by Marjolein Verheij
previewed on PC
A fishing break
More and more games see the light of day because of Kickstarter. It’s a great way for developers to fund an idea and turn it into a game that might attract the attention of a publisher. Enter Battle Chasers: Nightwar. It got 100% funded within 72 hours of launching the campaign! Based on a comic series from the 90’ by Joe Madureira by the same name, the game is just 2 months away from release. We sat down at the THQ Nordic booth to take a look, with Joe himself doing the talking.
Battle Chasers is being developed by Airship Syndicate, which was founded by four industry vets formerly of Vigil Games – the studio that made Darksiders. It’s a fun dungeon crawler with turn-based combat. You pick 3 heroes to play with from the 6 that are available. There’s Gully, a tiny 12-year-old girl with giant gauntlets that her missing father left behind. They give her incredible power and so Gully is the tank of the heroes. Mage Knolan, swordsman Garrison, giant robot Calibretto, rogue Red Monika and devil hunter Alumon are the others on the team. Of course each brings their own unique skills into combat.
You set out to explore The Lost Continent which consists of an overworld filled with hidden dungeons and NPC to interact with. If you’re in need of a break between battles, you can even do some fishing on the overworld.
Bursting into combat
The turn-based combat in Battle Chasers is reminiscent of Final Fantasy and uses an initiative bar at the left side of the screen that shows the order in which everyone attacks. But beware, the timeline shuffles around based on what the enemies are doing and what abilities the heroes have selected. So waiting to use that one perfect attack might not be such a good idea, as the battle could be over before it’s your hero’s turn. When it’s your turn to attack you can pick between actions, abilities or burst. New abilities are unlocked every 2 levels and eventually you can unlock more abilities than there are slots available to equip them.
Each hero has 3 battle bursts which can be used as long as there’s power available in the burst meter on the left. It charges throughout combat whether you are dealing damage or receiving it and it carries through from battle to battle. It’s also accessible to all heroes. There are 3 levels to it, for the 3 levels of burst you can use. Saving it and keeping it full for a boss battle is always a good idea. Using a burst triggers a gorgeous, 2D animation again not unlike those seen in earlier Final Fantasy games.
All attacks either consumer mana (blue) or generate it (red). The red mana, called overcharge is generated when you do instant attacks. It’s basically free mana that is given for that fight alone and is meant to make you try out abilities.
All dungeons are randomly generated so Battle Chasers’ replayablity is high. Each dungeon can also be played in two difficulty levels. Playing in Heroic mode will give you better loot, but also tougher enemies. There are eight large dungeons in total, each needing about 1 to 2 hours to complete. Then there are around 10-12 micro dungeons that often have special bosses, and an arena in which you can hone your skills.
If you just want to explore the dungeons for loot but avoid the battles, you can use Gully or Monika to travel through them. Gully can stun enemies, so a battle doesn’t start, and Monika has a stealth mode to sneak past anyone. Both the overworld and its dungeons are littered with weapons, armour, trinkets, and more. Some are dropped in combat, others found in chests. Vendors also offer some rare and powerful wares for sale. Many items and parts can be used for crafting. If you don’t have all the parts the chance of a successful craft is lower but you can offset this by adding extras of the parts that you do have. Adding extra parts can also increase the quality of the item. If a craft was unsuccessful, all parts you used are gone. Catching fish will give you fish parts that can be used in crafting and are needed for some quests.
Comic not required
Even though Battle Chasers: Nightwar is based on a comic series, you don’t have to be familiar with the comics to enjoy the game. You can find notes and other items on the map that colour in the story, but if you’re not interested, you don’t need to read them. Collecting them may yield rewards though. Battle Chasers will take about 30 hours if you speed through the game and 45 hours to see everything. I for one can’t wait to give it a go.