Back when Gust and Koei Tecmo released the original Blue Reflection for PS4 and PC in the West, I enjoyed it quite a bit despite the performance issues on PS4. Since then, I’ve revisited Blue Reflection on PS5 and PC and my experience has been a lot better on PS5. The PC port sadly was before Gust games started getting good PC versions. Fast forward to today and Blue Reflection: Second Light has arrived on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam in the West. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing it on PS5 via backward compatibility, Steam, and Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld modes to see how the narrative plays out and how it scales across hardware.
If you’ve been playing Gust’s releases on Nintendo Switch over the years, you’ve likely noticed how much better the studio has gotten at optimizing for Nintendo’s hybrid system ever since the first Atelier Ryza. Atelier Ryza 2 is another great Switch port while Fairy Tail was not great. Thankfully, Blue Reflection: Second Light is one of Gust’s better Switch conversions. As with other Switch port reviews, I will discuss the differences between platforms while also highlighting what I thought of the game itself.
Blue Reflection: Second Light is set in a school where Ao lives with three other girls (initially) who can’t remember anything barring their names. One day, a new location appears in front of this mysterious school and you end up exploring this location for items, battling foes, and more. Blue Reflection: Second Light features a blend of ATB-style combat, exploration, crafting, school development (building), character events, and more. As the story progresses, more characters join in on the action and you finally understand why things are the way they are.
The original Blue Reflection was a gorgeous game that clearly didn’t get the budget it needed to shine. Even the localization had issues with some dialogue not being subtitled. Blue Reflection: Second Light is a big step forward in just about every way. The improvements to combat and various worlds you explore make this a much better experience overall despite one major annoyance. The stealth missions (more of an issue for side quests) and segments are very annoying. They feel tacked on and just made me hope Gust never implements them in future games.
Visually, Blue Reflection: Second Light is a big step up over the original. It has a lot of great post-processing and gorgeous environments. Most locations look superb at different times of the day and during different weather conditions. The resolution seems to vary depending on the action on screen. I did run into an issue where the image quality was worse after I spent time in photo mode. While checking the PC version, Blue Reflection: Second Light seems to use settings below the low option for some graphics.
Overall, Blue Reflection: Second Light is impressive given how it looks on PS4. The most noticeable cutbacks on Switch versus PS4 are for draw distance, anti-aliasing, shadow quality, and model changes. The shadows are noticeably worse and almost constantly flicker when you move. Even the more open and empty areas use very low quality shadows compared to other platforms. Even having played them side by side, Gust has done a good job with the Nintendo Switch version given the performance. It also supports the Nintendo Switch native video capture which is good to see considering Shin Megami Tensei V does not support it as of now.
Blue Reflection: Second Light targets 30fps on both the PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions. On Nintendo Switch, the performance is mostly good. There are some situations where it drops, but things don’t get as bad as the original Atelier Lydie & Suelle release. It also feels great to play both docked and handheld making this another fine JRPG for Nintendo’s hybrid system. The only aspect I hope to see improved is the loading. The initial load takes a while compared to other platforms. This is more noticeable if you have access to a PS5 and can play Blue Reflection: Second Light with near instant loading on the internal SSD or on a PC with an SSD.
The audio in Blue Reflection: Second Light is mostly great. While the soundtrack is excellent, there are a lot of scenes without voiced dialogue. Just like the first game, Blue Reflection: Second Light only has Japanese voice acting. The Japanese voice acting is very good, but I was hoping more dialogue would be voiced.
With some Switch ports, I usually only recommend them on Nintendo’s hybrid system if you value portability above all. In the case of Blue Reflection: Second Light, Gust has done a very good job with the release in general. It has cutbacks compared to the PS4 version, but it is still worth getting on Nintendo Switch if you were considering that option. Hopefully it gets a few patches to address potential crashes (I experienced one so far on Switch Lite) and the load times. Barring those, the Switch port is a great way to experience Blue Reflection: Second Light. Hopefully it does well enough to get a port of the original.
Switch port review: This review focusses on the Nintendo Switch version and port quality of a game that was either previously released on other platforms or one that simultaneously launched on Nintendo Switch and other platforms.