Gust makes a decent attempt with its first foray into action RPGs, even if the game as a whole is fairly simple and easy. Playing as Arnice, an agent of Curia, you hunt down fiends with your demon sword and tamed fiends called Servan that are under your control.
Despite being a PS4 only release in the West, Nights of Azure feels like much of the game was designed around the Vita’s limitations. As you set out into the night, you’re given a time limit starting at 15 minutes, though this can be extended once you progress far enough. This limit very rarely becomes an issue however, as dotted around the map are doors which take you back to the hotel and also allow you to return back to the same point. You’ll likely have collected enough blood or money to warrant some quick upgrades before you set out again as well. The areas you explore are all interconnected and you could, if you wanted to, go from one end to another though there isn’t much reason to do so. Each area is fairly small and doesn’t take long to get through, even if you clear out all the enemies.
Arnice and her demon sword evolve as you level her up using the blue blood collected from fallen fiends and side quests. Reaching certain levels unlocks new forms for the demon sword including a set of daggers and a gun. Each weapon has their strengths and weaknesses, with the default sword being something of an all rounder with an especially good reach. Arnice has a weak, strong and special attack though weirdly the special attack is tied to the X button and I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve accidently pressed it. This wouldn’t be a problem if special attacks didn’t use up your SP which is required to summon your Servan.
Servan are your real weapons in battle and being able to effectively use them will make a real difference in your battles, especially against Azure’s bosses. Despite them being AI controlled, you do have a small selection of commands for them. You can choose whether to have them attack independently or target the same enemy as yourself. You can also have them restore their HP by absorbing any blue blood you can see on the ground or have them follow you without automatically attacking which is useful if you’re just rushing through to complete a quick quest. Finally, they have their unique burst attacks which could be a simple rush attack or healing/support ability.
Each Servan has their own abilities, as well as their weaknesses and strengths. Servan are obtained by finding their fetish which is used to summon them at the cost of some of your blue blood. When you summon a Servan for the first time, you’re given a quick run down of what their actions are in battle and what their burst function is. It’s really handy to have this information as you form your parties of Servan to take with you into battle. At the start of the game, you can only bring four Servan with you but as you progress you’ll unlock more decks allowing you to switch up how you want to play.
Nights of Azure’s systems feel much more natural as you near the end of the game where you’re tested against larger group of enemies as well as different types of attacks. Starting off, it all feels a bit plain and you wonder if this is all there is to it as you breeze through the early chapters. Stick with it however and you’ll find quite an interesting battle system, one that now I’ve seen it’s quirks and strengths, feels at home in a Gust title.