Astral Chain

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Astral Chain
Astral-Chain.jpg
We Are Legion!
Genre: Action
Adventure
Hack 'n' Slash
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 30, 2019
Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: Nintendo
Made in: Japan


Astral Chain is a 2019 action-adventure hack and slash video game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Nintendo. First announced during a February 2019 Nintendo Direct and having an estimated five-year development cycle, it was released on August 30, 2019, for the Nintendo Switch.

Why It Rocks

  1. While many PlatinumGames developed titles, such as the Bayonetta series or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, feature awesome and decently fun combat systems, the one in this game is unique in that you control two characters at once — in this case, a Neuron officer and a Legion — to pull off all sorts of crazy combos.
    • It is especially satisfying whenever you pull off Sync Attacks with your Legion, which can be executed by pressing the ZL trigger whenever a blue light flashes onscreen after completing a string of attacks.
  2. Stylish animesque presentation, with gorgeous cel-shaded graphics that really make the game pop, and great character and monster designs by renowned manga artist, Masakazu Katsura.
  3. The soundtrack — composed by Satoshi Igarashi — is great, with the EDM inspired score really helping to sell the cyberpunk setting of the game. The vocal tracks — sung by William Aoyama of the Japanese boy band, INTERSECTION, and Filipino pop singer, Beverly — "Savior," "Dark Hero" and "The Answer" are also a good listen.
  4. Up to five different Legions to play with, each with their own playstyle and having different strengths and weaknesses.
    • The Sword Legion serves as the Jack of all trades, providing a balance of power and speed.
    • The Arrow Legion excels in long range combat, which is especially useful against flying enemies and those with ranged attacks.
    • The Arm Legion can be used to lift heavy objects the others can't, as well as hover over large puddles of goop that can slow the player down and move floating platforms around.
    • The Beast Legion, while unable to hover like the others, can be used to cover a lot of ground while riding it, as well as dig for hidden items and run across vanishing platforms in the Astral Plane.
    • The Axe Legion, while by far the slowest, easily has the strongest attacks and can even shield the player with a forcefield to withstand enemy attacks or stave off environmental hazards like poisonous gas or fire.
  5. A great cast of characters, such as the clumsy but adorable Neuron Officer, Marie Wentz, and the violent and mysterious leader of the Hermits, Kyle Merkulov.
  6. Great world-building, especially once you get to File 06 and explore the quarantined Zone 09.
  7. A large variety of enemies to fight, whether they be chimeras, aberrations, or Hermits.
  8. Awesome boss battles peppered throughout.
    • Some of the most notable fights include:
      • The Enceladus you encounter in the Astral Plane near the end of File 02.
      • All of the fights against Jena's Homunculi that you encounter over the course of the game:
        • Homunculus α in the Ark Mall at the end of File 04.
        • Homunculus β in Zone 09 at the end of File 06.
        • Homunculus γ on top of a rooftop at the end of File 07.
        • Homunculus Δ in the center of Harmony Square at the beginning of File 09.
      • The one-on-one fight against Kyle after you dispatch his henchmen in the middle of File 06.
      • The fights with Jena at the end of File 09, starting on the helicopter pad atop Neuron HQ against her Aberrant form, then in the middle of a highway against her Asymptote form, and finally, in the sky above the highway while running across flying rubble against her Apotheosis form.
      • The fight against the Legion-fused Akira in the Ark sewers at the end of File 10.
      • The final battle against the chimeric abomination created by Yoseph Calvert, Noah, especially Noah Prime, at the end of File 11.
  9. You can customize your character with all kinds of clothing and accessories, including a costume of Neuron's very own mascot, Lappy.
  10. Lots of replay value in replaying stages for higher ranks or customizing your Legions' builds with Ability nodes you can collect from defeated enemies.
  11. Skill trees where you can level up and unlock all kinds of skills for each of the five Legions.
    • Each of the five Legions share certain skills, but they also have skills that are exclusive to them.
      • The Sword Legion can summon swords that will circle around the player and harm enemies on contact and launch a projectile that travels across the chain it's attached to.
      • The Arrow Legion can launch projectiles that will temporarily slow enemies down and make it rain arrows behind them.
      • The Arm Legion can create pseudo black holes that will pull enemies in and fire bullets while spinning around.
      • The Beast Legion can stun enemies with a howl and create an electrified chain that will harm them on contact.
      • The Axe Legion can summon shields around the player that will protect them from three hits and plant bombs that will explode on contact.
  12. The end of File 10, where your character fights their berserk Legion-fused twin after merging with their Legion for the second time with "Dark Hero" playing in the background, is beyond hype!
  13. A large number of post-game challenges become available after you've cleared the main campaign, putting your Legionic combat skills to the test, especially the R3 challenges.

Bad Qualities

  1. The story is pretty mediocre, with some plot points you can see coming a mile away, such as Yoseph's reveal as the main villain.
  2. At times, the game's framerate dips when there are so many things happening onscreen, this is especially noticeable in the early parts of File 07 and File 08.
  3. The graphics, while gorgeous, can be a little hard on the eyes for some players whenever there are tons of bright lights or flashes onscreen, especially if they suffer from photosensitive epilepsy, similar to the final boss of Balan Wonderworld pre-patch or the Braindance sequences in Cyberpunk 2077.
    • Speaking of graphics, if you're not a fan of Masakazu Katsura's style, then the characters' faces can look a little weird or sometimes bit hideous to you. The NPC's in particular have less detailed faces than any of the main characters.
  4. There are a couple of stealth sections that break the flow of the game. Luckily, only a few of them are mandatory to get through.
  5. Sometimes, the English voice acting can be pretty awkward or cheesy for some people and players. Some characters, like Marie and Kyle, sound fine while others, like Jena, suffer from bad direction.
  6. The game has one of the oddest uses of a silent protagonist in recent memory, especially since your character has some sort of established backstory, being the older of two twins who joined the Neuron Task Force, as well as having a mysterious past about Zone 09.
  7. The very start of the game and near the end of File 09 have motorcycle sections, and they are pretty janky compared to the rest of the game.
  8. The game's co-op mode, where one player controls the officer while the other controls the Legions, is rather clunky.

Reception

When it was released in August of 2019, Astral Chain received critical acclaim from critics and players alike, with many praising the dual character combat, presentation, and world-building, though it received some minor criticism for its use of a silent protagonist.

By the end of 2019, Astral Chain had managed to sell over 1 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games on the Switch.

Trivia

Videos

Reviews

The Soundtrack

Comments


avatar

SuperStreetKombat

3 months ago
Score 1
It's a shame this game doesn't get as much attention as Nier Automata. I wonder why that is?
avatar

AlexMH97

3 months ago
Score 1

If I had to guess, it probably had to do with Control being released in the same week, and from what I searched on YouTube, besides promotional trailers, there weren't really many commercials for Astral Chain outside of Japan.

Still, considering that Takahisa Taura himself stated that the game sold above expectations and how it avoided the same fate as The Wonderful 101 when that game launched on the Wii U back in 2013, it's safe to say that Astral Chain found an audience, and there are plenty of people like myself who are big fans of the game.
avatar

SuperStreetKombat

3 months ago
Score 1
I really enjoyed this game, too, and I find it very original with elements like the free-roam (while still level-based), having a creature, in this case, a Legion, fight alongside you, and side quests that you don't normally see in other hack-and-slash games.
avatar

AlexMH97

3 months ago
Score 1
Well, now that Astral Chain has a permanent residence over at the House of Mario, it'll be interesting to see what will become of the IP in the future.
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RaymesisEvil

27 days ago
Score 0
This game for me is mediocre
avatar

SuperStreetKombat

27 days ago
Score 0
Why do you say that?
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RaymesisEvil

27 days ago
Score 0
Why?
avatar

SuperStreetKombat

27 days ago
Score 0
Yeah, why do you think this game is mediocre?
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RaymesisEvil

27 days ago
Score 0
To begin with, the combat system is more bland and mediocre than flashy and fun, the soundtrack is not impressive, it is generic and forgettable, it seems more like a cyberpunk style racing game but almost nonexistent, the characters, without comments, are really lackluster , the character designs are very ugly, especially Lappy, they look uglier that makes me want to bleed my eyes seeing these designs.
avatar

AlexMH97

26 days ago
Score 0
If you don't like the game, then that's perfectly fine, but I gotta ask, where did that whole cyberpunk style racing game bit come from? If it's the motorcycle sections you're referring to, then I'll agree that they're not the most elegant thing I've played, but like, most of the gamplay revolves around the two-character combat.
avatar

RaymesisEvil

26 days ago
Score 0
I am going to be extremely aggressive, due to the insane hatred of this game, I am not going to buy it because I am going to waste my money on this aberration, I better buy myself Balan Wonderworld (despite being a terrible game, it catches my attention and I find it passable) and Fire Emblem Three Houses (Disturbingly, I have neutral to this game (along with Balan Wonderworld) but want to give it a try)
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AlexMH97

26 days ago
Score 0
So, wait, you mentioned earlier that you didn't like the game – finding it mediocre – but then you follow it up with saying that you have no interest in buying it. What?
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SuperStreetKombat

25 days ago
Score 0
Yeah, how do you dislike this game if you've never even played it before?
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RaymesisEvil

25 days ago
Score 0
In order not to confuse this, I saw it on YouTube since I have no money, due to the more expensive prices of the Switch, sorry for being hypocritical.
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AlexMH97

one day 6 hours 16 minutes ago
Score 1
Whoever put the videos on here, I thank you.
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RaymesisEvil

one day 6 hours 11 minutes ago
Score 0
I went

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