PAX East 2017: Battle into the Night

Battle Chasers: Nightwar has been long awaited by both fans of the dormant graphic novel series and RPG fans alike. In development by the team at Airship Syndicate under the leadership of longtime comics creator and Darksiders lead Joe Madureira, the game was initially funded by Kickstarter on the strength of the Battle Chasers universe’s longtime fans. With a lengthy demo (the entire first dungeon) available at PAX East, the team has a polished and thoughtfully created experience to share this weekend.

 

Joe Mad’s trademark art style is present throughout from logo and splash screen to the design, animation and transitions throughout the demo. I’m not very familiar with the source material but the distinctive character designs, names and fantasy/tech hybrid universe should be appealing to steampunk fans and RPG systems geeks alike.

Combat moves are divided up between standard attacks, mana attacks, special burst attacks and the ability to use items. Each action is beautifully animated with the same beautiful art style and smooth animation that has the sense of momentum and transition that Supergiant Games such as Bastion have integrated. There are little touches such as birds landing on Calibretto upon victory that give the world a lived-in feel, which extends to navigating the overview map and dungeon levels outside of battle as well.

What really stands out is the burst system, a 3-tiered meter that accumulates when dealing damage and eventually unlocks devastating focused or area damage attacks. It shares a structure with Street Fighter V’s EX bar, providing players with different special options with varying levels of meter commitments based on situation.

The music and sound effects by Power Up Audio have lilting, melodic tones which blend bright instrumental tones with heavy, base filled bursts. The sounds are reminiscent of modern fantasy movies and give the gameplay an epic feel that adds a lot to the presentation.

I had to tear myself away after 30 minutes (longer than I intended to stay) to give the next player a chance to experience Nightwar. In an exhibit hall filled with hundreds of games and an overwhelming amount to see and experience, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an RPG worth experiencing before its much anticipated release.

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