By Michelle Lynn Tackett
What a great year it’s been for the Nintendo Switch. Link’s Awakening, Fire Emblem and Mario Maker 2 highlight some incredible games, but what about new IPs? That’s where Astral Chain comes in. Like a blaze of fire burning through the sky, it delivers a streak of action and excitement.
Humanity is being invaded by interdenominational creatures who threaten to wipe them out. Only an elite strike force called Neuron can stop them. You play as one of the twins who try to take down the demons. Your character has to stop Jana Anderson, who serves as the main villain in the game. The story has a Bladerunner flair to it. I won’t give away too much. This story needs to be experienced. It is a good story.
This game is gorgeous. The blue hues and the art style are amazing. The reflections and lighting bring the world to life. It’s like watching a stylized anime on your Nintendo Switch. The details are amazing from the sparks from the fire to the facial animations of the characters. Everything is lovingly detailed, making the world feel alive. You’ll feel like you’re living in this world.
This is where Platinum Games shine. The combat sounds complicated on paper, but you’ll figure it out with some practice. You control your character and call your legion out when you need them. The legion attacks by itself, but you can do certain attacks by button presses, or moving the control stick. This gives the game a fresh feel. It does take a while to get the hang of but flows like butter when you get the hang of it. The combat never feels overwhelming. It follows the old easy to learn, but hard to master philosophy that works so well for games like Bayonetta.
One of my favorite aspects of Astral Chain is the detective work. The Iris helps you see things to help you solve cases. Some cases are simple, while others take a while to complete. There are so many cases to solve, so it will take some time to solve them. Some think they slow down the flow of the game, but I find them refreshing. Solving cases will help your character get new clothing and upgrades.
One of the best soundtracks ever for a video game. The thumping techno, glaring punk rock and soaring rock will stick with you for a long time.
This is a challenging game, especially when you turn up the difficulty. There is a casual mode for noobs, but you can take the wheels off for experienced players. The boss fights are epic. The final boss is one of the best boss fights I’ve ever experienced. It takes skill to beat this game, but when you do, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.
The camera is distracting at times. When you’re in a firefight, the camera will get too close or go behind a wall and get stuck. This can be annoying, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. Some of the plot twists were predictable, and some of the moves will take lots of practice to get down. That may turn some newer players off.
Astral Chain is one of the best action games you’ll ever play. The gorgeous visuals, engaging plot, colorful character, and rich combat will keep you coming back long after the single-player campaign is over. If you own a Nintendo Switch, get it. If you don’t own a Switch, get one and get this masterwork of an action game from one of the best developers in the industry.
Grade: 4 Stars! Buckle up! You’re in for a wild ride!