Astral Chain is all style as you play a paranormal police officer
Cool concept, but still not sure how I feel about it.
I’ll be honest: I will play anything from Platinum Games. Platinum are one of the all-time best action game developers, from the criminally underrated Vanquish to the critically-acclaimed NieR: Automata. Their latest foray into the genre is the Nintendo Switch exclusive Astral Chain.
In Astral Chain you play as a police officer of sorts, a new member to the demon crack squad called Neuron, where you team up with an extra-dimensional being called a Legion in order to fight invisible, ultra-powerful monsters invading our world called Chimeras. It’s a lot and it is exactly as wild as it sounds. If you enjoy games where it feels like you’re diving headfirst into an anime, you’ll be right at home with Astral Chain.
I’ve played a fair amount of Astral Chain and I’m honestly not entirely sure how I feel about it
The visuals are absolutely stunning, I love the over-the-top theme of a futuristic world on the brink, and the music is great. The combat has plenty of fresh ideas, playing strongly to the duo dynamic of you as the frail, human police officer and your partner as a ludicrously strong Legion.
See, the two of you are chained together, with your chain being the only thing keeping the Legion – otherwise a destructive chimera – tame and fighting on your side. That chain isn’t just thematic, either, as you can use it to wrap up enemies, launch charging enemies across the map, and choke off demon spawn points.
I just think Astral Chain is sometimes clunky when it should be liquid-smooth, with fluidity being one of the hallmarks of Platinum titles. It’s not necessarily bad clunky, it just thunks when I expect it to whoosh. Even after several hours, I haven’t quite adjusted to it and I can’t tell if that means the game is bad, if it means it’s not for me, or if it means I’m just slow at finding my groove with it.
Here, see for yourself. I captured a sub-section of one mission, including the lead-in where you respond to an incident, the investigation of what happened, the (brief) pursuit, and the fight. It’s a reasonable cross-section of Astral Chain, albeit a rather early slice where you don’t have access to full options like on-the-fly Legion swapping.
This video was made possible with a code from the developer. Astral Chain is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
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