Home Arts & Entertainment ‘Astral Chain’: A detective game like no other

‘Astral Chain’: A detective game like no other

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in-game screenshot of Astral Chain player character
Nintendo / Graphic by Gavin Ross, 42Fifty

Rating: 8/10

The new game franchise “Astral Chain” was created by Platinum Games and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. This first instalment holds a vast and complex world never seen before. It has lived up to the expectations that were set by the first trailer of the game, and has even exceeded expectations in many areas. While it does have its flaws, the game comes out in the end as a new successful game in Platinum Games’ repertoire.

Immersive story

To start off, this game is incredibly mysterious and fulfilling and provides a wonderful story, leaving you wanting more as you explore the vast levels the game provides. The side quests even throw short and unexpected storylines out for the player to enjoy, such as taking quizzes that a group of kids known as the “Quiz Kids” have made, or even finding a toilet to use in every level.

As a police officer/detective character, the story can be quite ambiguous at times. But almost everything gets answered, and blends together to form one of the greatest stories ever introduced by Platinum.

The cinematic cutscenes that accompany the story are fantastic. From great fight scenes to even the smallest battle intros, every cinematic has a place and overall improves the quality of the game and its story. They eliminate all doubt of the games graphical capabilities, and might even make the player forget that the game runs on lower graphic capabilities in the first place.

An exploration extravaganza

The game is focused around exploration in the vast worlds you can find, whether it be on the floating city known as The Ark, or in the elusive world of the Astral Plane. Every world has a fair amount of space to explore and plenty of potential for intense battles. It’s no substitute for Nintendo’s previous open-world success’ such as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” but it does satisfy one’s urge to explore and learn more about the world they’re playing in.

The Iris feature allows for the player to never get lost. It identifies new story elements for the player in a manner that makes sense to the story. As a sort of detective, the Iris well help get the job done and leave no room for boring and empty moments through the game.

Simple-yet-satisfying battles

The combat system in the game is relatively easy to get a grasp of, but still provides some great interactivity and intense combat experiences to keep the player occupied. The player may even be craving more battles just to experience the eye-opening visuals and satisfying combo fighting system again!

It can be a daunting task to learn the combat at first, but what seems like a complicated strategy system will become second nature to the player rather quickly. The player can simply change weapons, rack up huge and hearty combos, and control their Legion companion to fight alongside them. This creates a dynamic battle environment that keeps the player on the edge of their seat, while also not threatening to destroy all the progress the player had previously made. 

Pacing

The game starts slow, but the plot progression eventually grows much faster. Sticking with the game is very rewarding, as the game just gets better and better as it goes on. Battles become more and more frequent, and the story slowly comes to fruition. It might be hard early on to stick with the game, not knowing anything about the world and playing through the slow introductory levels, but by around the third chapter of the game you won’t want to put your controller down.

Lackluster multiplayer

For those looking for a multiplayer experience, this game is probably not what you’re looking for. Not only is managing the Legion difficult as a second player, having a two-player experience isn’t worth the effort that goes into it. Since the game is meant to be a single-player story-oriented game, having a second player play as the Legion doesn’t amount to much of anything. The two player experience isn’t unique, and since the player in single-player mode already controls both characters. It just simply feels like the players have lost half of their features while playing together. This, in return, creates a dysfunctional gameplay experience. 

The verdict

“Astral Chain” is a wonderful introduction to a new series being developed by Platinum Games. It provides an interactive experience and addictive storyline for the player to take part in, and will give the player hours of enjoyment. Despite its slight shortcomings, this game has risen in the ranks and become one of the best games for the Nintendo Switch.

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