14/03/2018

⚔️ Review: Azure Saga: Pathfinder - "Let's Have Fun With Noide The Droid!" ⚔️

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Game: Azure Saga: Pathfinder
Developer: MassHive Media
Format: PC

Me and JRPGS generally tend to be at odds with one another. I like a good story with interesting characters but I am not one for the endless grind of random battles and levelling up. 

A few years ago I played Child Of The Light on PS4 and that changed my mind on the JRPG style of game as Child Of light had the right balance of exploration, party building and battles and created a far more enjoyable experience for me.


Since then I have searched to replicate that style of game where I could get invested into the characters without the constant drain of battle after battle.


Azure Saga Pathfinder is somewhere in between Child Of Light and a traditional JRPG and for that reason, I have been compelled to write this review because it's actually pretty darn good and I think people need to play it.

The story has you and your droid companion escaping some kind of mothership in your spacecraft and then being shot down by the pursuing security forces. You awake in the next scene from an enforced Cryostasis sleep to find yourself in some kind of ancient jungle that would appear to be medieval.

You play as Synch and your droid is Noid. Synch is the son of a scientist and wealds a massive sword n battle. Noide the droid sports a nifty revolver in battle and is a worthy companion as you work your way through the world that you have discovered.



The style of the game is actually really well realised as it creates 2.5D isometric landscapes on a grid map system that for me worked really well. There's a mini-map on the screen which enables you to work out whether you have been in a particular area (part of the grid) before or not and means exploration is not frustrating.

I like the lovely bright colours of the areas that you explore and the hand-drawn visuals really bring the place to life. I found myself thinking that the simplicity of the game and the way it initially looks defies the complexity of the game and how it was actually put together. 

The thing that normally puts me off traditional JRPGS is the need to constantly tinker with your party and generally the over complex battle systems. Azure Saga has a great way of introducing new battle mechanics and explains them very well before hand-holding you through the mechanic and exactly how to utilise it. This for me was essential as I'm not a regular JRPG'er and it helped my mushy brain get a handle on when to use the mechanic alongside the benefit of using it.



I was able to get right into battles from the get-go and worked my way through to a boss and defeated them with a leap of joy on my part which proved that I was having fun playing this little gem of a game. 

The Battle Mechanic that I definitely enjoyed was the United Attack which you discover by choosing the 3 skills, 1 from each character, that can combine with each other to create a super strong attack on the enemy. It's fun to discover the attack and then even more fun using it in battle!

The one area where the quality falls down ever so slightly is the writing quality of some of the cutscene dialogue boxes. Now I can forgive this because generally the writing is competent and when you consider that this is coming from an indie developer based in Bandung, Indonesia. There are bound to be some things that are lost in translation or not quite worded correctly. Any mistakes that I have found don't leave you scratching your head as you can see what was trying to be said or conveyed to the player.

Summary
Overall I have found this a really enjoyable game to play. I'm thinking that maybe it is because it's not overly complex and it's easy to get into that I personally have found it fun. 

It knocked away all my preconceptions of what this game was going to be all about immediately and enabled me to enjoy the experience the outset.

A thought from me is that maybe a hardcore JRPG player might not find this as stimulating as I have but then again maybe there is a case for a light JRPG experience even for the hardcore?

I'd suggest that someone who wants a pleasant and fun JRPG experience should give this little number a go as it looks lovely, plays smart and will keep you entertained for hours for around the £10/$10 mark.

Right, I'm off to insult my droid in broken English and fight the Hollow with my massively overcompensating sword!


💧❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️💧
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)

MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

Review By Rich