A little while back, I put up a post featuring the unboxing of the Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon Limited Edition. Whilst I liked the various items included in the Limited Edition, what about my thoughts on the game itself?
Well, that’s exactly what I intend to share in this post. Before I begin, I should mention that I’ll be talking about the Nintendo Switch version of the game. I also went into Nights of Azure 2 without any knowledge of the first game. Whilst there are elements that connect the two, I would say that playing the first isn’t really required.Let’s begin with the plot of the game, which focuses on an agent of an organisation known as the Curia, Aluche. Aluche is given orders to protect a priestess by the name of Liliana – Liliana also happens to be a very close friend to Aluche.
Aluche and Liliana travel to the Curia, fighting evil creatures known as “Fiends”. Once they arrive, they discover that Liliana is to be sacrificed as the “Bride of Time”, one who is fated to be offered up to the Moon Queen.
Aluche despairs at this turn of events, but carries out her duty of escorting Liliana to the Moon Queen regardless. They never make it, as Aluche ends up getting killed in battle.
Aluche ends up being brought back from the dead as a half-demon. However, Liliana has disappeared, so the search for her starts in the nearby ruined city of Eurulm. Aluche decides to go there to try and save Liliana, all whilst struggling with the unwanted dark power inhabiting her body as a half-demon.
That pretty much covers the beginning of the game, so now I guess I’ll start sharing my thoughts on various features. I think I’ll start with the gameplay.
Put simply, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon‘s gameplay doesn’t exactly stand out. It basically boils down to getting from point A to point B, stopping occasionally to defeat Fiends or solve a puzzle.
The combat is pretty simple, and you can pretty easily get through most encounters by hitting the same button over and over. There are combos if you fancy varying things up a bit, but there isn’t really the need for any strategy.
The game also puts a couple of constraints upon you. First, the amount of time you can go out on a hunt is limited. The game justifies this by stating that Aluche is not used to her half-demon body, so she shouldn’t stray too far from Hotel Eterna – the base of operations – for too long.
This wouldn’t be too bad, except if you return to the hotel with time to spare, you are unable to go back out on the same day. It doesn’t make a difference if you have 10 seconds or 10 minutes left – once you’ve set out on a hunt, that’s you committed to that day.
This is where another time limit comes into play – as you progress through each day, the moon wanes. Should there be a new moon, that is an instant game over. With the hunt time limit, and the waning moon, I suppose the game wants you to think strategically about how you use your time. Sometimes it is just annoying, though.
Fortunately, you can increase the amount of time Aluche can go out on a hunt by levelling up, and defeating bosses tends to increase the moon timer.
As of the 1.0.1 update, you don’t have to worry about the moon time limit in your second playthrough onwards – it will still go down, but you won’t get a game over should you let it go all the way.
Levelling Aluche up is done in the Maintenance Room in Hotel Eterna. After it becomes available, Aluche dons a special outfit whenever she visits it.
As Aluche slays fiends, she acquires Blood. That Blood can be used to level Aluche up. She will also gain Ability Points by levelling up, as well as through completing quests. These are used to unlock more skills for Aluche, such as increasing her attack or adding status effects to her normal attacks.
Going back to the aforementioned combat, it’s not just Aluche’s sword you can rely on to defeat fiends. She is joined by Lilies and Servan. Lilies are “beautiful new Heroines”, whilst Servan are creatures that can either transform into different weapons or use special attacks.
You will always directly control Aluche in battle, though you do have the option to press a button combination to have a Lily use her special skill. A few Servan can also use their abilities to clear obstacles, often leading to hidden treasure.
As for the ones that can transform into weapons, they only last whilst they have MP. It steadily drains whilst they are transformed, and most of the time it feels like Aluche’s Blood Sword is perfectly capable of handling any threat. I kind of feel like they missed an opportunity by giving the Servans elemental properties and not having elemental weakness be a major thing.
In fact, only about four Servans have any real use, and that’s generally for getting optional items. There is one who is able to chew through enemy HP ridiculously fast – including bosses – as well, but you don’t get her until towards the end of the game.
So in terms of gameplay, all I can really say is that Nights of Azure 2 is certainly a video game. There isn’t anything that particularly stands out about it. Nevertheless, I actually enjoyed this game a lot, and a big reason for that is the characters themselves.
Since the characters are my favourite part of this game, this is where I’ll introduce and share my thoughts on each of them.
I’ll be focusing on Aluche and all of the Lilies here. There are a few other characters, but Aluche and the Lilies are the most important ones.
First, though, how about a character relationship chart? I’ve been seeing these fairly often lately, and Nights of Azure 2 has one as well.
I’ll start with the main protagonist of the game, Aluche Anatoria. An agent of the Curia who is a straightforward girl, the type who prefers to act rather than think.
She has a very strong bond with her childhood friends, Liliana and Ruenheid. After learning that Liliana is chosen to be the Bride of Time, Aluche promises to protect her. Before she can fulfil that promise, though, she dies in battle.
Aluche is revived as an artificial half-demon by Dr. Camilla, though she has no idea where Liliana or Ruenheid have gone, or what happened to them.
I like Aluche quite a lot. Her design appeals to me – I don’t know, I think I have a thing for bare midriffs. Her hair turning red after being revived as a half demon also gets bonus points from me too, and I’ll always be a sucker for girls with heterochromia. That long scarf she wears as part of her default outfit also ticks yet another box for me. She may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but she has something that draws others to her.
Her relationship with Liliana and Ruenheid is another thing I am a big fan of. Whilst I think Liliana is probably the best choice for Aluche if she had to pick a single lover, I do feel that an Aluche x Liliana x Ruenheid OT3 is viable.
Next is the thoughtful and kind Liliana Selphin. A girl with gentle personality and a strong heart. Before being chosen as the Bride of Time, she was a priestess of the Curia.
Liliana has the ability to slow down time, a power which she used in the past to help Aluche as she fought fiends. Said power never surfaces during gameplay – she pretty much relies on holy light when fighting alongside Aluche.
Aluche and Liliana promised to visit Eurulm after they complete their mission, but after Aluche is killed, Liliana disappears.
Unlike Ruenheid, Liliana is far more open about her feelings for Aluche. They never explicitly say that they are lovers, but they certainly reference their true feelings and that kind of stuff enough times. There’s also a quest called ‘Confirmation of Love’, so that helps to cast aside any doubts about Aluche and Liliana’s relationship – not that there should be any doubts to begin with.
As much as I love the intimate relationship between Aluche and Liliana, Liliana isn’t my favourite Lily. I’ll get to her soon enough, but first, let’s focus on Aluche’s other childhood friend.
Having been friends with Aluche since they were children, Ruenheid Ariarhod tries to keep Aluche’s recklessness in check.
She’s determined to become the “Warrior of Light” that will save the world, and has been ever since she was young. Ruenheid tends to be quite strict.
Ruenheid wields the “Spirit Blade Odr”, a sword that can concentrate her thoughts into power. She was appointed as a Holy Knight at a young age.
After learning that Liliana would be sacrificed as the Bride of Time, she joins the Lourdes Order – a group that stands opposed to the Curia.
The reason I feel that Liliana would be a better match for Aluche where an OT3 is not viable is because Ruenheid tends to be on the tsundere side. I suppose it does get better as Aluche and Ruenheid get closer, but I just find Aluche and Liliana’s chemistry better. Still, over the course of the story, Ruenheid is entrusted with a heavy burden, and she certainly has my respect for handling that.
Next up is Camilla Alucard. Without her, Nights of Azure 2 would have a much shorter story. She researches artificial half-demons at the Curia. She seems to be quite cold, and views everything through a lens of cold observation.
Camilla was the one who revived Aluche as a half-demon, which she done by successfully transplanting a new heart into her. As for where that heart came from… well, that’s something you can learn by increasing Aluche’s relationship with her.
She is the manager of Hotel Eterna, though her motive for letting Aluche use it as a base of operations isn’t immediately obvious.
Camilla fights fiends with a gun.
Camilla plays a pretty important part in the plot, but I generally feel indifferent towards her. Outside of her quests, I maybe use her once or twice at the beginning of the game, and then she gets to warm the bench in favour of pretty much everyone else. As a result, she tends to be the lowest level character on the team when I approach the end of the game.
There are maybe a couple of funny scenes between her and Aluche, but there isn’t really much else that endears me to her.
She may also have a thing with the leader of the Lourdes Order.
Next up is the artificial half-demon assassin, Veruschka. She works for the Lourdes Order. As she was implanted with memories that give her a strong hatred for demons and half-demons, she hates herself.
When Aluche first meets her, she is pretty much resigned to her fate and believes that nobody will accept her. However, after seeing the bond of childhood friends Aluch, Liliana and Ruenheid, Veruschka desires to become a childhood friend as well.
Out of all the Lilies, I would probably say that Veruschka is my favourite. She reminds me of Hikage from the Senran Kagura series, particularly with the way she starts out emotionless. However, as her relationship with Aluche increases, she learns about emotions and her outlook gradually changes.
The whole thing with her gaining emotions definitely has a bit of a feel of Veruschka falling in love with Aluche. It takes some time for her to get there, but soon enough she gets excited at the prospect of fighting alongside Aluche, and experiences both painful and happy emotions in doing so.
Veruschka’s development throughout her series of quests is definitely one of the things in Nights of Azure 2 that I enjoyed quite a bit.
A chocolatier happens to be providing chocolate for Hotel Eterna whilst Aluche is there, and her name is Eleanor Ernest. She roams the world, searching for the ingredients to make the Ultimate Chocolate. Eleanor also happens to be a skilled merchant, but all the money she makes is spent on chocolate ingredients.
Her chocolate is beloved far and wide by all, and not just humans either.
Another favourite Lily of mine, I enjoyed learning Eleanor’s story as her quest for the Ultimate Chocolate unfolded. Most of her quests involve finding the ingredients for the Ultimate Chocolate, though there is one where she divulges to Aluche why she became a chocolatier.
She’s also a fairly useful partner to have, as you’ll be finding a lot more chocolate to be picked up – chocolate is the item that restores health in this game. Aluche happens to love chocolate, too.
Eleanor enjoys seeing Aluche enjoy her chocolate, but, once again, there seems to be a little more than that going on.
Another person from Aluche’s past is Muveil Folin Lou. She is a senior knight that Aluche looked up to like an older sister. She has a cool personality, which hides a hot fighting spirit.
She is strict to her subordinates, but they adore her nonetheless as she is strong and kind.
Muveil happens to the first successful artificial half-demon. She continued to fight fiends as a Holy Knight, right up until an incident caused her to fall to the darkness and become full demon. Muveil wants to tempt Aluche into becoming a full demon.
When Aluche, Liliana and Ruenheid attended Espheria Imperial Academy, Muveil was the student council president there. Aluche continued to train under her when she joined the Curia as well, and the two formed a fairly close bond. As a result, Muveil is one of the characters who has known Aluche for the longest, besides Liliana and Ruenheid.
Muveil ends up joining Aluche, as you can probably guess. Out of all the quests, Muveil may be the most amusing – she keeps getting sent letters of challenge and misinterpreting them. Talking of being amusing, the scene where you unlock Muveil’s swimsuit is pretty funny as well.
Aluche and Muveil have something of a rivalry, with both eager to surpass the other. Much like the other Lilies, there’s definitely some kind of romantic subtext present there as well.
Finally, we come to a character that I’m sure fans of the first game will be familiar with: Arnice.
A former knight of the Curia, and a legendary half-demon who fought the dreaded Nightlord, leader of the demons. When Aluche encounters Arnice, all traces of humanity have gone and she runs berserk.
Her screams of lamentation scare both fiends and demons.
Arnice disappeared for many years, but shows up to confront Aluche as she searches for the Moon Queen.
So, first off, it is explicitly stated that Arnice has a female lover. I don’t know whether that was the case for the first game, but there’s no dancing around it here. In fact, a certain item belonging to that person may just be key in gaining a valuable ally…
Arnice’s series of quests has her talking to Aluche about the search for Liliana and beyond. During that, she asks if Aluche is in love with Liliana, and Aluche gets pretty flustered. Arnice pretty much sees herself in Aluche, having experienced very similar circumstances before.
Perhaps you’ve picked up on it at this point, but it seems very easy to interpret this game as Aluche gathering an all-female harem together in order to save the world from the Moon Queen.
Whilst I firmly believe that Liliana is the best match for Aluche, the other characters certainly become very close to her as well – providing you complete their quests that increases their bonds that is.
Building the bonds between Aluche and the Lilies leads to a variety of scenes, and there are some pretty good ones to be found. I’m sure I’ve already mentioned the general events of a few, but I won’t get into specifics to avoid spoiling things for those who want to experience the game.
There are two different endings you can get in this game – either a bad one, or a bittersweet one. I won’t spoil them here, but let’s just say that it is important to build bonds with specific characters.
One of the facilities available in Hotel Eterna is a swimming pool, which naturally means that there are swimsuits to unlock. Each of the Lilies has her own scene for unlocking their respective swimsuits.
I’ve already mentioned how Muveil’s swimsuit scene is my favourite, simply because I find it funniest. As for the swimsuits themselves… I quite like Aluche’s Scarlet Stripes swimsuit that I got as pre-order DLC.
If we’re not counting pre-order DLC, then I think I would have to pick Veruschka’s as my favourite, and I have to admit to finding Eleanor’s swimsuit rather cute. But, why not decide for yourself which one you like best, using screenshots I got in a rather roundabout manner…
They all have their own charms, right?
DLC is also available for Nights of Azure 2, with the first set adding a new area into the game called Phantom Dolce Terra. The new area is the setting for an additional side story called “The Foreigner in a Wonderland of Sweets”, which becomes available after speaking to Eleanor about the “Wonderland of Sweets” in Chapter 3.
Nintendo Switch owners are also able to get their hands on a special costume for Aluche: the outfit of Yuri Kozukata, the protagonist from Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water. For those who have the game on PlayStation 4 and Steam, they can get Hinako’s outfit from Blue Reflection.
At the time of writing, there is a second set of DLC released for the game, but no details have been revealed for the English releases as of yet.
All that’s left is for me to sum up my thoughts on Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon.
Well, the gameplay isn’t exactly spectacular. Having varied weapons courtesy of Servan transformations doesn’t really add much, and having no elemental weakness seems like a missed opportunity to add an extra bit of strategy into the game.
Combat tends to get repetitive, and the few puzzles that are scattered throughout aren’t exactly anything amazing. You can easily brute force your way through most boss fights as well, and that Servan I mentioned earlier turns them into a right joke.
However, I have yet to play the game through on the highest difficulty setting, so perhaps that will add a layer of challenge that isn’t normally there.
Another thing I had an issue with is something that you’ll only find on the Nintendo Switch version: the A button is used to examine things. Sure, that doesn’t sound too bad, but in menus and such, it is the B button that is used to confirm selections, and A cancels them.
I’ve pretty much gotten used to it at this point, but if I play any other game that uses the far more sensible ‘A = confirm, B = cancel’ set up, there are occasions I find myself accidentally cancelling a selection when I return to Nights of Azure 2.
Unfortunately, you don’t have the option to change the controls when it comes to that. It’s certainly an annoyance until you adjust to it…
I tend to overlook flaws in something if I find one element to be enjoyable enough, and that is very much the case here with the characters. Whilst I have higher opinions of specific characters, I do like all of them and learning more about their own stories as I built up their relationship with Aluche was a rewarding experience for me.
The music in the game is great as well, with ‘El Viento’, ‘Sadistic Limbs’, ‘Lucia’, ‘Dichromatic Flower’, ‘Recipe for Happiness’ and ‘Brave Attack’ being a few of the tracks that stand out most to me. There’s a good reason the Limited Edition comes with a soundtrack CD.
Since the Limited Edition came with an artbook and three cloth posters, I should probably also mention that I love the art style for this game as well.
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon isn’t something that I would call an amazing game – that honour is reserved for the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. It may not be amongst the best games in my collection, but it is one that I enjoyed playing a lot due to the strength of its characters and their relationships.
Whilst it may not reach the same heights as other games, it is still one that I consider a worthy addition to my collection.