Preview: Astral Chain for Nintendo Switch

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In the year 2078, humanity is gradually succumbing to an interdimensional race recognized as the Chimera. These otherworldly beasts lead to chaos, corrupting just about every human they touch with red matter, and weakening their bodies with a sickness that transforms them into a redshift creature. But there is a remedy. In this cyberpunk metropolis recognized as The Ark, the Neuron Process Force wield Legion – wild creatures from the Astral Plane that have been tethered to a human with kinetic force – and only they can assist neutralize the threat. With the Legion’s exceptional skills, innocent citizens can be saved from this abhorrent illness. But when a fatal moment among Legion and Neuron comes to pass, these at Neuron HQ ought to come across an option path to assist save humankind.

Created by PlatinumGames and directed by Takahisa Taura (NieR: Automata) beneath the supervision of Hideki Kamiya (Bayonetta, Devil Might Cry), Astral Chain is an intense, wildly climatic JRPG with no holds barred. However there is beauty in this action-adventure. From their wistful and sharp eyes down to their sensible clothes, Masakazu Katsura’s (ZETMAN, Video Girl Ai) artistic merit brings Astral Chain’s characters to life. Of course, this cyberpunk megacity does not just appear great, it feels terrific as well. Teeming with references to other gaming franchises, Astral Chain requires some of its slick combat from Bayonetta, a chunk of lore from Xenoblade and Devil Might Cry, and a handful of tiny puzzle mechanisms from Detroit: Turn out to be Human – all at 1st glance. A neat mixture that is bound to surprise and delight lots of Nintendo Switch players.

In the course of the game’s opening scenes, you will be thrown in at the deep finish (did we anticipate any significantly less?), facing down chimera in a higher-speed motorcycle race, whilst finding out how to dodge and attack with your X-Baton. Subsequent, you will assist an innocent bystander into a stretcher, watching as an Astral Gate opens adjacent to them, praying they do not get hurt. Immediately after you have slaughtered some enemies, you will group up with the rest of the Neuron and wield a Legion for the 1st time, counting down the minutes till a substantial Chimera requires stock of the predicament. By now, you have in all probability been bashed about a bit. So, as an alternative of patching us up, your catapulted onto a collapsing bridge, dodging just in time as substantial debris, automobiles, and even lorries are tossed your way. And that, my close friends, is just the tutorial.

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To contextualise, we’ll be covering up to File04 in our preview, which is about six-7 hours into Astral Chain. At this point, players will have unlocked two Legion forms – Sword and Arrow – each and every with their personal particular talent trees, unlockable skills and particular moves. A couple of red situations (primary storyline) have been solved, alongside some blue situations (side quests) as well. Our X-Baton has been upgraded to wield 3 weapon forms Blaster, Baton and Gladius. And ultimately, we’ve selected the Platinum Normal mode by way of the primary menu (recognized as the Legatus), which comes with two revives and Platinum ranking straight out of the box. Even though, as an aside, you are capable to switch your play style at any point in the chapter to either Casual (six revives) and Unchained (limitless revives), neither of which are ranked modes. As a neat bonus, if you play on Platinum Normal mode, you will unlock Platinum Ultimate mode for the chapter you have just completed.

Amongst File02 and File04, players will have the chance to discover The Ark, Neuron HQ and take on a handful of missions inside the Astral Plane. The finest location to get to grips with the game’s combat is inside the Coaching Space, positioned on B3 in Neuron’s HQ. Immediately after File02, we strongly advocate coming back to this location, as you will be capable to study further sync attacks with your Legion. Amongst chain jumping from foe to foe, to working with the Sword Slash to break by way of barriers, the combat mechanics really feel light and fresh. Understanding how to dodge enemy attacks is a ought to as well. Like Bayonetta, performing great dodges enables your character to initiate automatic combo attacks. Twinning this talent with synchronised Legion attacks implies enemies will turn to dust in no time.

Whilst your Legion is a wicked weapon in the field, you will will need to retain an eye on its Limiter gauge. Acting as a stamina bar, this gauge decreases as quickly as your Legion is sent out, depleting immediately really should it take a hit. Basically send out your Legion with ZL, target an enemy by pressing the R stick, and touch ZL once again to send it flying across to the enemy. You can quickly dismiss it with a swift touch of the R shoulder button. Should really you want to switch your Legion with a further, hit the Y button and decide on the Legion you want to send out. The Arrow Legion is extremely handy when taking down enemies or objects from terrific heights, whilst the Sword Legion is great for tighter spots throughout intense fights.

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Battle is not the only way you can use Legion. In the course of File03, Legion can be employed to assist throughout field investigation from cleaning up the red matter goop to improve your Police Rank to assisting stranded drones, cats and malfunctioning robots. Based on the Legion you wield, you will also be capable to interact with objects meant for distinct Legion forms to obtain uncommon supplies, or chain jump to tough-to-attain spots either on The Ark or in the Astral Plane. Plus, there’s many mini puzzles you will will need to resolve to progress deeper into the Astral Plane. Use your Arrow Legion’s potential to shoot faraway astral orbs, whilst slowing down time with the ‘focus’ strategy.

If you are a dab-hand at item gathering, a fan of exploration and enjoy a great investigative mystery, Astral Chain quickly ticks these boxes. In the course of File03, you will will need to query many witnesses to come across the perpetrator. Any clues will be quickly identifiable in red text, plus they’ll be automatically jotted down in your police notebook. Comparable to Xenoblade, dropped products are scattered across The Ark and can be identified with a blue stream of light, whilst skills and rarer products are yellow and purple. There are also many mini objectives that can be accessed throughout field exploration, such as the Toilet Fairy side quest and a camera for these hair-raising moments mid-battle.

With just more than 7 hours of playtime logged, Astral Chain is displaying no indicators of slowing down. As a combat-driven, emotionally intense action-adventure JRPG, it presents the telltale mechanics of a PlatinumGames title, with a pinch of anything particular. So far, it is each satisfying and difficult.

A copy of Astral Chain for preview purposes was supplied by Nintendo UK. A complete assessment of the game will be published in due course. 

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