Developed by Gust and published by Koei Tecmo, Blue Reflection: Second Light follows the first opus simply titled Blue Reflection released in early 2017 in Japan on PS4 and PS Vita, then in early fall of the same year on PS4 and PC in the rest of the world. This sequel therefore takes the concept of its predecessor and of course always in the vein of JRPG with animated graphic style and turn-based combat. We also find the school world and young students with very short skirts. The title is expected for the November 9, 2021 on PC, PS4 and Switch, but we have already been able to get a little advice while playing the early hours of the game.
In the first episode we followed Hinako and her friends Yuzuki and Lime, all three responsible for protecting the world from demons thanks to their Reflector powers provided by their rings allowing you to travel to the parallel world of the Common to hunt down the vile creatures. This time, it is alongside Ao that we set off on an adventure. This one wakes up one day in a strange deserted school surrounded by water and with no possible escape. She meets all the same three other girls also living here: Kokoro, Rena and Yuki. They too once woke up in this world but, unlike Ao, they have no memories of their previous life and therefore have no particular desire to return. Since the arrival of their new friend 3 days ago, a strange place which they nicknamed “The Faraway” has also appeared.
This time, it is alongside Ao that we set off on an adventure.
This one could be the way for Ao to get home and for the others to find clues to their past. Also, she goes there with Kokoro and Rena. Yuki cannot access it. I have to say that the place is full of dangerous monsters and that the latter does not have the ring that allows the other 3 to reveal their Reflector weapons. But what is this strange world? Couldn’t this be just a dream? Could it be related to her phone that she lost on her way to her summer school and then found it with a single application called FreeSpace, hitherto unknown, and on which a masked correspondent sent him a terse message: “Be Reborn”? And who is Yuki, this girl I met on the roof of the school and who disappeared as suddenly as she appeared? Ao, who always wanted to be someone special, should however be filled, but what questions.
The start of a very long summer
In this new episode, we therefore find the school environment with the trio of sexy young students to which a fourth can join in support for the fights. The music also recalls the first opus. The soundtrack as the sound effects are also very good quality. As for the Japanese voices, taking advantage of the very characteristic dubbing of Japanese anime, they are delectable. The title is indeed proposed only in Japanese, Chinese and English for audio as well as for subtitles. Remember that this was already the case for Blue Reflection, which also did not offer localization in French. We obviously also find the classic onomatopoeias of this kind of production with subtitles without dubbing. A small practical detail all the same, if the texts scroll too fast for you, it is possible to access a log of discussions to read quietlyincluding activating voices. This is unfortunately not the case for all interventions, whose bubbles can appear a little too quickly.
If you are not afraid of this very Japanese bias, the result is more than satisfactory.
On the graphics side, we are always entitled to something very colorful and the cutscenes clearly relate to Japanese anime. The sexy and naughty dimension, even a little perverse, of the title remains sometimes with low-angle shots under the girls’ mini mini-skirts or centered on their chests while they are chatting. And the different outfits that the heroines can wear of course include bikinis. Each one has generous forms and Kokoro with a particularly opulent chest. If you are not afraid of this very Japanese bias, the result is more than satisfactory. Apart from this aspect, the title also offers beautiful sequences with neat lighting. Photo mode here gives you the opportunity to highlight the most interesting moments. Between two cutscenes, it’s time to explore. And there, apart from the automatic animations of certain actions as for the short-scale, the software still suffers from slightly stiff movements with a camera that still has trouble positioning itself when it encounters an awkward setting or which starts to jerk. For the fights, no problem, everything is scripted.
It’s all about talent
As said before, in the line of JRPGs, Blue Reflection: Second Light offers turn-based combat where each of the three students can activate one of their skills. For this she must consume a certain amount of Ether, the energy in force in The Faraway. This consumption then makes her go back on the timeline positioning each according to the amount of Ether accumulated. It will regain it over time and will then move forward until it comes back to the fore and can act again. The recovery speed is unique to each character and increases with each new use of their powers, which gives the possibility of taking action more and more often and thus to obtain a definite advantage. Reaching the second level allows you to exploit multiple skills, and from the third of transform by donning the outfit of Reflector at the origin of a tenfold power. Additionally, if the skills deal limited damage, combos are much more devastating. Note that Ao’s two acolytes can switch to automatic mode to attack by herself when their turn comes and that a fourth girl can come and support the trio.
A scythe for Ao, a long gun for Kokoro and a hoop for Rena.
We thus find more or less the Efficient, but repetitive gameplay from the first episode with, this time, as Reflector’s weapons, a scythe for Ao, a long gun for Kokoro and a hoop for Rena. The attacks, on the other hand, benefit fromappreciable animations although quickly redundant. Sometimes it is possible to flee, but you will not earn any XP points. The experience obtained makes it possible to gain levels to each of the girls by increasing each time their health points, the power of their attacks and their defense capacity. You also have to know at times use discretion to slip behind enemies that are too powerful. Stealth mode allows you to see their cones of vision and avoid them by exploiting the scenery, such as passing through roofs or under buildings. The title asks you toexplore your environment by collecting objects or fragments of memories appearing as glittering spheres or hidden in containers like trash cans. Small green dots also indicate their location on the minimap. Crafting is then on the program: Using recipes in your possession and obtained from NPCs or memories found in The Faraway, you can combine the collected items to create a new item of healing, buff or debuff that can come in handy during clashes. Nothing revolutionary, however.
Developing connections between girls allows you to earn Talent Points.
Finally, the app encourages you to talk with the other characters, not only on the FreeSpace application on your phone, the discussion group bringing together the various protagonists, but also in person. Your choice of answers also affect the course of the discussion, but without a priori influencing that of the story. On the other hand, this helps develop Ao’s connections with girls and allows them to earn Talent Points. These can then be spent on acquire new skills for each of them. It also increases the level of Talent needed to unlock, and therefore make accessible, new skills. And It is thanks to this leveling that Talent Points are awarded to Ao, as sometimes by responding to requests from her friends (secondary objectives). In all, there are 4 types of Talents according to the personality of each young girl: energetic, rational, gentle and creative. A method which should make it possible to regularly bring a little novelty to the fights and thus break the monotony.