Nights of Azure’s Vita Version Sucks

If you’ve read stuff by me, you know me as a Vita lover almost to a fault. I nonsensically want almost everything on that precious little piece of divinity. And until recently, I thought I also wanted Nights of Azure on my Vita (called Yoru no Nai Kuni in Japan). Announced as a PS4 exclusive in the west, this game got Vita and PS3 versions in Japan. I wondered why Koei Tecmo wouldn’t release the handheld version abroad. Low customer base, maybe? Nope, my new assessment is that Koei Tecmo initially held this back because it is ass. I bought both the PS4 version and Vita version in November, and have been playing both.

During gameplay, he Vita version struggles to keep its head above water — and in this case, “water” means “20 frames per second.” Be it cutscenes, navigation, or battle, this game is hard to play. Reading the text is stressful on the eyes. I thought maybe it was just me, so I passed this game over to the smarter, more observant half of that podcast I do. Her first sentence was, “Wow, that… that is choppy.” And it is. Nights of Azure on Vita is choppin’ broccoli all day.

Rotating the camera, battle animations, and probably half of the characters’ motion during story scenes suffer from visible slowdown. Thankfully, battle seems to be rescued from some of the slowdown, in my experience. That’s not to say it’s completely painless, but it’s, how shall we say, the least bad?

It seems these days, you can’t evaluate graphics without being called a “graphics whore,” so, before this screenshot gallery, let me remind you that graphics do not make or break a game. Myself still a fan of 16-bit games, I’m a gamer who doesn’t need the latest tech to be happy. Yet, Nights of Azure is hard on my eyes, especially when reading text. Other players I spoke to share my grief; the menus and story text are just plain bad. Yuck.

Keep in mind that due to screen sizes and fact that our galleries confine every image to within certain sizes, these versions of screenshots do not tell the whole story. The worst part is how it handles, not simple visuals. Seeing these in action on your TV screen or Vita screen takes the visible differences here and makes them even more pronounced.

Indeed, it would have been foolish to expect the different versions to look exactly the same (although some cross-platform games have come close), but a gulf this wide was something of a surprise.

And again, I can’t stress enough, the existence of a difference is not the problem here. Of course there was going to be a visual gap and a likely frame rate difference. Of course. But the low, low, low performance of the Vita version was a huge disappointment that has me regretting my double dip on Nights of Azure.

I bought two versions of this, but I’ll only be keeping one.