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.
Can I ask you what happened to Arnice and Lilysse from the first game? I got bummed out when the game was announced and I found out Arnice came back but Lilysse was nowhere to be found in the previews. And I thought I read from the wikis that she was kidnapped but escaped or something.
If I said I was attached to Arnice x Lilysse, would you still think this game was worth getting if the first game’s happy ending is kind of infringed upon?
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Honestly the second game mentions only some of the story line from the first game, they speak of the demon that fell in love with another woman.
Arnice is actually in the second game, but Lilysse presumably past away…
You can even play with Arnice in the second came as a Lily… which is quite upsetting for me as well because I was a huge Arnice x Lilysse fan…
So all of this considering, I can not recommend you to play it =(.
Thanks for the input. Even if the second game messes with the pairing, I like that the first game lets you choose your own ending. That helps with trying to disavow what you say happens in the second.
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Wanted to toss in my two cents as someone who absolutely loved the first one and despised the second one so much I refunded it.
I really liked the first one because Arnice and Lilly had a solid relationship that really felt like it grew as the story went along. Both characters really devloped the further you went into it. It felt like a relationship between two real people who found themselves in a shitty, seemingly hopeless situation, but managed to find happiness together whatever happened. The side chracters were also really interesting and gave the world more depth and believeability.
On top of that, the combat in the first game felt better. Swapping between weapons was seamless and the different servent combinations really gave the game a unique feeling.The soundtrack for the game was also phenomenal. Really brought me back to my Castlevania: SOTN days.
As for the second one, I instantly hated the chracter design and knew from the get-go this was going to be nothing like the first one. I;m not going to pretend the first game didn;t have fan service, (because it certainly did) and it was my least favorite aspect. I’ve been craving a serious, action oriented yuri story for a long time and the first Nights of Azure was almost perfect int hat regard.
The second completely took away everything I liked about the first one. Flat chracters, no development, outragous amounts of fan service, a dumbed down combat system, and removal of male side chracters all contributed to me despising the second one. I knew EXACTLY what type of game I was in for when I made it to the hotel int eh second one and found they replaced the challenge arena with a damn pool. It’s a shame too, because this could have been my favorite yuri series ever. But they threw it all away to try to appeal to a more mainstream audience.
Thanks for reading my wall of text.
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I understand your feelings entirely. I feel the exact, exact same way.
I was a huge huge fan of the first game. I loved everything about it in every way. The story was so well done and the relationship between Arnice and Lilysse was just completely romantic, in-depth, and meaningful. So seeing how shallow the second game is… it is so, so disappointing.
”’On top of that, the combat in the first game felt better. Swapping between weapons was seamless and the different servent combinations really gave the game a unique feeling.The soundtrack for the game was also phenomenal.”’
– I could not agree more. I was ecstatic about the gameplay from the first one, it was so very fun and entertaining and an actual challenge to master and being able to discover new servants and abilities and just all of it was so enjoyable! I mean how can they take the servans away! Or the ultimate demon form?! It was so cool. I just do not understand what they were thinking.
I tried not to make my post such a downer but I really was so truly disappointed in this game… I really hope they realize what they did and if they make a third one to go back to the first game features that we all truly fell in love with.
Nights of Azure was the first and so far only real Yuri action game that was truly amazing in all aspects… we need more games like that!
Sadly this was another game that i ended up droping mid playthrought.
I loved the character designs and their interactions (Aluche and Leliana were freaking adorable together >.<) but the thing that made me quit was the time limit. I ended having to restart a whole chapter cuz i took too mani nights just wandering arround the maps looking for treasures just to discover i needed a specific servant that i didnt bring along with me.
I've read plenty of good things about the first one, including your review too, so its on my to play when i have the time but untill then i'll stay with the bittersweet taste this game left me with.
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Also you cant have a character named Nero on a JRPG and never have her say UMU….. you just cant, its a rule written somewhere.
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That’s understandable. The time limit was so frustrating, it was like a punishment just because you want to explore… not good game design in my opinion… and I knowwwww why with the specific Servans!!!! Whyyyy…
Aluche and Lilysse forever…. I kinda just want to replay the first one. lol