During an opening conversation between the two female protagonists in Nights of Azure, there is a fair amount of ‘RPG nodding’, each nod making the gargantuan tits on the characters wobble for a few seconds. Note that these massive representations could never be referred to as breasts; they are tits.
Immediately, the leftie Guardian reader in me derisively snorted and dismissed it as another Koei-Tecmo game with the sexual politics of a 13-year-old. But playing through it becomes apparent that this is a self-aware joke on the designer’s part. The playable character, Arnice, often becomes exasperated by such matters, most notable when she arrives at the level up area, the Shrine of Jorra, early game and is required to adorn ‘the traditional robes for blood sacrifice’ which leave very little to the imagination. Let’s put it this way: we know she waxes.
The romance is handled surprisingly delicately for a JRPG, and – having played a fair few in the past with absolutely horrendous gay stereotypes – this felt refreshing
Other than the tits, the game focusses on the blossoming romance between Arnice and Lilyesse, the latter of whom is ‘fated’ to essentially sacrifice herself for something or other – I forget the reason because tits. The romance is handled surprisingly delicately for a JRPG, and – having played a fair few in the past with absolutely horrendous gay stereotypes – this felt refreshing. Also Arnice is a strong and well fleshed out character (pun intended), being strong, capable and intelligent. Lilyesse fares less well however and is portrayed as naïve and falls victim to the common JRPG trope of a ‘klutz’ who seemingly can’t perform the simplest of tasks without falling over, probably a balance problem caused by her huge tits.
The game itself feels as if it was designed solely for the Vita. That isn’t intended as a criticism, but as a perk. You are never ‘forced’ to spend too much time playing; in fact, there is a fifteen minute time limit for you to explore the areas and complete any tasks, a time limit which is more than ample. In between the exploration parts it is possible to level up, accept side quests and perform inventory management in the spooky hotel hub area that seemingly slowly fills up with men. They must have been attracted there by something, but I can’t figure out what that could be.
Arnice is accompanied on her missions by groups of four summons which can be brought into existence by ‘actualising’ certain items found throughout the in-game world. Feeling like a ‘Pokémon lite’ in the sense that you search out these critters to fight for you and end up having certain favourites. Levelling these creatures up is a fairly slow process however, and it can seem like a chore later on when you unlock new additions, where your main party is nine hours deep in terms of time investment, and the more time you spend in menus, the less time you get to look at tits.
Overall, Nights of Azure is a fairly fun game for a time, but suffers from the fact that it introduces its elements almost all at once, so there are no real surprises to come later in a play-through. This may very well put off some players who play a lot of games over a year, but might be perfect for dedicated JRPG fans who are cash starved and want some bang for their buck. Just to make it clear, despite the tits and lesbian romance plotline, you do NOT unlock a lengthy Hentai scene between Arnice and Lilyesse after completing the game, or even a short one. I checked.