In November 2015, Gust made a new franchise called Yoru no Nai Kuni (also known as Night of Azure outside of Japan). It focused on a half-demon girl named Arnice (アーナス) with her quest to protect Lilysse (リュリーティス) and stop the Nightlord
The sequel, Yoru no Nai Kuni 2: Shingetsu no Hanayome (よるのないくに２；新月の花嫁, lit: Land without Darkness: Bride of the New Moon) starts where the first game left off with a new cast with more refinements to the battle system and a new story. Of course, this game suffered development hell with it delayed several times. It’s not until August 31st it finally made it past development and released to the public in Japan. With that, this makes you wonder, is the sequel worth the wait?
The story focuses on an agent that works for the church named Aluche Anatoria. On her way to the church, she runs into one of her childhood friend named Liliana Selphin. Aluche made a promise with Liliana to show her around Yurarumu (ユーラルム). After arriving at the church, the three saints inform them that a demon, the Moon Queen (月の女王) named Malvasia reappeared.
To save humanity, they want Liliana to sacrifice herself as the Time Bride (刻の花嫁) to seal the Moon Queen. After leaving and heading back, Aluche made a promise that she will protect Lilliana. The carriage stops abruptly and one of Aluche’s and Lilliana’s childhood friend, Ruenheid Ariarhod blocks the path. She wants to stop Aluche and the church from sacrificing Lilliana. Suddenly, fiends appeared and eventually the Moon Queen. Ruenheld and Aluche tries to stop the Moon Queen, but couldn’t.
The Moon Queen ends up killing Aluche as she stabs the sword in her heart while kissing her on the cheek. Shortly after, Lilliana’s ware bouts become unknown while Ruenheld escapes. Camilla Alucard, a professor for the church revives Aluche as a man-made half-demon. While this changed Aluche’s appearance, she gained new powers. After meeting Nero, who is a cat that can spit fire, they head to the hotel. This is where Aluche reunites with Ruenheld. With that, they set out on their quest to find Lilliana while find a way to defeat the Moon Queen without sacrificing Lilliana. Will they be able to do it before the Moon Queen cause the world to end?
The battle system while looks familiar from the original have a lot of new improvements. The most notable is the Servans (得魔) system and Lillies. Let’s focus on the Servans first. Unlike the original, which requires an item to create them, you find them instead. They are now fiends that lost the will to attack humans and rarely take blue blood. You can befriend them by finding glowing flowers in certain areas, most requiring a Tricker Servan to access.
There are two types, Tricker types that allow them to use special abilities, mostly elemental. Some can even remove obstacles on the map or allow Aluche to reach high places. The second type is a Striker Servan. Like Arnice’s ability to change weapons from the first game, these Servans allow Aluche use different and powerful weapons. These weapons when activated uses the Servan’s MP.
Regardless of type, they work similarly to the first game, except you can only have two and that’s it. Pressing the lower right or left shoulder button activates their ability, similar to the burst ability in the first game. You can level them up by using Servan Points, which you earn through doing quests. Once they reach their highest level, you can reincarnate them, thus increasing their maximum level. Also, a Precious Evolution Orb (進化の宝珠) allows the player to max out the reincarnation times without having to max out the level serval times. While rare, these orbs can reduce the amount of grinding one needs to do.
The new notable addition to the gameplay is Lilies. They act like a partner for Aluche that aid her in battle. Given the name, it’s obvious that Aluche now have a female harem, although she loves Lilliana the most. In certain situations, you can use Double Chase to deal a lot of damage. In addition, you can use your partner’s ability. The use of a Double Chase in addition to performing a double or revenge attack raises the tension meter. Once filled, you can use a Lilly Burst, which will kill all the monsters on the field. In boss battles, they will deal a lot of damage. As always, each Lilly’s ability and skills differs.
In addition, each Lilly have a relationship value. Filling a heart will trigger an event and a sub quest. Once you complete the sub quest, one of the lilies on the main menu will bloom, which will unlock abilities. You can increase the relationship values by using them in battle or completing sub quests for a certain Lilly. This is important since filling the relationship values for Aluche’s childhood friends determines the ending you get.
As for leveling up, it’s the same as the first game. You offer up blue blood that you gain from defeating fiends. However, the way you unlock abilities in this game is different. Instead of doing daytime tasks like in the first game, you gain ability points with every level up. From there, you just unlock abilities.
Lastly, there is now a time limit as seen with the moon. Unlike the first game where you can take your time, there is a time limit. As seen with the moon indicator when you are at the hotel, it will advance every time Aluche rest. When there is a new moon, it’s game over. After defeating the boss at the end of each stage, the moon will revert back for the next chapter.
In short, you won’t be able to complete everything on the first play through. After beating the game, the first time, you can play as long as you want in a given chapter. This should give the player the chance to complete all the character events, quests and leveling up.
As for the graphics, it’s definitely an improvement. While the first game suffered graphical quality issues with Playstation 3 and Vita ports, it’s not an issue this time. I got the Nintendo Switch version and the game looks better than the Vita version. Although it won’t look as nice compared to the Playstation 4 version, it’s definitely an improvement over the first game. Like with most Gust games, the music and art direction is great.
On the flip side, I felt that something is missing in this sequel. Gameplay wise, there isn’t a Colosseum where you have to do specific challenges. Also, there are only two endings in the game. It’s a far cry compared to the multiple endings in the prequel with two optional post-game bosses. Hopefully, there will be DLC that fixes this in the future.
While I liked how the relationships developed, I kind of wish there are some more intimate moments as seen with Arnice and Lilysse. Sure, Aluche and Lilliana supposed to be the official couple. Without spoiling anything, it’s slightly underwhelming. It’s not surprising given that there 7 girls in Aluche’s harem that are fighting for attention at the same time.
Flaws aside, Yoru no Nai Kuni 2: Shingetsu no Hanayome is a fun game with everything one would expect. A fantasy action role-playing game slaying fiends with a yuri harem thrown into it. I kind of wished that Gust bought over the Colosseum mode and added more post-game bosses like the prequel to earn a golden ending. Given the amount of time they have to develop the game, it can explain why some people felt let down when the game finally came out.
The Bottom Line
Strengths: Enjoyable story and characters with improved gameplay with the addition of Lillies. Improved graphics, especially with portable versions (Nintendo Switch and Vita). Excellent production values (music and graphics) as seen with previous Gust games/
Weaknesses: There is a lack of additional gameplay modes compared to the first game. Only two endings compared to the first game. Not as much relationship development with the official couple (Alushe and Lilliana).
The game officially releases on October 24, 2017 in the West including a PC version. You can see the gameplay videos at my Twitch.
As always, this copy is bought with my money and the publisher have no influence on my opinions. You can help support video game reviews like these by donating. ¶