It’s been quite a while since my last game review, or even completing a game for that matter. So, I decided to check into my backlog and randomly selected a game, and it turned out to be an absolute hidden gem.
I bought this game a year ago because it was dirt cheap and I bought it along with other games like .hack//GU Last Record, Yakuza Remastered Version, Deemo Last Recital, and Death Stranding. Honestly, I bought it on a whim without watching the trailer and knowing that the game is in Japanese, so my かな reading skills are put to the test.
よるのないくに, known as Nights of Azure, is an action role-playing game developed by Gust (ガスト) and published by Koei Tecmo. The last games I played from this company were Mana Khemia and the Ar Tonelico series, so I’m familiar with the challenging grind factor that is present in their titles.
The よるのないくに story revolves around two heroines, Arnice (アーナス or Arnas) and Lilysse (リュリーティス, Lyuritis), who unexpectedly cross paths in the city of Ruswal on a peculiar and ominous night. This city is gradually succumbing to the Eternal Night, a phenomenon that summons azure-blooded monsters and transforms inanimate objects into creatures, such as Mimics that prey on citizens at night.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that their fateful meeting was no mere chance encounter. Arnice, the half-human, half-demon holy knight, is on a quest to locate the Saint candidate, while Lilysse, a saint with a duty of permanently sealing the remains of the Nightlord, holds the key to their intertwined destinies. As their journey continues, their relationship transcends duty, blossoming their friendship, and it goes beyond that — It reminds me of Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Throughout the game, you’ll encounter fascinating supporting characters who help unravel the story and shed light on Arnice’s stubborn dedication to safeguard Lilysse until the game’s ending.
Basic combat that uses “assistant” battle system.
The game employs a third-person RPG battle system in which Arnice engages in combat alongside her contracted demons known as “Servans.”
Let’s talk about her combat first — Arnice has five (5) distinct types of weapons: Dual Dagger, Sword, Bow (Shooter), Hammer, and Blood Sword. Each of these weapons offers three attack modes: light, heavy, and special attack. Notably, the Shooter, instead of offensive capabilities, provides healing abilities to restore Arnice and her allies.
Arnice’s companions, known as ‘Servans,’ require her SP (it should be ‘Blood Points’ because she absorbs enemy blood) when summoned into battle. These Servans come in two categories: Attack and Support types, each with its unique special attack. As they get stronger, they gain abilities that can significantly impact the success of her timed runs.
I would suggest getting the “revive Arnice” ability as it helped me in Arena challenges and 1HP attacks from boss fights.
The ‘Servans’ system adds a layer to the gameplay. You can assemble a party of up to four (4) demons, and there’s a maximum of four (4) parties to choose from. In addition to exploring each Servan abilities, having a diverse party and different party leaders determines Arnice’s final form: Demon (Red), Rabbit (Yellow), Phantom (Blue), Armor (Violet), and Nightmare (White) form.
Level Up system, ‘daytime’ tasks, and other activities
While this game incorporates traditional RPG elements, it introduces an additional mechanic to enhance Arnice’s skills. Players can earn skill points by planning its daytime activities before embarking on sidequests or progressing through the main story.
Equipment in this game is straightforward. Arnice can equip four (4) types of accessories, and there are 104 unique items, each with its skills and effects. These items not only streamline battles but also contribute to raising combos and making trophy hunting more efficient.
Accessories can be obtained through three different methods: directly from Lloyd, via his Trade Merchant service, or by grinding dungeons and using a “rare item spawn” Servan. Once you’ve unlocked the Trade Merchant, it’s advisable to choose the location before embarking on any quests. Keep in mind that the ‘travel’ time (or day) only counts each time you complete a timed run or spend 5-10 minutes in it.