Some games unexpectedly get sequels so now that we have Blue Reflection: Second Light, let's see if this magical girl RPG is any good.
A few years back, I reviewed the original Blue Reflection and before playing it, I had high expectations because I absolutely love the Atelier games but I ended up being disappointed due to its minimal easy gameplay and story that didn't quite click with me. v1d30chumz 107-21-85-250
However, after playing Blue Reflection: Second Light, I must admit that Gust really got the formula right for this sequel and it's even tempting me to give the original another go. I'm not sure if I will, though, because there's so much to do in this delightful sequel that I think I'd rather keep playing it instead. Anyway, I love when developers go back to the drawing board and think of clever ways to make a sequel feel fresh and exciting. Everything from combat to the story is much more engaging here and on top of that, there are many new elements to sink your teeth into as well. What more could you honestly want from a sequel to a niche RPG?
When it comes to story and characters, I found Blue Reflection: Second Light to ease you into the game world much easier as you gradually get introduced to the varied cast with each character having their own stand-out personality traits. Plus, there's a much stronger sense of comradery and working together than there was in the first game which I found to be charming at times and immersive at others; depending on the situation. Meanwhile, everything generally remains lighthearted which is to be expected and that aspect ties into the visuals with many exploration areas being downright beautiful. Whether you're running through a field full of flowers, climbing monkey bars near a waterfall, or strolling across a solidified rainbow; it's easy to be impressed as you take in the sights.
Blue Reflection: Second Light is the sort of RPG where combat can feel a bit daunting at first due to the many tutorials that keep popping up in the early goings but after you realise how simple it is and get into the groove, it makes for quite an enjoyable system. As time passes, characters' ether increases and once it reaches 1000, you can deploy skills. Meanwhile, using skills increments your gear level which expands your available skill list and lets you accumulate more ether. At the same time, you'll grow a damage multiplier so the more efficient you are, the easier battles will become. There are more mechanics, too, such as guarding your combo multiplier, knocking down opponents, using support characters, and a nifty real-time one-on-one phase and it all comes together rather well. 😊
Of course, combat isn't everything and Blue Reflection: Second Light also features plenty of supplementary mechanics that'll have you completing requests for certain characters and crafting various things. Both of these elements are intertwined and will essentially have you gathering materials that are found in the field or from defeated enemies then use them to create school facilities for the hub area as well as items that can help with everything from healing to further crafting. There's no equipment at all but accomplishing these feats and going on little dates with your party members grants you points which you can use on talents that provide boosts as well as fragments that you can equip for even more boosts. It's all very rewarding stuff and the dates do a wonderful job of fleshing out the characters.
Although there's a lot to do in Blue Reflection: Second Light, I wish that certain systems had more complexity. Specifically, the crafting in Atelier is always done incredibly well but here, you just select ingredients and then who will craft it which might offer a little bonus. Also, gathering materials can sometimes be a pain, especially when you have to travel back to early-game areas which can feel tedious. Similarly, even though I enjoyed the battle system, I didn't feel a need to change up my strategy much which made most battles feel the same. Finally, the overall pacing can be a bit uneven at times with the biggest offender being the fact that you'll occasionally get a huge list of tasks to complete at the school and of course, you'll go ahead and do it but you'll desperately want to go back into the field.
Oh, I should mention the stealth segments before wrapping this up. Basically, you can enter stealth mode which highlights enemy sight cones and makes you enter a sneaking animation. These moments add some welcome variety and I enjoyed them for the most part but a couple segments got kind of irritating, especially when I didn't know where to go in order to proceed; it was still fun, though.
I'm thoroughly impressed at how much better of a game Blue Reflection: Second Light is when you compare it to the first game. In fact, it's so good that I kind of feel mean for disliking the original as much as I did. Here's hoping for a Third Light!
- + Much-improved gameplay with many facets, new mechanics, and fun combat
- + Lovely visuals and storytelling
- + Lots of things to constantly do
- - Crafting could use more complexity and grinding for materials can be boring
- - Combat mostly lacks a need for strategy
- - Pacing can be uneven at times