We should really be saving the world, but have you been to the pool?
UPDATE: It does have Pro controller support. You just can't switch from the Joy-cons to the Pro controller in the middle of the game. If you start the game with the Pro controller, it works just fine.
Nights of Azure 2 is a game about busty anime girls with big swords fighting demons in a vaguely musou fashion. While it never rises to the level of cartoonish fanservice typical of, say, the Senran Kagura games, you should know what you’re getting into. The game’s plot concerns a busty knight, Aluche, and her equally-busty BFF, Liliana, who are on a quest to seal away a busty evil woman called the Moon Queen who wants to enshroud the world in perpetual darkness. Liliana quickly disappears, and it’s up to Aluche and her merry band of busty companions to find her and save the world.
The game has an intriguing sense of urgency: Aluche can only be out in the field doing missions for a limited amount of time before her half-demon body needs rest. At first, you only get ten minutes, but leveling up and learning certain skills (on a branching skill tree) nets you more time. However, you only have so many days in the field to complete your major story quests, because once the lunar cycle hits “new moon,” it’s game over, and you’ll have to restart from the beginning of the story chapter (which you can also do at any time voluntarily if things are going south).
What does Aluche & Co. do in the field? They goes after demons in the typical character action/musou fashion: using combos and special attacks to slaughter all kinds of foes on your way to whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish—which usually means finding somebody or fighting a specific character or monster. Aluche can bring along one AI-controller partner and two “Servans,” which are little demons who provide support and/or special weapons. You’ll come across new companions and Servans organically as you go through the story. You can switch your party members at the home base, Hotel Eterna, and upgrade Aluche’s level and skill set and the power levels of your Servans (who eventually evolve). Partners will level up on their own and doing combo attacks with them will very slowly build up a “Lily Meter” (just like in Hyperdimension Neptunia) that theoretically provides further combat benefit.
Aluche and her partners can equip a wide variety of items that provide buffs and resistance to status conditions, like poisoning or burning. Eventually you’ll be able to combine these items in order to strengthen them. You’re also given a list of optional quests to accomplish, many of which you’ll wind up completing while pursuing main story quests. Your reward for completing optional quests is experience points for your Servans, which you then apply manually between missions. Most maps, which tend to be overly-complicated, have gated paths in which you’ll need to return to once your party mix allows you to, say, jump really high or discharge an electrical barrier.
Nights of Azure 2 does have some problems. For one thing, everything is way too dark. Since it’s always night time and nobody has invented street lights, you’ll want to turn up the brightness setting on your TV or Switch if playing undocked. There’s a targeting system but the camera does some wonky things if you’re caught between your target and a wall. Worse, because of the darkness, it’s not always super clear that you’ve actually targeted. Like most musou games, the combat kind of drones on until you reach a challenging enemy or boss. The Lily Meter thing is inconsistent and obtuse. Why is Camilla’s Lily Meter higher than Rue’s if I spent more time with Rue and did more combo attacks with her?!
I do like the rhythm of the game, though: choose party, go on a mission, level up Aluche and your Servans, repeat. The plot isn’t great but there’s enough intrigue to keep me going and enough implied connections to the first game that I eventually read a plot summary (surprisingly similar plot). It’s not the best-looking game in the world, and you will encounter some framerate drops during combat (especially un-docked), but the character design is consistently over-the-top. Things fall apart a little bit when it comes to characterizations, mainly because all of the characters embody typical anime tropes. Anime is happening and sometimes it’s not great. Aluche, Rue, and Liliana especially have a weird “they’re besties but also maybe something more” thing going on that leaves a lot of their interactions feeling awkward.
Nights of Azure 2 has a hilarious habit of introducing a new character and then thinking up an excuse to get her in a swimsuit, which is then a swappable outfit. And yes I DID get all these characters in swimsuits and sent them out to slaughter demons because that is exactly the kind of game this is (although Camilla’s swimsuit is just awful).
I will recommend that you play this on your TV, because any text is hard to read on the Switch screen. I also suggest using the Pro controller if you can, because using the Joy-cons, even in the Grip, isn't great for this kind of game. Despite those warnings, Nights of Azure 2 is a pretty easy pick-up-and-play game given the timed mission structure. It’s not perfect, but I’m having a good time with it. I encourage you to save often, though, because the game crashed on me three times and resulted in lost progress. Annoying, but at least it’s not hard-locking the system.