Tag Archives: Nights of Azure

Seven Arbitrarily Chosen Things You’re Missing Out On If You’ve Been Operating Under the Mistaken Belief that JRPGs are “Dead”

It seems that every time we get a new Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy or Persona release, we have the same old “we’re having a JRPG renaissance!” discussion.

Well, dear reader, with my coverage of Death End Re;Quest on the horizon at the time of writing and plenty more RPGs in our shared futures, I’m here to remind you that RPGs have been alive and well ever since what people think of as their “golden age” — the SNES and PS1 eras. This will not be a shock to some of you reading this, of course, but I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who have passed up some wonderful experiences for one reason or another.

So with that in mind, I thought I’d do a list of seven arbitrarily chosen things that you might have missed out on if you’ve been operating under the grossly mistaken assumption that the role-playing game genre has somehow been “dead” despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Here we go!

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The One-Liner Challenge

Time for a Community tag post! This one looked like a particularly fun one, and after the lovely Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime specifically requested me to do one about games, who was I to refuse?

The original tag came from The Awkward Book Blogger and was based around, as you might expect, books — but it has since expanded to encompass anime and now, thanks to my contribution, games as well.

So let’s jump right in. After the jump. Jumpy jumpy jump.

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Waifu Wednesday: Lilysse

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.

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The MoeGamer Awards: Most Eclectic Soundtrack

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

Music is a massively important part of the modern gaming experience. As technology has improved, particularly in the storage department, we’ve seen a notable shift away from game systems synthesising music in real time using built-in sound chips — a process that often produced a distinctive and instantly recognisable sound unique to each platform — and towards more traditionally recorded music.

While this does diminish each modern platform’s individuality in terms of the distinctive timbres of their games’ soundtracks, it does leave composers free to let their imaginations run wild and express themselves — and for us as listeners to focus on the compositions themselves rather than admire how the musicians got around technical limitations. Today’s award celebrates a delightfully eclectic and enjoyable soundtrack that blends a variety of styles together into one coherent whole; the kind of soundtrack that simply wouldn’t have been possible back in the eras of chiptunes or synthesised MIDI music.

And the winner is…

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Nights of Azure: Sights and Sounds

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.

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Nights of Azure: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

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.

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Nights of Azure: Hack, Slash… and Command

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.

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