E3 Hands-on: Battle Chasers is hooking us

The world will burn around me. Cities will fall. Citizens will die. History will be wiped away.

And I’ll be fishing.

The latest build of Battle Chasers (debuting last week at E3) introduces a fan-requested minigame focused on breaking away from the game’s main quest to do a little rest and relaxation with a trusty rod next to a pool of water. I *could* have been battling werewolves in a dwarven dungeon, and I *could* have been advancing the plot, but I chose to do my best at taking down the latest lunker. In fact, more than half of my demo involved hearing “hey, let’s move on to the dungeon” over and over again. And for what? A few shadow tokens? Filling out my bestiary? Fishing is easy — just push the thumbstick in the opposite direction of where the fish is heading — but who cares; it’s oddly addicting.

Though fishing is mostly meaningless in the game, it gives another pinch of flavor to the nostalgia-fueled RPG from Airship Syndicate and THQ Nordic. Illustrating the effectiveness of the game’s randomly generated worlds, the fishing hole hadn’t appeared in the previous few demo runs with press, I’m told. So when one materializes during my playthrough the PR representative is genuinely excited.

With time under their belt since the PAX East build, the fishing event isn’t the only addition made to the game.

My demo introduces the final character, Knolan, a wizard with magic based attacks and abilities. He’s smaller in stature, but when paired with teammates Calibretto (the giant robot) and Gully (a healer and ranged fighter) he’s the paper to the others’ rock and scissors. Knolan engages enemies with a golf-style attack, swinging a spell in their direction. He can also summon eldritch horrors to take down enemies, and we do so with a giant tentacle. It’s a little overpowered for the spider monster we were facing, but that’s fine. The beast had it coming.

The game’s Burst battle abilities are also in now, which allow for attacks to charge up over time, increasing in power depending on what level they get to. They carry over between battles, too, so that our build-up time never feels wasted. The characters also have dungeon abilities, which let us affect battles before they begin. Calibretto can launch a mortar from his cannon to set enemies on fire prior to the battle, while other effects include stunning or damaging enemies right away. The abilities are limited, so of course I manage to waste them all before my first action even takes place.

The demo takes place in a new dungeon, a sort of dwarven mine filled with loot and crafting ingredients, where rocks make up the landscape and monsters inhabit the shadows. Even though the dungeon is randomly generated, I can’t tell. It looks fully integrated, fully designed, as if it was done so ahead of time. This is a testament to the years of experience the team has designing these kinds of games. We’re greeted with an elevator lift right when we enter the cave, letting us go down into the darker depths if we choose. We’re out of flint and torches, so we need to rely on Knolan’s ability to create a glow around us to see. Later, we come across an orb that when touched activates… something. We don’t know what right now, but later in the dungeon we discover that a door has opened.

Randomly generated worlds can often feel empty or littered with random loot, but Battle Chasers has an interesting game engine that tags areas for elements like puzzles, specific monster interactions, story points, and readable lore that give life to the dungeons. In fact, finding enough lore will get us bonuses, which pulls me right back into the sidequesting draw of a game like this. I can fish AND find lore? I’m a sucker for it. I end up not even completing the demo before I’m ushered out in the room. The joke’s on them, though, as I stuck around for an open slot and jumped back in. WINK!

With an October 3rd release looming for the game, the finishing touches are being implemented now. The menus are getting tweaked, art is being finalized, and all the heroes are now in. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is already capturing my nostalgia and time at trade shows, and I reckon it’ll do so in full later this year.

Author: Dalibor Dimovski

Dali is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of SideQuesting, as well as the co-Founder of CarDesignFetish and the founder of MakLink. Dali is also a car designer, deejay, and introductory beer-brewer.

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