Developer: Gust
PublisherKoei Tecmo
Platforms: PS4, PS5 Switch, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 09/11/2021
Price£49.99/£59.99
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.

Blue Refection was a little known JRPG, that seems to have just faded in to the nether. But it was interesting adventure about school girls lost in a strange worlds surrounding their school and monsters. Blue Reflection 2, seems to carry on this trend. But is it any good?Blue Reflection–Second Light revolves around a high school Ao. It starts with Ao heading to extra lesson over the summer holidays. As soon as she steps foot in to the school, she is transported to somewhere else. The school is present, but a vast ocean of water and nothing else surrounded it.

Ao is not alone. There are three other girls who do not have their memories that inhabit the school. Not long after Ao arriving, the world around the school changes and a new Zone appears out of nowhere. The girls, of course, entered this Zone. To see what it is like, they soon realise that they can not only get food from the Zone, but they can summon weapons and fight the monsters inhabiting the Zones. While exploring further in to the Zone, the girls realise they are tied to the missing memories of one girl. On top of that, the girls can pull others in to the world as well. 

After playing the first Blue Reflection and being disappointed in the story, I had little hopes for Second Light. I was very surprised to know there is a great story in this version. 

Blue-Reflection-Second-Light-battle

Magical Weapons 

Blue Reflection–Second Light is a fully fledged JRPG, leaving the battle system from the first instalment and going for something more traditional and magical appearing weapons. Let’s just say it paid off. 

The battle system has a timeline where the longer you wait and attack, the better skills can be used. For example, the timeline is split in to segments, of 1000sp each. In the first turn, Ao and the girls can only reach 1000sp, allowing for a basic attack. Once the timer resets, they can move on to 2000sp. Using an item or heal spell will not advance the timer. This will then turn in to a bit of a risk reward style gameplay, with the player thinking, should I heal and stay at the same level with one girl or should I attack and hope that one does not die. 

After enough turns have been taken, the girls can transform in to Reflector Mode. Here, the girls’ appearance changes and their power is increased. Along with that, they gain access to new more powerful attacks that are only accessible in Reflector Mode. Like Atelier game, the enemies are visible in the world and interacting with them will cause the battle to begin. 

The developers added in an interesting but flawed feature, stealth mode. This will make Ao duck and move slower while also showing the viewing arc of enemies on the map. Allowing Ao to avoid fights or get a preemptive attack in a battle. Allowing Ao to attack right away, as well as a shorter wait time for the other girls. This too is a bit of a double-edged sword, with the enemy using a different attack that can break the combo meter.

The stealth aspect on the surface seems like a really cool addition. It does, however, have a few flaws. The cones are misleading for a few reasons. 1. They are not affected by objects so it is hard to judge if you are in cover. 2. Some enemies are hovering so are higher up that Ao and some cover, again it is hard to judge if you can be seen or not. 3. If an enemy type is low to the ground, the cone can clip through the floor and become invisible. 4. Most enemies patrol in a set pattern, however, there is some that move randomly. This is a problem, as it is in the hands of the RNGods and not the players skill if you get spotted or not.

Combos are what they are, the more attacks that land in a row will increase the combo meter that allows for some massive damage potential. Mix in weaknesses to certain attacks and the numbers get crazy. To counter this, the enemy can use an attack that will break the combo and start back at zero. Ao (and some others) can nullify this effect with a shield, but only the combo break not the attack. This made sure you will be paying attention to the fight and not just throwing out the same moves over and over.

Boss Battles 

The boss battles are cool and have their own little spin on them with the one-on-one battles which can happen. One on one battles pits one girl against the boss, in a sort of fighting mini game. Sounds great, yeah? It is not. It is the most annoying part of Blue Reflection–Second Light. As you are pummelling the boss, it can start the one-on-one battle that sees the last girl to hit it take part. The way the battle system works, with all three girls attacking at once, it is hard to know who will be in the one-to-one. Also, the timer does not reset and it will mostly allow a boss free hits. It happened too many times. I could do nothing in this mode because of waiting for an attack. If you are beaten in the mode the girls is knocked out and all the gear is reset to 1(This is a problem). If you win, there is a cool over the top attack animation and some big damage. It is a frustrating addition. 

Side Missions 

While roaming the school, the other girls will give you side missions to do. Some simple like kill X amount of this monster or collect items, giving a nice reward. However, sometimes you will be asked to build a building the girl wants. This will lead to more back story and deepening the bonds of the girls. While giving the memories a kickstart and opening up new zones. 

Bonds and Dates It wouldn’t be a school girl JRPG without building up bonds and going on ‘dates’. Blue Reflection–Second Light is no exception. As you do side missions, talk to the girls and build the things they want. The bond between them will grow until you can take them on a date. Well, a walk about the school at least. While you chat and explore areas. After these events, the bond will grow deeper. It is an important aspect to the game as doing these tasks will reward the girls with Talent Points. These work the same as skill points. Once you have enough, you can learn a new skill in battle. 

Memories are the Key To Everything Ao and the gang discover new Zones and unlock more and more memories, a few things will happen. First and foremost, the girl whose memory is locked in that Zone will well… get their memory back; For better or worse. And the story will advance with more questions thn answers. 

As you collect memories you will eventuall get a memory fragment. Fragements work like accessories, equipping them will boost a stat or give a buff of some kind.

It also will unlock new crafting items, healing items. Allowing the girls to create better items. Crafting is more of an involved process this time around, as depending who crafts the item be that one or four girls. The items attribute may change and gain new buffs or debuffs. It feels like Gust has looked at how well Atelier is doing and gave the crafting a bit of a makeover. Making it more rewarding for the player to try different groups while crafting items. 

Gust did not finish there with the crafting. Now the girls can craft unique buildings within the school grounds, for instance, a place to relax with deck chairs. This building will give the party a permenate buff. There are other buildable places that make up a set that will increase buffs even more when put next to each other. It ends up being a puzzle about where to place things. 

Music To My Ears

The music is outstanding, it really is. There are so many tracks that are so mood inducing and amazing to listen to. That this has to be one of Gust’s best sound tracks to date. The battle theme is just a battle theme, but the rest of the music is exquisite. 

Overall, Blue Reflection–Second Light has its share of problems with some systems it has introduced. But these problems can be overlooked by how good everything else is. The story is good, the battle system is for the most part great, the world is a joy to explore. This is up there with Atelier Ryza as one of Gust’s best games to date. 

I highly recommend Blue Reflection–Second Light. If you are a JRPG fan, you will not be disappointed.

9-10
AMAZING

For more reviews, check out Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy and The Caligula Effect 2

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