The Nintendo Switch has proven to be incredibly successful for Nintendo, thanks in part to the large amount of varied exclusive games that it has. While the system has plenty of first party exclusives, Nintendo has nabbed a few second party exclusives, such as PlatinumGames’ “Astral Chain."
“Astral Chain” is an action-adventure game set in 2078. Humanity is at the brink of extinction thanks to attacks from creatures known as Chimeras, an inter-dimensional species that bring destruction and ruin.
The only thing standing between the Chimeras and the complete destruction of humanity is Neuron, a police task force which captures Chimeras and uses their powers for good.
Players take on the role of one of the adopted twins of Neuron captain Maximillian Howard. The two set out to fight Chimeras and bring peace back to the world after they are given captured Chimeras, which are known as “Legions.”
Before I even get into the stellar gameplay of “Astral Chain,” I feel obligated to mention how much the story hindered my enjoyment of the game. Its over-the-top, overly dramatic feel always had my eyes rolling. The drama, paired with embarrassingly bad lip flaps and some pretty cheesy voice acting, makes the game feel like an old Japanese movie poorly translated into English.
After only a few hours into the game, I found myself constantly skipping dialogue and cutscenes that had nothing to do with gameplay. While this didn’t ruin the game for me per se, it did leave a bad taste in my mouth that made it hard to want to turn the game on.
However, when I actually was playing the game, I was having a blast. There is a reason why PlatinumGames has such a good reputation in the video game industry: they truly are the masters of action games.
“Astral Chain” was directed by Takahisa Taura, who previously directed fan favorite “Nier: Automata.” Additionally, it was supervised by Hideki Kamiya, creator of the “Devil May Cry” and “Bayonetta” series. These are some of the most highly regarded action games ever made, so it's no surprise that “Astral Chain” has stellar gameplay.
The game’s combat is a mix between attacking directly with your character and giving your Legion commands. Your Legion will attack automatically, but you can use it to do a variety of flashy attacks, such as tying enemies up with your Legion’s chain.
While combat starts out pretty simple and straight forward, the game gets more in-depth and complicated as you progress. You are given loads of customization options, from the color of your Legion or the outfit your character wears to the specific moves you can use during battle. Combat is like it should be in any good action game: Easy to learn, yet hard to master.
Even though the game felt like a trudge to get through at times due to the story, I still enjoyed my time with “Astral Chain” due solely to the gameplay. Action aficionados will no doubt get a lot of enjoyment out of this game. If over-the-top anime-esque plots aren’t your thing, you might want to pass on this one.