So I would like to start with stating that I know nothing of the comic the game is based on. I was going into this game as a solely oldschool jRPG fan who finds that FFVI is the best jRPG ever made to this very day. (No, I did not forget an extra I there).
I knew nothing about this game, I did not back it, and I only managed to find out about it on its release and since it’s been a long time since I’ve played a decent jRPG style game, I decided to give it a try because the art looked fantastic.
Oh boy, was I in for a surprise.
Upon awaking on the beach I immediately knew this game would be memorable – in either a good way or bad. I don’t know if it’s because of the artstyle, since it’s not anything new - but maybe because of how iit was done. And the design of it. And so, I ventured forth.
And the further I went, the more I began to realize that I’m enjoying this game immensely.
I was (un)fortunate enough to get really sick the past week so I was home on sick leave from work. And before I knew it, 50 hours went flying by and I was starting a New Game+ back to back.
I just could not put the game down.
It is amazing how good this game is, how many good design decisions, QoL things, and everything that were made for this game. But, as any thing in life, it has its flaws.
I don’t want to write a review, I want to share my feelings about this game - what made it amazing for me, and what did not. As surprising as that sounds, the bad things are absolutely minimal, and that’s what makes me want to elaborate on this. It’s a near perfect experience and it can only get better from here on out.
I will not talk about the art style or design or story. I will focus only on the gameplay and the experience.
In order of appearance.
Also note, that I played through New Game on the initial patch, and played NG+ at the time of the Experimental build. So the two experiences are a little different.
The Crafting System
This is absolutely one of the best features in this game. I usually hate crafting systems in games because they always either outshine the drop system, replace it, or just generally not worth using.
At first when I opened the crafting bench, the first thing I saw was “Success rate: 58%”, and I immidiately had this though “Oh. It’s that type of game. Ok guess i’m not doing crafting in this game” and just closed the window.
A dungeon or two later, I realised that it actually depends on your available materials… And slowly, but surely, it dawned on me, that I can actually increase materials… to make the item stronger… “Oh, wow. This is absolutely brilliant.”
However, i think some recipes (especially towards end game) need a little mat requirement tweaking, as some recipes aren’t even worth crafting – you can usually skip an entire tier of gear after a dungeon (a tier that could be proved useful in the dungeon before you got the mats for the next tier). And stuff like buying Knolan’s SIlk-rune robe right from the vendor, skipping his level 24 tier entirely. This is especially apparent in NG+ and with the new exp curve – since you almost always meet level req for all the recipes you know – that’s not an issue anymore. But this is so minor I won’t go into detail. (Except for Ancient Vampire Fangs. Screw hunting for those things lol, way too rare for not even end game equipment. Also need extra 3 for the optional quest. Ugghhhh haha)
New Game Plus
Oh my god you guys absolutely nailed this. I cannot believe some hate I read about this NG+ – it is absolutely fantastic.
It is everything, and I mean -everything- I actually hoped it would be going into it without knowing anything about it. This is NG+ done right.
In fact, when I started NG+ and it did everything I wanted it to do - I sighed a breath of relief and muttered “Oh my god I love this game”. And in fact, if NG+ didn’t turn out to be exactly as it is in Battle Chasers, I’d honestly just put the game down at that point.
You lose your gear, yes. This is a good thing. Nothing in this game is particularly hard to get. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get end game gear, so it’s not really an issue of losing things. I’m at end-game in NG+, I am not talking nonsense here. They thought this through. In fact…
I couldn’t imagine playing through the game again with top end gear without ever finding an upgrade for 90% of it.
You are SO overpowered with the perks and the abilities that you keep, that you can easily tackle all dungeons on Mythic (new dungeon setting for NG+) with just the available gear. Right from the get-go. THis is great, since Mythic gives a ton of tasty Legendary loot. A ton. I actually liked the upgrade progression of my gear in NG+'s Mythic modes better than in the first New Game.
You can also now craft Legendary tier of gear and enchant legendary tier of enchants. This is fantastic.
You get to pick from all 6 characters as soon as you get to town. You get to keep your Wicked Monockle key item (omg this is such QoL thing, thank you! :: Side Note: If you get the Wicked Monocle in NG+ as well, you will have two in your inventory sitting side by side).
Again, you are overpowered from the get-go with just your acquired perks and unlocked skills with just starting gear. No, this game is not Hard, but it doens’t need to be.
Some games, like Dark Souls, need to be hard constantly. But these types of jRPG games make you feel like a god yet they still should provide fun.
Is FF7 a hard, challenging game? No, no by a long shot. Does it have optional challenge bosses? Yeah, but the game itself is anything but hard. And is it a good game? Yes. Yes it is. Because it’s a good game.
So is Battle Chasers.
This game’s NG+ is a better experience than the base New Game. More features, better loot, a better sense of progression with dropped gear and even more perks after level 6.
Trust me, it’s great. And acquiring those legendary weapons is even easier in NG+. And you can enchant them with more powerful enchants!
I think the enchanting table should be available as soon as you rescue the enchantress in NG+. It is unnecessary to gate this feature since you’re already familiar with everything, and it doesn’t add anything to NG+ except a little inconvenience of having to search for it in the wild for just two or so dungeons.
Also, you can never complete the Beastmaster’s quests for training – Her silver exclamation point is ever present through NG+ if you’ve acquired all of tier 3 bursts in the first playthrough.
Honestly, I love this game.
The most annoying, infuriating thing in this game is… Breakable walls. And not having Gully in the active party.
What I do: I take a note of all unopened treasure chests. Clear the dungeon, and before the boss, Save & quit to menu, Continue game, put Gully in my party, walk to the wall, break it open, open the chest. Save & main menu, continue, put my party back.
This is not a fun mechanic. Treasure chests are important especially in Mythic in NG+ since you get such sweet loot sometimes. And having them blocked just because of your party choice is not good design. IMHO.
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing in this game, nothing, prevents you from completing a quest, a riddle, a puzzle, an objective based solely on your active party composition. This is the only thing in this entire game that gates your acquirement of anything just because you don’t have a certain character in your party.
With all the good design choices and QoL features this game has to offer, it’s startling this made it through testing.
If Gully can converse with other character in a dungeon without being in your party, she can break a stupid wall when pressing the interact button next to it.
There is nothing more annoying and more than makes me go “oh ffs, not again”, than seeing an unopened chest on the map and a breakable wall on the side of a room.
I honestly feel like I’m being punished just by simply not choosing to have Gully in my party.
I had to go back to earlier dungeons to complete some Beast Perks, get some events, and stuff like the well handle etc. Let me tell you: This was not a fun experience.
Getting to the earlier dungeons was easy enough, everything is scared of you. But as soon as I, a level 25 overpowered group of heroes, step into a level 10 dungeon – everything agroes me halfway across the map.
There are many events and quest related items that are very RNG dependent, and backtracking to hunt for them is not fun in the slightest. Monsters should generally ignore you if you’re like 10 levels higher, like they ignore you on the overwold map.
These battles add nothing to the game, give no exp nor meaningful loot. They just waste more time and get on your nerves, more than anything. You probably should still fight them if you need to, but not having an entire room agro you from the get-go.
So i’m in NG+, I just entered the Crimson Gardens, and… my heart sank with disappointment. What I read was: Reached level 30. Exp: MAX.
Oh come on. Why does there need to be a level cap in NG+? I understand in New Game. But NG+? My party is already overpowered. I have 256 perk points, I have all bonus perk milestones on every character in both perk trees. Literally nothing can kill me at this point, short of a cheap one shot from something.
There is no sensible reason to soft level cap in NG+. Don’t give me perk points after level 30, i don’t care, I don’t need them anymore. But don’t take away my enjoyment of watching my exp progress bars fill up (even if it mostly meaningless at this point).
All this did is make me less interested in grinding out my last Beast Perks/Bestiry entries since the battles don’t offer anything of value anymore at all. Not even a stupid exp progress bar =(
But what a bullet point it would be for the already amazing NG+: Raised level cap. Just think about it!
As stated before, there are a few that slightly annoy me:
- The Wicked Monocle gets added to your inventory again if you get it in NG+ as well.
- Can’t complete the Beastnmaster’s training objectives if you’ve already unlocked them in the first playthrough
- It’s quite annoying to have most of my items marked as “new” after almost every dungeon.
- The Beast Perk “Big Game Hunter” tracks how many hunts you’ve completed, not which. I got the bonus after I completed a 9th hunt combined NG with NG+ even though I didn’t do any of the ones I skipped in the first playthrough.
I felt undeserving of such an award when it happened, and felt no award when i actually did complete every hunt in NG+. (The steam achievement functions correctly btw).
- Where are the airships in NG+? I stumbled upon two of them in my first playthrough, but they seem to be absolutely absent in my NG+. Am I just unlucky or is this a bug? I need to kill the Behemoth and kill the third lieutenant. Just not seeing them anywhere.
I think that’s it. That’s all I can think of right now. Whew, that’s a load off my chest.
I love this game, I love what Airship made. It’s one of the best jRPG’s I’ve played in a very, very long time.
And I only hope it gets better from here on out. I am hoping for DLC content, challenge bosses, more cosmetic cosutmes – anything and everything.
I will continue to support this great game and this great team of developers.
Thank you for the great 90 hours of a great experience and for making such a fabulous game.
And it’s not yet over!