If there’s one factor Nintendo Swap already has in abundance, it’s JRPGs. There are classics from yesteryear, Triple-A odysseys from a few of the greatest builders within the phrase and a wholesome smattering of independently-made choices. As Swap homeowners, we’re spoiled for alternative, so for those who’re bringing a Japanese-style role-playing sport to the platform in 2019 you actually need to have one thing fairly particular to assist it breach the floor of that turn-based ocean.
Sadly, Azure Saga: Pathfinder Deluxe Version actually doesn’t deliver something new to a crowded style, however that doesn’t imply that it is a unhealthy sport or one value avoiding resulting from an absence of high quality. In reality, it’s fairly a serviceable little title with loads of issues to love; it’s simply the form of sport you’ll play, get pleasure from that just about immediately neglect the second you turn off your console. For some genres which may not be a problem, however JRPGs have usually lived and died on their skill to stick with you lengthy after the journey ends.
So whereas it’s unlikely to depart an enduring impression, Indonesian studio MassHive Media’s turn-based sci-fi romp nonetheless has baggage of charisma amid its mobile-centric presentation. It is a studio that clearly adores Chrono Set off, Ultimate Fantasy and Secret of Mana, and it reveals in all the pieces from its fulfilling (if fittingly tacky) story to the little tweaks to its tactical fight. You play as Synch, a younger scientist who’s travelling the universe in the hunt for the legendary planet of Azure. Seems humanity is on its final legs, and this fabled world guarantees a recent, resource-rich olive department of survival.
Whereas there’s no voiceover, the story itself has loads of supply with an honest solid of characters bobbing out and in of your traditional JRPG occasion tropes – together with armoured-up knight Kishar, bow-wielding rogue Sellaire and… nicely, you get the concept. You’ll journey to new planets, recruit recent members to your squad and strategically filter out monsters in your solution to monitoring down Azure. And whereas its cutscenes have an actual amateurish high quality to them, the hand-drawn fashions and illustrations used when exploring its isometric overworld are bursting with character and nearly appear a part of a distinct sport totally.
That isometric presentation has its execs and its cons. By dividing every space right into a grid-like island, each location acquires a lovely diorama aesthetic, but it surely additionally means your sense of exploration all the time feels very shallow. Among the sport’s strongest designs are available in these truncated places; it’s only a disgrace they’re a little bit too small to solid a full impact. All of it provides to that semi-budget really feel that permeates most of Azure Saga’s presentation. Even its soundtrack and audio really feel a little bit on a budget facet.
Fortunately, the one space that Azure Saga shines probably the most is in its battle system. Contemplating you will spend an excellent portion of your time on this mode, it is good to see that MassHive Media has taken observe of the important thing elements that make turn-based battles so fulfilling and replicated a lot of them right here with confidence. Relatively than commanding every member to assault individually, the sport lets you assign your goal and transfer (starting from common assaults to distinctive expertise that harm enemies or buff/heal your occasion members) till all three characters are able to assault concurrently (in a vogue not too dissimilar to Chrono Set off or Valkyrie Profile). Having them strike collectively is not for present, it additionally informs particular group manoeuvres.
These United Abilities differ relying on the characters you utilize and the selection of expertise you choose, so there is a enjoyable problem to mixing and matching totally different squad setups to unlock new variants. These particular strikes are excellent for taking down bigger foes rapidly and limiting the quantity of harm they’re going to inflict. It’s also possible to scan enemies at any time throughout fight by urgent ‘L’. It will unveil some key stats about your foe, then reveal their well being bar the subsequent time you struggle that species. Individually, you may as well unleash extra highly effective Fury assaults, which work very similar to Restrict Breaks from Ultimate Fantasy VII. Very similar to all the pieces else in Azure Saga, these assaults are over-familiar, however there are some useful tweaks, together with how these Fury assaults do not override your regular assault so you continue to have a better sense of alternative in battle.
However for all these useful tweaks – together with the actual fact XP is shared throughout your total occasion, together with those that weren’t taken into fight situations – Azure Saga by no means innovates sufficient to beat its personal flaws. Its isometric overworlds are too usually crammed with surroundings that blocks your view, or comprise small environmental objects reminiscent of grass or flowers that function obstacles that should be actively circumvented. The battle music is powerful, with an exquisite Japanese high quality to it, however the remainder of the soundtrack is unremarkable at finest. It is a sport that desperately wants one thing distinctive about it to assist offset the inconsistencies in its presentation and content material.
We do not see many video games popping out of the Indonesian growth scene on Nintendo Swap, so it is a disgrace Azure Saga: Pathfinder Deluxe Version would not deliver something new to a style that is packed to the rafters with acquainted mechanics and solely the occasional glimmer of innovation. It is an fulfilling little JRPG with a serviceable battle system and sufficient style tropes (together with exploration, the occasional puzzle and the odd fishing mini-game) to not less than fulfill veteran style followers, but it surely’s an journey in dire want of an ‘X issue’ to assist it stand aside on the eShop.