all of the major characters when we come to explore its narrative, themes and characterisation in their entirety. So please look forward to that!
In the meantime, however, Gust definitely produces wonderful waifus, so let’s look back at a MoeGamer classic and main heroine of a Cover Game from last year.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Lilysse
This month’s Cover Game is a Gust title I’ve been intrigued about ever since it was first announced: Blue Reflection.
Featuring a combination of Mel Kishida’s wonderfully soft-edged artwork translated beautifully into 3D polygonal graphics, a highly stylised soundtrack by Hayato Asano and an intriguing story about empathy and emotion, I always knew this was going to be an experience that was right up my alley.
So let’s begin our exploration with an overview of what the game is all about, and a look back at the “magical girl” genre that inspired it.
Continue reading Blue Reflection: Introduction, and a Brief History of Magical Girls
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