Astral Chain Review | Nintendo Switch

Astral Chain Review | Nintendo Switch

From developer Platinum Games, Astral Chain
feels like an evolution of the game studio as a whole. Astral Chain combines the best of Platinum’s
staple designs, fun action and now open worlds with sprinkles of rpg element wrapped in a
riveting story. Taking place in the distant future of 2078,
Astral Chain crafts a cyberpunk world with humanity at war against these interdimensional
creatures known as the Chimera. They come from the dimension known as the
Astral Plane. The chimera has been invading to take innocent
civilians back to the Astral Plane, all while leaving red matter that’s been slowly corrupting
everything in sight. To combat them, humanity’s police force
has begun using legions, these robotic servant creatures chained to police officers. Once Chimeras themselves now turned allies,
these Persona like figures are bound to you by the astral chain, helping to investigate
and fight your case files. You play as one of two twins that were adopted
by the police force chief. You can either play as the female or male
character while the one not chosen is defaulted as your sibling partner named Akira. You, Akira, and the rest of the police force,
work to respond to the latest Chimera attacks all while investigating their intentions,
origins and reasoning for the invasions. Along the way you’ll get to know the many
personalities of the police force ranging from the lowest to the highest ranks. While not the most unique personalities in
a story, what makes them interesting is the time spent on getting to know them through
the many conversations and cutscenes. Sadly, the character that seems to get left
behind is the main protagonist. While your sibling Akira speaks, reacts and
is a voice in many vital conversations, your character just nods and stares. It breaks the connection I felt with characters
when I wanted to be able to respond and be a voice in the situation, only to sort of
just be there. Outside of those moments, I felt captivated
by Astral Chain’s narrative. It paints a world that’s fun to walk through
with characters you want to see succeed. Needless to say, this was one adventure that
took hold of me and kept me hooked, hoping this isn’t the last I see of this world. Astral Chain is one part investigating and
one part action combat that you’ve come to know from Platinum Games. After creating your own character, you’re
brought into the police force to embark on missions against the Chimera. Missions are broken up into investigating
reports from civilians about paranormal activity. Usually that means someone has gone missing
or something got destroyed. Regardless of the matter, it’s up to the
police to go around looking for clues with the iris hologram system and interviewing
witnesses. The iris hologram system is something the
police can activate at anytime, it gives further details on the objects you’re looking at. For example, some npcs might ask you a quiz
regarding personal information. Using the IRIS scanner, you can determine
certain details of the character like their age, name and so on. This comes into play when analyzing foreing
chimera materials or investigating someone that could be lying. Your legion also helps you out on investigations. These robots that are chained to you can eavesdrop
on far away suspects, invisible them. Other platforming sections let you use Legions
to make far away jumps or reach objects to far for your own grasp. I didn’t expect a lot of puzzles or platforming
out of Astral Chain but I was pleasantly surprised by how well they were executed. Later sections had me working in totem with
my legion, setting off multiple switches or levers at the same time. After completing an investigation area, missions
would normally throw you into the astral plane, looking for a missing person, item or just
taking on a chimera. These combat areas were a blast! Combat sort of feels like a mix of classic
platinum action with a bit of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Persona. You see you can control yourself and your
legion to some extent. As the game carries on, you’ll unlock new
legions like personas that you can switch between the middle of combat. Each of these legions features a different
fighting style that can be chained into combos. Like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, you can summon
these allies pushing them to or away from an enemy while they auto attack. That leaves you to controlling the main character
that can switch between range and melee weapons to land attacks on the chimera. There’s a lot to manage here as two separate
entities attack the enemy. However, the two can work together to land
these chain binds, locking up or tripping enemies, opening up a time for a big attack. Learning the perfect chain between legions
and executing these big attacks were some of the best moments in combat. They only got increasingly better with the
new abilities and upgrades I unlocked. Using the points I earned from completing
missions, I was able to upgrade the skills and stats of my character and legions. Though the combat has a learning curve to
it, if you practice and adapt, the end result is entertaining and satisfying. Luckily if you just want to experience the
story, there is a difficulty option that significantly down plays the challenges of combat. While the gameplay essentially gets autoplayed,
you’ll be able to experience the story for what it is without the worry of being able
to beat bosses. You do have the option to play co-op with
a friend, one person controls the human while the other controls the Legion. However this was more chaotic than useful. Having single control of both is what lead
to fantastic damage dealing combos that only proved to be more difficult to execute with
two people. Despite being A Platinum Games title, this
doesn’t feature the staple 60 fps gameplay most have come to know with the studio. I don’t think that’s a problem though. Astral Chain finds a balance between performance
and action combat, it looks good. Astral Chain’s world looks like the anime
take on Cyberpunk 2077. The art style is beautiful to both look at
and play through. Playing in dock mode featured a dynamic resolution
that ranged between 720p and 900p, usually standing somewhere in the middle. As for portable mode, resolution typically
stayed at 720p though dropping some visual effects like the antialiasing around character
models. Thanks to the smaller display on the Switch,
it wasn’t noticeable or as impactful as you’d think it’d be. The end result is a fun action game that runs
pretty smoothly at 30fps for the most part. Astral Chain features one of the best soundtracks
platinum has put out with a game, rivaling the likes of Nier Automata. Most tracks feature a masterfully mixed array
of electronic and metal songs. Just when you think they’ve hit their peak,
bits of a piano and a choir sneak their way into the performance that feels like the cherry
on top of it all. To call it anything but a masterpiece would
be crime. The amazing music is paralleled by some fantastic
performance from the voice actors on this project. If you’ve played any JRPGS or watched any
anime dubs in the last few years, you’ll certainly recognize a few voices. What I wasn’t so much a fan of was the lip
sync with the English performances. They got a bit distracting at times but not
to the fault of performance, rather the script and animation. Astral Chain is another great addition to
both the list of reasons to pick up a Nintendo Switch and library of remarkable platinum
projects. The world and story of Astral Chain is enthralling
with combat that’s fun and rewarding for those investing their time to mastering combos. It’s presented in a lovely artstyle that
at times shows the power deficiency of the hardware, a minimal one.

23 thoughts on “Astral Chain Review | Nintendo Switch

  1. Hey everyone! Thanks for clicking on, liking and commenting on the review! Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming the console to beat this year. I feel like we only just got Fire Emblem Three Houses and we're already on to the next big game for the system! So excited to see what gets announced for it at this supposed September Direct!

  2. Heard the developers of this game had to persuade or beg customers to buy the limited edition package on social media due to its underwhelming orders and pre-orders..

  3. While this is an excellent review, I have to disagree with your statement concerning the soundtrack. When measured up against the unbelievably hype and memorable soundtracks Platinum has had in the past for titles like Bayonetta, Anarchy Reigns, MGR: Revengeance, and Automata, the Astral Chain soundtrack feels a bit samey and just melts into the background during gameplay for me. It's not a bad soundtrack by any means, I just can't agree that it rivals any of the aforementioned ones.

  4. >says combat is a mix between traditional Platinum, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Persona

    That sounds like a dream come true.

  5. I'm finding it a very mixed bag…bit padded, very inconsistent even in the action…the first 20mins was amazing but then it went downhill. Definitely not up there with Bayonetta and for me would be the 5th or 6th best game the great atsushi inaba has been exec producer. Glad their next is Bayo 3

  6. Totally agree with you ! Amazing surprises from Nintendo this year… they just keep coming !!!
    Gameplay get so great when you start to master it ! And you totally get invested into the characters.
    Only downside for me is that this game made me realize how bad fire emblem 3H graphics are !! 😅

  7. The 4th game I wish we at Sony got that Switch got…. just an amazing game and I recommend it to any switch owner. Was a fun review. @Luis keep saying WHY you like what you like and WHY what did NOT work did not work for you 🙂 good stuff. Here is too seeing you, the channel and your equipment and production value climb higher and higher 🙂

  8. I’ve liked this game so far! I really wish that there was an large open world with connected areas instead of just boxes that you are stuck in each level but it’s not like it ruined anything for me. Amazing review as always!

  9. I love your reviews, but if I could add a bit of critique to this one, especially, it’s that you seem like you’re rushing things. If there’s one thing that brought me to this channel, it’s your passion. The GRIS review, especially, won me over. I know it’s a crazy game season, and there’s a ton of amazing games out (and arriving soon) but I would love a tiny bit more of the “calming, calculated” Luis, vs this new frantic style. (Just my opinion, still love the content, cheers!)

  10. Nice review, Luis. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I'm hoping I do too when I get my hands on it this week! Did you see that 1/5 star review by the Independent newspaper?

  11. Really loved the editing for this one Luis. All of the transitions felt just right and I really like the little bit of extra graphic design detail you added. This game looks so dope.

  12. I'm very impressed how this game looks on the Nintendo switch I'll indeed pick this game up when I finally buy a switch soon!

  13. Astral Chain is currently being review bombed on Metacritic. If you enjoyed the game please consider writing up a quick review if you have the time.

  14. This game is a masterpiece. Geat story, wonderful presentation, and amazing gameplay.
    Definitely my goty and one of the very best games of this gen, up there with games like botw, witcher 3, rdr2, Hollow Knight, Ori, etc.

  15. I really want to get this game, but I'm tired of buying games day one knowing they will go on sale in a few months.

    But… it's a Nintendo game so Astral Chain may or not go on sale this holiday.

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