Astral Chain Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for review.
PlatinumGames has had a reputation in providing games that are not only addicting but also enjoyable. So it’s no surprise that they decide to try their luck on a brand new IP. Announced at E3 last year, the game in question takes us to the far future where humans work alongside creatures who fight against some dark force. It would come to be known as Astral Chain and it’s a Switch-exclusive. Now then let’s ask ourselves. Knowing the risks, did the people at PlatinumGames deliver on their promise with a game like this?
Astral Chain takes place in the year 2078 where humanity is on the brink of extinction and it’s remnants are in a city-like island called the Ark. They are attacked by interdimensional creatures called Chimeras and to combat them, an organization known as Neuron are called in to fight back. You play the role as a new recruit, who along with your twin sibling use controlled Chimeras called Legions to fight back against them. At first Neuron is assigned to stop them but as the plot progresses, the player will have to contend with agendas, betrayal and hidden truths behind the many secrets the Ark holds. Plus it does involve world saving, so there’s that.
From my experience, the story has me intrigued. What makes it better is that you are a part of the tale. You get to choose from either a male or female protagonist that you can name. The other is named Akira Howard. It doesn’t affect the plot much with what you choose because you will get the same experience. It’s a really good experience and it has enough to have you wanting more. This is Platinum Games we’re talking about and these guys don’t take things too seriously. It’s fun and intense, I love it.
Now if you’ve played any game made by them, you’ll feel familiar with this one. The only difference here is that you aren’t just controlling the character, you also control the character’s Legion. It’s an action-adventure, hack ‘n slash game similar to the likes of Bayonetta but it has other elements that makes it stand out. For starters, the game follows a mission based structure. Each chapter offers a variety of missions for the player to undertake. Sure they can do the main story if they wish but there are also optional objectives they can do. The optional missions depend but they do provide experience and items if they are completed. As for the main stuff, they center mostly on the plot and can lead to some intense moments.
Combat happens in real time as you not only have the protagonist but also your Legion do battle against enemies. It requires players to have the agent and Legion work in unison to get the job done. It can lead to them pulling off powerful attacks. You start off with the Sword Legion but as you progress, you unlock new Legions to use, offering new gameplay styles. There’s also an RPG element in which experience you gather can be used to strengthen your Legions. They can be used to boost their power along with acquiring new skills and abilities. You also can use money to level up your main weapons. Oh and did we forget that Legions can also be taken care of too? Just a thought. All of this will offer players a lot to do. No joke.
The game provides a lot and Platinum Games wants you to put a lot of time into this. If players just want to beat the game, it’ll take them roughly 10-15 hours to do. But the game’s length is multiplied with its three difficulty settings. I will give them credit that they add a Casual Mode for players that want to jump in and play. It also serves as a warm-up so that they can prep for the harder difficulties. The harder difficulties will test players to their limits and it’s better if you take them on with everything you have maxed out.
The game’s presentation is real solid. It has this feel of a post-apocalyptic plus futuristic style put together. The areas look great, whether it be in a bustling city or in an isolated other-dimension area that carries a hint of mystery. Music reflects on it too and some of the songs are good. You know it gets intense when the music tells you otherwise. However if people are expecting to play it in 60fps, prepare to be disappointed. It runs on 30 frames per second. Honestly it’s for the best because for what it’s worth, at least it’s stable and you can enjoy the game regardless. Voice acting is solid with talented performances along with moments that can make you chuckle at times. I had a few laughs but there were bits that really make you feel bad. It overall was just really awesome.
If I were to detail any negatives, it’s that the plot can be a little predictable and the game can sometimes throw a curve ball in terms of difficulty and challenge. Even in the Casual mode, the game sometimes challenges you and unless you know what you are doing, you’ll probably get whooped. Real bad. Other than that, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this game.
Astral Chain is a thrill ride that doesn’t stop until it reaches the end. The game is amazing, has gameplay that is addicting and replay value that makes you want to come back for more. And yes, I honestly want more. This game has it all and then some. Sure it’s exclusive with the Nintendo Switch but so what? It’s awesome. I enjoyed it and if you own a Switch, you should get this. It’s an immediate recommendation. I mean it!
I give Astral Chain a 9 out of 10. It’s worth your time and money. I recommend it. Seal of approval!