Blue Reflection: Second Light Review

Blue Reflection: Second Light - Key Art

Review

Blue Reflection: Second Light Review

November 8, 2021

By: William Worrall

More Info About This Game
Developer
Gust
Publisher
Koei Tecmo
Release Date
November 9, 2021 (Calendar)
Genre
RPG
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)
 
 

It’s a shame when a game that you enjoy doesn’t do that well. Any hopes of a sequel seem dashed when the game underperforms both in terms of sales and scores. There is a rare occasion where, despite these things, a game you enjoy actually does get the sequel you dreamed of. There’s an even rarer occasion where said game also gets a mobile game and anime spin-off and seems to be trying to launch a media franchise. If you haven’t guessed yet, somehow, this is the case with Blue Reflection: Second Light, the sequel to a game from 2017 that almost no one talks about.

Blue Reflection: Second Light is a JRPG developed by Gust and published by Koei Tecmo. It tells the story of a group of classic anime magical girls who find themselves trapped in an otherworldly school with no memory of how they got there. The story follows the girls as they explore the strange place they’re trapped inside, unlock their memories, and try to figure out what they’re doing there and how to get home. 

If you’re one of the 10 people in the world who has actually played the original Blue Reflection then you’ll probably be in for a surprise when you boot up Second Light. The first game was great, but very much settled into the same classic JRPG systems that we’ve seen before. It’s turn-based, has a classic health and mana system, and as you level up you assign points in various areas. Very familiar for any JRPG fans.

Blue Reflection: Second Light - Lo fi
Coming soon to a YouTube lofi mix near you. 

However, Blue Reflection: Second Light goes in a bit of a different direction. It has a more active battle system (of course), with timers running down until each character’s, and enemies’ turns, only stopping when you’re in an attack menu. You also don’t have a classical mana system. Each attack costs ether points, even your most basic ones. You typically start at zero EP but can use an ability as soon as you have enough points. Bear in mind, some abilities cost more, and you can even stack up more than one attack at a time, so you have to choose between attacking quickly, and using stronger attacks. 

 
 

This system is really unique and it makes the gameplay of Second Light feel a bit more interesting than your typical JRPG fodder. You really have to think about when you’re deciding to attack, and if it’s worth waiting longer to cast a more powerful ability, especially as your attacks can interrupt powerful enemies. On top of that, there’s also a gear system, that increases the power of your attacks the longer you’re in a fight. Since you need to use abilities to increase your gear level, the choice between quick and powerful attacks becomes even more important. 

This gear system is also important because, unlike the previous title, you don’t start a battle in your magical girl form. You have to reach third gear before you transform and gain access to your full suite of powers. This means that the start of a battle is often much harder than battles that last a long time because almost all of your abilities become considerably stronger as you go on. On the one hand, this is an interesting way of balancing fights that most JRPGs wouldn’t use. On the other, it does mean that you’re very unlikely to lose most fights unless you lose straight away. 

Blue Reflection: Second Light - Rubber Ducky
Kirara is asking the real questions right now. 

Balancing in general is a bit weird. For most of the game, combat isn’t too taxing at all. In my entire playthrough, I only got a game over once, and it was against an optional side enemy. There are one or two enemies that just seem needlessly hard to kill when they’re surrounded by a bunch of wussy enemies. If you’re into a hardcore challenge, you might be a bit disappointed here, but honestly, because of how fast-paced the combat feels, you never feel like you’re completely breezing through. 

Luckily, combat isn’t the only part of Blue Reflection: Second Light, as with the last game you also have the social aspect to deal with. When you’re not exploring the dungeon areas, you have to walk around the school you’re living in, and interact with the other characters. You can go on ‘dates’, do them favors and even build new facilities to make them happy. As you do, you generate talent points with them, unlocking new stat buffs and abilities, as well as learning more about the characters. 

Honestly, this social system is handled much better than most JRPGs do, even the first game. Here, you learn about the girls by interacting with them face-to-face, not just by side-questing for them and doing text chains. You learn things about who they are as people that give them all distinct characters for the most part. That’s pretty impressive, as the cast of 4 at the start soon balloons into featuring an entire gaggle of high school girls with superpowers. 

Blue Reflection Second Light - Rainbow Bridge
It's a good thing this game isn't about kart racing or someone would be suing. 

For the most part, the game is also devoid of any fanservice that might turn off people who don’t enjoy it. You can sort of flirt with some of the other girls, but it’s usually pretty innocent. For the most part, any relationships between the characters are more chassed than perverse. Even the various opportunities to show characters in their underwear are avoided, bar one or two times where it’s less about ogling the characters and more about the social situations. Not that you can’t decide to dress your character up in a bikini if you want, but it just feels mostly out of place in all honesty. 

 
 

Aside from gameplay, there’s quite a lot to enjoy here in the story, graphics, and music. I’ve already mentioned that the characters are interesting, but there are a few relationships and story moments that are both engrossing and heartbreaking. I won’t mention specifics, but you’re helping these characters recover some of their most important memories, and that doesn’t always mean positive memories. Genuinely, some of the things you find out can be utterly heartbreaking, especially those events revolving around characters that you’ve known since the start. 

The visuals have a fair bit in common with the first game, in places. Lots of pastels, mixing with the occasional vibrant color make for a relaxing environment. Even better, the environments are pretty varied, while still feeling like they’re part of the same consistent world, which the last game didn’t quite manage to pull off. The music also helps, with the soundtrack mixing up electronica, classical piano, and lo-fi styles for a blend of relaxing tunes and pumping beats depending on the situation. 

Blue Reflection: Second Light - Battle
If anything could make a teenage girl even more threatening than normal, then it's a scythe. 

Overall, Blue Reflection: Second Light is a great JRPG for anyone who is looking for something a little bit different. It’s familiar enough for JRPG fans that you can jump in easily, but has enough twists and turns on the old formulae that you’ll stay interesting for the entire game. This interest will also be aided by the enjoyable characters, even if the sight balancing issues do have a tendency to leave challenge-seeking players behind just a little bit.


TechRaptor reviewed Blue Reflection: Second LIght on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC and PlayStation 4.

 

Review Summary

Review Summary

8.0
Blue Reflection: Second Light does a lot of things right. If you don't mind some slight balance issues then the characters and mechanics should keep you interested the entire game through.

Pros

  • Relaxing music and visuals
  • Unique take on the JRPG combat formula
  • The characters and their relationships are well-handled and interesting

Cons

  • Occasional balance issues
Will wearing an Odd Future shirt.
Staff Writer

I'm Will and I'm a UK-based writer who went to film school before realizing writing was more fun than film-making. I've written for a number of gaming sites over the past few years of my writing career, including Cliqist, Gaming Respawn, and TechRaptor. I also produce videos for my own channel (Mupple) as well as Cliqists popular YouTube channel. I've covered industry events such as EGX and am hoping to break into narrative game writing in the future.

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