Battle Chasers: Nightwar Nintendo Switch Review

Battle Chasers: Nightwar has rocketed up my list of favorite modern RPGs, and it's proven to be the perfect on-the-go adventure on Nintendo Switch. Since the game has been available since late 2017, I'll offer a brief review here which will cover the game's appeal generally, and its performance on Nintendo Switch specifically.

The characters you'll meet in Battle Chasers are not original -- they were born through a series of highly successful comics from the 90s that share the same name -- but for most of you, this will be your first time meeting them. Our protagonist Gully is a young girl whose father was a hero of legend. When he disappeared, he left behind a powerful pair of gloves which grant the wearer fantastic power. Gully has inherited her father's gloves and become a hero in her own right, and she journeys in search of her father while dark forces seek the power of those gauntlets for themselves.

It's a simple setup, but sometimes simpler is better. Battle Chasers offers players a nostalgic return to a more traditional role-playing escape, while offering interesting twists to core mechanics.

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Combat is Battle Chasers is turn-based bliss. Each character's standard attack typically applies some kind of debuff to the targeted enemy. Standard attacks also build up "overcharge," which supplements your MP. After a single round of standard attacks, your range of offensive possibilities opens up immensely due to the various, stacked debuffs applied to certain enemies, and an excess of overcharge which encourages you to use your more powerful abilities freely. Abilities do have cast times, however, so you'll always have to pay attention to the turn order and plan your attack strings very carefully.

As you take damage and dish it out, a burst meter will gradually fill. Once it reaches a certain threshold, you'll be able to trigger burst attacks, which are unique to each character. You can think of these like limit breaks. Every member of your party will have multiple burst abilities to choose from depending on the available meter. Some abilities may provide party-wide heals or buffs, or else deal massive amounts of concentrated or dispersed damage and debuffs to your foes. The burst ability animations are always really impressive, and I never noticed frame rate issues on the Switch during combat.

The same can not be said for the exploration segments. I don't know how well Battle Chasers performs on other consoles, but on Nintendo Switch, certain exploration and dungeon segments will cause the game to drag quite a bit. While traversing the world map always seemed smooth (with a gorgeous, hand-drawn world map), characters sometimes seem like they're trying to wade through molasses in the more intricately-detailed dungeons.

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Loading times are also frequent, and sometimes quite long. Entering dungeons and exploration areas will prompt lengthy loading screens, and sometimes, even initiating a simple skirmish will bring up a loading bar that can last several seconds. Thankfully, once you're in a dungeon, loading screens are rare. Do prepare to do some sitting and waiting, though.

The occasional performance hiccups and frequent loading screens are the only two blemishes on what I consider to be an otherwise stellar package. Thankfully, both of those issues could potentially be resolved in future updates.

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In every other aspect of its presentation and execution, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a triumph. The marriage of hand-drawn, hand-animated effects and 3D assets is gorgeous, and masterfully-paced progression keeps combat fun and interesting. Minor performance hiccups may cause frustration during prolonged play periods, but I can't imagine playing Battle Chasers on any platform other than the Nintendo Switch. In the two weeks that I've had the game, I've accrued dozens of hours of playtime, and I'm still hungry for more. If you've been looking for a great Western RPG to play on the go, this is a no-brainer.

WWG's Score: 4 / 5