Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is the sequel of Nights of Azure. You can read the review I wrote on the original here.
If you haven’t played the first one, then I highly recommend starting there for two reasons. The main reason is that the first one is a piece of art, through gameplay, battle system, graphics, and especially the story. It will forever stay as one of my favorite games of all time. Sadly, it by far exceeds the sequel in every aspect. The second reason is that there are some characters and references from the first game that will make your experience in the second game more enjoyable, however the truth is you won’t miss out on any of the story if you don’t. I will try not to make this review solely a comparison with the first game, so I’ll only say one more time that I highly recommend the first game because it is so much better… play it!
Nights of Azure 2 is an action JRPG / hack n’ slash. The story of the sequel is almost exactly the same as the first one but with different characters. The Night Lord threatens the world, his darkness covers the planet that bears dangerous monsters called fiends. If the Night Lord prevails, demons will rule and humans will no longer exist. Therefore the Curia, a religious organization that protects humanity sends our protagonist, Aluche, a Holy Knight (and also a half-demon) on a mission to protect and escort the Time Priestess, Liliana, who will be used as a sacrifice to the Moon Queen in order to seal away her power and the darkness along with it. Aluche and another character Ruenheid, a Warrior of Light, decide to protect Liliana from this horrible ‘destiny’ and make it their mission to kill the Moon Queen instead.
The story mainly follows these three characters: Aluche, Liliana, and Ruenheid who have been long childhood friends. The three seem to be in some sort of love triangle, they all care for each other and there are a lot of yuri-rific hints and flirtatious moments going on between them. In my eyes the game became a harem, where Aluche is the object of affection among the many female characters who are introduced in the game. This leads me to explain a new game mechanic of the series- ‘Lilies’.
Aluche can bring along any companion (basically whoever is your favorite waifu :P) during her missions. The more you raise the Lily stat and affection, the more powerful their combination skills become (known as Lily skills). Throughout the story there are around eight other female characters you can bring with you. You can increase their stats by taking them on main missions and completing Lily missions – which always includes some cute and sappy cut-scene. Admittedly, this new game mechanic is pretty cool, the different skill combinations between each pairing is interesting to see.
Like the first game, Aluche must defeat fiends in order to gain Blue Blood and level up. However, Blue Blood now gives ability points that you can use on a skill tree. Unlike the first game, Aluche carries only one sword. In order to use other weapons you have to discover friendly fiends (Servans). They transform into other weapons such as a shield, sword, lance, etc. You can only bring two Servans with you during your missions, I find this a real shame because the developers also introduced obstacles in the game. This means in order to thoroughly clear the dungeons you have to use specific Servans with particular abilities in order to burn or freeze obstacles or be able to jump to a high place. I found this concept to be super annoying, because if you are like me, you want to open every treasure chest and search every corner of the dungeon. That means I can only take along two obstacle Servans (I recommend the fire cat demon and the butterfly that lets you jump to high places) and I only really used the weapon transforming Servans for boss fights. Because of this, gameplay can get highly repetitive. The fighting mechanics of the first game is a lot different, very enjoyable with a lot of variation, so I was very disappointed with this new system. Not to mention, that there are only 15 Servans in this game compared to the 80+ in the first one.
To make matters worse, there is a time limit on each mission. And not only is each mission timed, but you have to complete a certain amount of total missions within a time limit as well or you have to completely start over the entire chapter! You have to be very conscious with your time, especially in the beginning. Later on can you then use ability points to increase the time limitations. There are 7 chapters in Nights of Azure 2. It is a pretty short game and took me less than 15 hours to complete (the first game is so very much longer!). Each chapter has 4-5 mission stages, alongside that there are of course the lily-missions and other side story missions. Once you have cleared the game, you can replay the whole game without any time constraints.
The dungeons are pretty cool to explore, but I feel that they really half-assed the big boss fights at the end of each chapter. In the first game a lot of strategy was needed to defeat the bosses, but now you can just simply hack n’ slash. In an attempt to make up for it, they made the dungeons a lot more complex than in the first one. You will have to use some logic in order to figure out how to get through certain areas. But again, just something about it still fell short, namely the obstacles.
That being said, the characters are all really well done. They are funny, interesting and each have their own personal story in the game. The script was really well written and the voice acting turned out really good as well. It was all just really entertaining. This is what made me keep playing the game. I lived for all of the cut-scenes, there are really so many.
But beware, they have really, really, amped up the fan service in the sequel. There are so many flirtatious cut-scenes between Aluche and the rest of the female cast, especially by the pool where they are all basically naked in the most skimpy bathing suits I have ever seen. Oh, and I forgot to mention, demons in the sequel are suddenly vampiric, so you’ll see A LOT of neck biting between the characters for whatever reason. It’s ridiculous… but great.
Lily game mechanic
Lots of interesting characters
Lots of silly and ridiculous cut-scenes
Servans are still a nice feature
Lots of yuri and fan service
They over simplified the battle system, making it repetitive and boring
Extremely short game
Boss fights are too simple
Time limits are too constraining in the beginning
Play the first one! And then the second 😛 In general it is still a solid game full of yuri, and I am sure that is what you all are looking for the most 😉 If they make a third one I will 100% play it.