Gust is known worldwide for its legendary franchises like Atelier. However, in recent years, the Japanese studio has tried new licenses in different genres, including Nights of Azure. Despite an imperfect start, the action-RPG had found its audience, especially in Japan. It was enough to convince Gust to embark on a second adventure which unfortunately suffers from numerous shortcomings despite new, well-thought-out ideas.

A fragmented history

Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon takes place several years after the events of the original game and highlights a new heroine: Aluche. As an agent of the Curia, the girl with the red mane is responsible for escorting “The Bride of Time”, a priestess destined to be sacrificed to The Queen of the Moon in order to prevent the night from becoming eternal and therefore that the monsters do not become legion. Unfortunately, the chosen one is none other than Liliana, one of her childhood friends. The Templar will obviously not be comfortable with the idea of ​​sending her friend to death and will try as best she can to find a non-lethal alternative for sweet Liliana.

Players of the first opus will be far from disoriented as the story is so similar. However, Arnice’s adventures were much better constructed and easier to follow. The script for Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is sorely lacking in depth and struggles to make the connection between the two episodes. Which ending was canonical? Who is the Queen of the Moon and when did she appear? The main story of this second part leaves us in total limbo, despite meager explanations in the encyclopedia in the game menu.

A scenario that sorely lacks depth

Where the original part attempted to establish its dark universe and develop its lore, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is satisfied with the bare minimum by only focusing on the confrontation with the Queen of the Moon without making the effort to surprise the player or offer any twists. The title would have benefited from trying to develop the elements around this quest, in particular the Curia and its ambitions or even the Lourdes Order which made its appearance. The scenario is therefore as basic as possible, lacking in substance but still easy to follow as long as you become attached to the main characters. If it took us a little moreabout twenty hours to complete the second opus, side quests included, the main story seemed a bit too short to us, particularly because of the problems with the narration. It is good to remember that Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon has English subtitles only. Although the scenario is simple, it may require a minimum of knowledge of Shakespeare’s language to fully understand it.

Women, I love you

As we quickly understand by looking at the main artworks, the main theme of Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is yuri, that is to say intimate relationships between girls. Where the first part only focused on a single relationship, during her adventures Aluche will be accompanied by 7 other women. The original game was criticized for its two male secondary characters who were heavy-handed and entirely unnecessary. Gust decided to remedy this by absolutely eradicating any presence of testosterone and with an exclusively female cast. Radical, but we won’t regret it any more since it’s in keeping with the theme of the game.

Our heroine will therefore be able to develop relationships with classmates, which will appear through a gauge, and learn more about them through short cutscenes, some of which are nice but would have benefited from being more in-depth, like the main story. this being these additional scenarios will have the merit of inflating the content of the title and making it a bit more interesting, but the side scenes are quite uneven depending on the characters. Expect silly and slightly awkward dialogue, as well as clichéd and adorable moments. For more consistency, it would have been more interesting to take a direction close to Persona and to leave the player with the choice of establishing a romance with the girl of their choice rather than seeing 6 women flirting with a protagonist who seems insensitive and which gives rise to silly situations.

The relationship gauge is filled by completing various side quests but also by performing combos and special attacks during combat. By improving Aluche’s relationship with one of her comrades, she will unlock new attacks and innate abilities such as increasing the experience gained.

Improved, but restricted gameplay

Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon once again straddles the line between action-RPG and hack-and-slash. The player alternates different combos mixing the triangle and square keys, with a few more variations available which energize fights sometimes very monotonous and which lack most of the action time. It must be said that Bride of the New Moon suffers from the same flaw as its predecessor: a poorly calibrated difficulty. The game is too easy and only the final confrontation can present a semblance of challenge. Another black point compared to the first opus, Nights of Azure 2 does not offer no memorable fight : not one main or side boss will make an impression. The clashes clearly lack richness despite some changes made to the gameplay.

The game suffers from major camera and framerate issues

The title takes and rearranges the system of Servans, these demonic and sometimes cute creatures, who come to fight alongside our protagonist and who each have their own attacks and specificities. Where the first opus offered a strategic dimension by letting us compose several decks of 4 monsters, Bride of the New Moon offers less headroom with only 2 Servans. Which is a shame since they have new features both in combat and in exploration. During the clashes, pets will be able to transform into weapons and expand the arsenal of the Templar who will be able to arm themselves with a heavy sword, a shield or even a spear. On the other hand, they will allow you to unlock certain corners by destroying obstacles and freeing otherwise inaccessible passages. Since now creatures are no longer earned by fighting various demons but directly in environments, we will tend to favor Servans useful for exploration to the detriment of new weapons, which quickly becomes annoying. This time the pets will have experience points dedicated to them and which are earned by completing side quests. They are to be distributed at the hotel between the different creatures, to increase their statistics. Once the maximum level is reached, it is possible to “reincarnate” them to exceed the limit and make them gain power. The Servans were one of the strengths of the first opus and it is clear that the changes made to them are very minimal, and the system regresses at certain points. Also, it’s hard not to be frustrated by the removal of the functionality that allowed Arnice to transform into a more demonic version and which was a real plus.

A third fighter, called Lily, joins Aluche on his journeys. It is neither more nor less than one of his comrades that one can choose freely. All of them have their own characteristics and special techniques that trigger automatically in certain situations. For example Liliana will revive Aluche and freeze time when her friend’s HP is critical. In their company, our protagonist can fill two gauges. The first fills with conditions specific to the characters such as hitting an enemy at the same time and allows you to use the Double Chase, a powerful area attack. As for the second, it unlocks a special and formidable attack called Lily Burst, which annihilates one or more enemies depending on the partner with whom it is performed. This new feature is undoubtedly the strong point of Nights of Azure 2, but it does not make up for the shortcomings of the combat system, which is far too soft for us to enjoy it over time. To make matters worse, the game is technically not up to par. Bride of the New Moon suffers big camera issues and too many framerate drops both during exploration and during combat.

I asked the moon…

The principle of Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon remains the same as its predecessor. Aluche and his comrades will spend most of their time at the Hotel Eterna which will serve as a hub. The player will be able to change and improve his equipment, buy objects, switch members of his team and attend some side scenes with the other girls. Also you will have to wait until you are in the hub to be able to level up Arnice thanks to the blue blood collected (the equivalent of experience) and allow her to gain abilities (reduction in the resurrection time of Servans, increase in HP , attack, MP etc…).

The player will, however, spend a major part of the game outside in closed areas that suffer from very lazy level design. As in the first opus Aluche will be limited by time, and will be able to destroy enemies with shovels for 10 to 20 minutes. If this time should be stressful and cause a feeling of urgency, this is not the case. Indeed the title offers much more time than necessary, especially since environments are empty, dull and redundant. Furthermore, the end of time does not mean stopping the game, only a return to the hotel, even if you are fighting a boss. this being the player is also limited in days. After each outing, the moon darkens, and once completely dark, the night will be eternal and it’s game over. It then becomes necessary to organize side quests and excursions outside, and prepare well to limit your trips outside the hotel as much as possible. However, it is possible to reverse the phases of the moon by defeating a powerful enemy, that is to say by eliminating the boss of the chapter. If we only focus on the main story, Bride of the New Moon gives us much more time than necessary, if we want to learn more about our traveling companions and maximize our relationship with them, a second part will be necessary, knowing that a New Game + is proposed. However, you will have to be invested in the game to want to recommend it so much. the gameplay is distressingly repetitive. However, Gust tried to improve some of the flaws of the first opus, particularly in terms of side quests. Unlike the original title, it is possible to complete multiple quests at once. They are more diverse, more numerous and present a real interest since they unlock character-specific scenarios, but they are not enough to fill the overall gaps in the title.

Most :
  • Slightly more dynamic combat
  • A bigger, more interesting cast
  • More controlled side quests
The lessers :
  • An underdeveloped story
  • Technique too weak
  • Only subtitled in English
  • Very repetitive
  • Too much fan service
  • Lazy level design
THE REVIEW OF THE TEST OF Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon 12

If the Nights of Azure franchise could have been promising, Gust failed to transform the attempt with this second opus. Despite some overall improvements, Bride of the New Moon suffers from too many technical and narrative shortcomings to surpass its predecessor. Only its cast, albeit clichéd and super-___ualized, raises the bar with adorable moments. In itself, Nights of Azure 2 is not such a bad game, fans of the genre will certainly find what they are looking for as long as they are fluent in English.

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