Blue Reflection: Second Light Deals With Inner Struggles in Interesting Ways
When Blue Reflection was first released in 2017, I’m not sure what JRPG fans expected the experience would be like. Its identity was presented as a magical girl adventure, but its narrative themes were so much more. Those who played were surprised by the relationships and emotional story beats brought together by some intense boss battles. However, with the upcoming release of Blue Reflection: Second Light, everything seems to be clear as to what this series is, a magical girl drama.
Blue Reflection: Second Light introduces Ao Hoshizaki, who doesn’t quite fit into the world she’s a part of. It’s presented as her wanting something exciting to happen, but I can’t help but feel like it’s more than that. The game itself doesn’t waste time as Ao wakes up three days after she and a group of three other girls woke up in a school without their memory. While they could recall their names, they aren’t sure how they arrived at this place or when they’ll ever return.
The opening chapter features a few flashbacks to get you caught up to speed, but it doesn’t feel unnecessary. I enjoyed the pacing and learning how they came upon these rings that summoned weapons to fight against monsters that appear in the land next to the school known as the Faraway. What’s more interesting is how they discover their path forward. Their memories are essential to them, and when they learn that they may be buried deep inside of the Faraway, well, they muster up their courage and march forward.
I think this idea of exploring memories will be the highlight of the experience as each of the girls appears to be suppressing some kind of emotion. However, they each fill an integral role in the group and rely on each other to move forward. I’m interested to see how new characters are handled and if they will carry the same weight as this initial group.
The battle system has been streamlined as characters are tied to each of the face buttons. It’s an interesting system that took some getting used to as a timeline gauge increases throughout the battle. When enough EP is available, you can unleash a series of attacks and abilities. These can also be combined with other party members. In execution, it’s really flashy, but it’s also fast demanding an understanding of the genre.
There are other aspects of the adventure that I’m like. For starters, field exploration has been updated to allow more ways to interact with the environment. You can climb, crawl, and even sneak past strong enemies by avoiding their line of sight. Further, you can collect ingredients used to craft and cook that tie into quests and add buffs to the characters. It’s not as deep as the Atelier crafting systems, but it’s enough to warrant item collecting.
Graphically, a lot has been put into the animations of these characters, but some large sections of the school appear a bit empty. That said, I wouldn’t mind a run option, but there’s an included auto text option, so I’ll take what I can get. The characters themselves are expressive of their personalities. It’s clear Kokoro is best girl, by the way, but you can have your opinions.
Blue Reflection: Second Light sets an emotional stage of addressing memories that might not be the most comfortable. It’s charming and fun to watch these girls overcome hardships and work together, but there seem to be many obstacles that stand in their way. This is a game all about its narrative, and although the battle system is unique, you should know that character interaction takes the spotlight in this adventure, and I’m okay with that.
Blue Reflection: Second Light is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on November 9, 2021.
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