With a backlog that could not be more varied, The Software Forge Platinum Games distinguishes itself repeatedly by introducing innovative game mechanics that function flawlessly. Following the highly successful commission project Nier Automata Nier: Automata, the Japanese are waiting for the right time to launch their brand-new intellectual property astral Chain. It is exclusively slated for Nintendo Switch. So how do you feel the action-oriented wizards have created this time?
Is it too late for coffee and donuts?
In 2078, there’s nothing left of the planet as we know it today: For a long time, humanity has been savagely attacked by powerful creatures from different dimensions and cannot stand a chance against intruders. The human race’s last traces are ensconced in a massive futuristic city named Ark, and yet, here it is not secure due to the attacks known as Chimeras that attack their victims, then cause them to be infected with a mysterious virus or take them away into their world they are more frequent. The only one, Neuron, a reserved section of the police, can withstand the threat due to years of research that have enabled them to put Chimeras onto leashes with a sophisticated technological device effectively. A small group of specially trained officers thus go with their Chimera companion in the battle against the intruders. The Howard brothers, both young police officers in their profession, face a foe they cannot defeat in a seemingly routine task. Then, at the last moment, they are confronted by the Neuron task force, who recruits the Howard siblings on the street and outfits the two with their Legions, their Chimeras, and a sworn-in army. Then their adventures are set to begin.
Alone or two in one?
After you’ve decided whether you want to be a male or female sibling pair when you restart the game along with deciding on a hairstyle, color, and name, you’re right into the action since the mission is a lesson in the basics in the fighting system of Astral Chain.While the character’s arsenal of moves is not the most impressive, with just one attack button, and another one for avoiding and evading, the game becomes much more thrilling with an appearance of Legion. It can be hurled at enemies and then summoned whenever you want. The creature can attack independently and doesn’t require any additional control.
The thing that doesn’t sound very appealing at first appears to be a complex and, more importantly, extremely fun framework that can be used to create a variety of options for designing fights that follow the first training sessions at Neuron’s headquarters right following the initial mission. The fact that you’ve linked to your legion all the time through a chain does more than a mere visual gimmick: because you can move your partner freely within the room, this chain, if used correctly, can be used as an additional weapon. For instance, enemies can be kept at a certain point for a short period by circling them. Likewise, enemies chasing you could be slowed down with a properly placed chain. There are also so-called sync attacks that can be activated when you summon your legion at the proper time (for instance, to expand combos or trigger specific attacks).
When the gameplay progresses, the first Legion will be joined by four other Legions that can be altered at any point and others that behave differently. The ranged fighter, strongman tank with massive armor, or fast beast play very differently, providing plenty of space for exploring. Furthermore, many special moves can be accessed to the Legions, equipped with a maximum of two units simultaneously. Before you unleash all of the awesome Legions and attack your foes, dry police work must first be done.
Your friend and a resource
Astral Chain is broken down into chapters, and each chapter starts in the headquarters. There, buff and healing items and various other weapons can make the mission more efficient. You can also put on new clothing inside the room locker that you can color however you’d like. After completing specific objectives, additional outfits or even personal clothing are removed from the game. You can also alter your appearance at any point. Some can frequently practice with hologram adversaries in the training room if you like to practice. If you have extra cash, you can upgrade your weapons and the Legatus, the device that assists in binding to the Legions with you.
When you embark on the mission, you’ll have to go to one of the districts. In the beginning, you must determine what’s happening here. To do this, you have to ask questions or talk to passers-by (with assistance from the Legion) and then complete small assignments or look over surveillance footage. All pertinent information is compiled in a notebook that can be found later. Once enough clues are identified and analyzed, the following steps are discussed with team members in a multiple-choice dialogue. From now on until the end of time, you’ll be able to fight for the second time when you’re on the right path; then, the first enemies will confront you. In addition, the Legions are also utilized during the search phase, which can be somewhat tedious. Each has a unique capability that has to be used to navigate the maps and, more importantly, the search for hidden objects and crates. For instance, one legion can open heavy doors, another can hit distant targets, and yet another can carry the player’s character across treacherous terrain. This, however, also can’t leap; however, it can use its (hovering) legion across the chasms and let it carry him over safely using a chain.
During your mission, you’ll be pulled into The Astral Plain, the dimension of the Chimeras. It’s not just a matter of facing the more frequently encountered adversaries but being able to navigate the confusing places, which are filled with tiny puzzles. Between, of course, there are small mini-bosses and, in the end, a complicated piece of content that blocks your path. In defeating enemies or completing tasks , you will also earn points that can be used to upgrade your skill tree of individual legions at any time. Additional sync attacks are available in the skill tree besides stat boosts and new passive abilities. Cutscenes from short stories interfere with the game’s flow in the course of missions. However, there are no long pauses in the exposition portion of the chapters. Once you’ve completed the chapter, you’ll find that you can re-play the mission at your leisure to search for hidden or undiscovered secrets or to get higher levels of completion simply. If you’d like, you could complete this at the latest difficulty level you have unlocked by doing the challenge.
To be a part of or watch?
Contrary to all predictions of doom, games on the tiny Nintendo console are still awe-inspiring with their stunning visuals. Compared to the small console’s technical capabilities, Astral Chain looks stunning in this way. The vibrantly colored cyber-neon style coupled with the highly anime-inspired characters might not be to every player; however, it is presented uniformly and appears as if it was made from one mold, which seems to be more than the Switch is able of. There may be a few minor delays in massive and action-packed games, but they’re limited and have only a slight impact.
The sound quality of the game is excellent.
The album also has plenty to offer to the ears. Alongside the consistently good dubbing, which is in tune with an anime style, and an expansive and diverse soundscape, The driving soundtrack is compelling. To match the futuristic theme, it features a vivid mix of rock, synth wave, and chillout to be heard. There are also songs with vocals, but they’re mostly reserved for the closing and the opening credits. Overall, the production of Astral Chain is remarkable, not just in terms of declining hardware in our homes.
There’s plenty to hear and see, and I’m sure those who aren’t avid gamers (i.e., those who sit on their sofas and just sit and watch) are sure to enjoy too. So why not get involved your way? It also has an enjoyable co-op mode using two Joy-Cons; two players can each control one of the characters or their legion. It’s a pleasant experience when you practice it, but it can be a disaster at the chosen difficulty level. A well-practiced team will take down everything the game throws at them within minutes, while novices at the Legion can make even the most challenging adversary a problematic task. As we’re talking about it, experienced players should not bother using the default “Normal” difficulty level since it offers nothing in terms of challenges once you’re halfway through the process.
Although I have a few negatives to share regarding the Astral Chain, I’m not sure that the game will be a huge hit. The highly developed combat system isn’t a necessity to be hidden behind the likes of Bayonetta as well as Devil May Cry and is an absolute blast; however, I’m not sure what the intended audience for an RPG of this kind will also be willing to deal with the comparatively essential but certainly current RPG elements. It’s the same for mechanical aspects such as stats, skill trees, and the basic, and not particularly thrilling, “police work” sequences. However, Astral Chain is a well-styled and technically excellent action gem with no issues and lots to offer interested players. So, if it’s an obscure game or a huge hit is not an issue, the fact that it’s a great game regardless.
What’s Astral Chain? Sci-fi action game that combines platform, adventure, and RPG-related impact. Link: Official website