[Review] Azure Saga: Pathfinder Deluxe Edition – Nintendo Switch

Written by Frank Sloan
  • Developer: MassHive Media
  • Publisher: Toge Productions
  • Release Date: 21/03/2019
  • Price:  £8.09 / $9.99
  • Review code provided by Toge Productions

INTRODUCING: AZURE SAGA PATHFINDER SWITCH REVIEW

We all know and love the fact that the Nintendo Switch has a great deal of RPGs to offer. There are fantasy RPGs, futuristic RPGs, school RPGs, and so forth. The styles of these vary as well. There are Japanese RPGs, Action RPGs, and Strategy RPGs, to name a few. They all come with different elements of gameplay, story and story-telling.

Some RPGs even collide in periods of time and style. However, Azure Saga Pathfinder finds little to flaunt or redeem itself with in this already packed genre. Let’s dive in and see what it does indeed have to offer.

ONWARD, TO EXLONIA!

A spaceship within a JRPG? Who would’ve thought? The story starts out with Synch, the main protagonist, and Noide, his assistant trying to outrun some enemies. They are then shot down and put into a cryo-sleep where they awake on a mysterious planet. The planet is filled with characters typical of a fantasy RPG. You have your knights, archers, bards, and the like.

The technically advanced Synch and Noide must to continue on to find Synch’s father. To do this, they will need to repair their ship using materials and minerals found within the world they are currently on. They team up with some humans and other characters to fight against an enemy type known as “the Hollows.” From there, the game continues to spiral.

LET’S TAKE TURNS

The gameplay aspects of Azure Saga: Pathfinder are fleeting. It is presented in a 2.5D, isometric style with exploration through different maps. There is turn-based combat that allows you to attack, use special attacks, guard, use items, and so forth. The combat isn’t overly complicated and you can get a grasp of it quite quickly. It can feel akin to a flash animation game at times, with regards to its combat and graphics. The fights can seem to drag on for way longer than they should and make one of the main experiences of the genre less than enjoyable.

The party system for this game consists of three members and they all have unique abilities to them. There are random encounters to be faced as you traverse the overworld maps, which unfortunately , are annoying to walk through after sometime. There is some puzzle-solving and door unlocking, but even these tasks are menial in comparison to other RPGs. Sure you’ll find recipes and items through the different lands and maps, but they don’t ever fully jive with the economy as much to make it worth your while.

The game remains a single-player RPG. No multiplayer online or local here. Azure Saga: Pathfinder uses a “United Skill” system, in which all three party members are able to use an all-out-attack on an enemy. This is prefaced by all three party members using a specific-colored special attack to trigger the event. The enemies are grouped by several different types as with many RPGs, and you also have a crafting system that involves gathering materials that are hard to find.

CUE: FANTASY MUSIC!

The art is a bit underwhelming for Azure Saga: Pathfinder. The map design is almost chibi in style. The maps can make the world seem much better than it actually is, and I may have even preferred having combat using the overworld map as a background. The character models themselves within combat sequences leave very little to remember. They look half-baked and don’t seem to fit in with some of the environments. I didn’t really enjoy the story sequences or dialogue back and forth among the characters. I wished there was more emotion that was conveyed through these models.

The audio in this game is actually quite enjoyable. There are various songs of fantasy and many change quite well with the setting of the map or combat. I enjoy that it definitely sounds like a fantasy, turn-based RPG. Yet, the music can start to get repetitive in certain areas and turns to a cheap sound quite quickly.

INCOMING HALLOWS!

From a technical standpoint, the game can sometimes be reminiscent of a mobile game. I experienced a few longer than usual load-times and a few crashes throughout my time playing. There weren’t as many technical hiccups, and it looks like many of the initial bugs/glitches were polished out from the PC version.

Handheld play of Azure Saga: Pathfinder was muddier than the docked mode, yet the overworld maps still remained cute and chibi. It remains almost equal in performance to the docked version, however, with no noticeable drops in frame rate. At times, it actually felt better to play in handheld mode as this game constantly gave off mobile vibes to me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Azure Saga: Pathfinder is, in many ways, what can be imagined as a generic RPG. There are sprinkles of fun ideas, but none are really fleshed out as much as I would’ve liked them to be. The plot isn’t all that good and the game tends to try and fall back on classic, medieval ideals all too often. The character movement, combat, and even story transitions feel closer to a mobile game than a console or handheld game should. At its price point, Azure Saga Pathfinder might be worth grabbing if you so desire. However, with the vast amount of RPGs on the Nintendo Switch, there are plenty of other games worthy of your time and money.

PROS

  • Decent battle system
  • Enjoyable soundtrack
  • Cute map design

CONS

  • Lackluster mechanics
  • No unique gameplay elements
  • Empty exploration
  • Feels too generic

Verdict
Azure Saga Pathfinder serves as more of an RPG-lite, with little to bring to the table and a desperate need of mechanics that set it apart from its contemporaries.
2.5/5

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