Game Title: Nights of Azure 2 ~ Bride of the New Moon
DLC Title: The Foreigner in a Wonderland of Sweets
DLC Type: Story Expansion / New Dungeon
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PS Vita in Japan)
DLC Reviews are something I’ve been thinking about for the past couple days, ever since I published Nights of Azure 2’s first DLC expansion in the form of a review. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about how I review DLC expansions and really, how much play time should be the required amount per money as far as judging a DLC goes. Granted, the Time Drifts campaign did score higher than the actual game, but I’ve deducted points for time in all DLC expansions I’ve reviewed so far.
Getting past that, a thought in the back of my head, let’s talk about the 2nd DLC Expansion for Nights of Azure 2. We got two Story Expansions in one day, and one of them was completely free of charge. We got the paid one out of the way, so let’s go into the DLC around Eleanor, Azure 2’s “Little Girl” character that looks like someone pulled straight from the Atelier universe.
Here is my review of Nights of Azure 2: The Foreigner in a Wonderland of Sweets!
“The Foreigner” takes place right in the middle of the game’s plot. After you clear Chapter 4, a cutscene with Eleanor will trigger with her jumping off the walls upon discovering the famed “Land of Sweets”, a strange land made almost entirely of sweet food and rumored home to the a legendary ingredient said to make the world’s greatest Chocolate.
Practically begging to be taken there, Aluche agrees to explore this new land to help Eleanor find this legendary ingredient and fulfill her dream as a Chocolate conossieur to bake the ultimate chocolate.
The story of this campaign is entertaining, mostly because it is so different from the rest of the game. Instead of this dire, dark, dreary fight for the survival of the world, you are exploring dungeons with Cake Mountains and an enormous Candy Factory that looks like it was taken right out of the world of Willy Wonka. It’s cute and really gives an Atelier vibe.
Just like the previous campaign, there aren’t many changes to the gameplay system, although this campaign’s Major Boss does add a new Cover system in it’s environment. But you’re still using the same combat system and still roaming dungeons like you normally would.
As far as content goes, The Foreigner adds a new dungeon, new enemies, a new gameplay mechanic, and a new boss. The dungeon, Phantom Dolce Terra (otherwise known to Eleanor as the Land of Sweets), is significantly larger than the previous campaign’s Drifting Ark and is more like a proper dungeon than a small hub for a Boss Rush Mode.
However, the neatest part of this dungeon is the new mechanic it gives. As you explore the various environments within the dungeon, the “Popcorn Machine” from the Candy Factory will constantly go off, trying to repel you from the premises. Just as it sounds, you will constantly have giant kernels of popcorn raining down from the sky that can stagger and damage you, giving you an extra bit of strategy while fighting off enemies. There are environmental effects as well, like Chocolate Fountains giving allies and enemies the Slow/Freeze status ailment while walking through it.
The final piece of the puzzle and another bit of uniqueness and strategy, is the campaign’s boss. When you’re in the final area of Phantom Dolce Terra, you have giant graham crackers that pop out of the ground for you to use as cover, which is built around the boss. You can’t walk up to the boss and start slashing like any other boss fight. It constantly pelts you with bullets, leaving you to do some tricky dodge maneuvers just to reach them, or use the moving graham crackers as cover as you slowly make your way towards them.
On all of this, it’s funny because as far as sheer content goes, it adds a lot more uniqueness than the paid DLC did. Time Drifts added a bunch of story scenes, but really, the only new aspect was the Drifting Ark and the encounters with the Shadow. This one adds quite a bit more uniqueness to the game.
Although that is balanced through this campaign’s length. The Foreigner can be completed in 2 18-minute treks into Phantom Dolce Terra. I believe across the story scenes, prep, and the actual dungeon-crawling, I managed to complete this story arc in around 25-30 minutes. It adds more content to the game, but not more play time. Once you get to the final area of the dungeon and beat the boss, it’s basically over. No quests in other dungeons. No follow-up after you beat the boss.
I may sound like a broken record at this point, but despite being free, a 25-minute expansion for a 25-hour RPG just isn’t very long, especially considering 20 of those minutes are you on a fetch quest to unlock a door.
In conclusion, The Foreigner in a Wonderland of Sweets is a cute DLC campaign for the more Atelier-interested crowd to enjoy. Although the campaign barely lasts 25-30 minutes, it brings a lot of uniqueness in its brighter atmosphere, more strategic boss fight, and adorable Popcorn Machine gameplay mechanic.