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Astral Chain - Out now and it's great!


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After over 9 hours of play, I'm afraid I've decided to call time on this. I really wanted to love it, and I even started to get on with the fighting system a bit more towards the end of my playtime, but I've struggled to properly enjoy it from the start and now that I'm about half-way through, ultimately, I don't like it enough to want to carry on.

 

There have been lots of comparisons between this and Bayonetta, but in my mind it's a lot more reminiscent of Nier Automata, another game I didn't get on with, and it's no surprise to learn that the director of this was the designer on Nier. Like Nier, I think the genre-spanning is to the game's detriment rather than its benefit. I know lots of people disagree and they find that these extras add variety, but for me, the stuff outside of combat - fetch quests, forced stealth, horrible platforming, dull exploration - feels poorly done and simply boring, while the combat itself feels too sporadic to be satisfying, with long gaps trundling around linear environments between lots of the battles. Whereas Bayo is a pure brawler, this feels like it's trying to do too many things at once and ends up baggy and over-complicated as a result, with many a half-baked mechanic that weighs the whole thing down. Cleaning your legions after each chapters, for example, or hoovering up all the red matter - it's tacked on busywork and I can't be done with it.

 

I may come back to it in the future to give it another try, but for the time being in going to stick my copy I'm Trading if anyone wants to give it a go. Clearly, from the other posts in this thread, I'm in the minority here.

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Just when I thought the game was over:

 

Spoiler

Another possibly dozen hours of solid, pure, hardcore combat presents itself to let you really let rip and revel in all that you have learned and been slowly coached in throughout the game.

 

Regardless of what you think of all the other elements of the game, this beats Devil May Cry 5 even for sheer over the top combat thrill. Where that game wins on singular focus, this wins on sheer variety.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Just saw this is a million seller 

 

Astral Chain – 1.08 million

 

Ive been playing this during the lockdown, it seemed like a lot to learn at first but it all clicks together for me and its second nature now. Combat has a good pace to promote changing forms so have made good use of all of the forms. 

 

One thing for me is that each level takes 2-4 hours with no comfortable place to stop in between (either no obvious save place or action/story keeps on pushing so would rather carry on) so I only play it on weekends now. 

 

Edit: music is great in this game too! 

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2-4 hours per level seems much too long an estimate. The whole game is only about 20 hours and there are 12 chapters, several of which are only half an hour long.

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I guess for investigations I try to do everything, and my stealth isn't the best. Thats true about the shorter chapters - but spending 30 mins then knowing the next chapter will be hours meant i just didnt start it (as not good jump off points) #moderngamerissues

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My regular gaming time is between 1 hour and 90 minutes a night, so I played this mainly in 1 hour slots.  As the game progressed, the chapters definitely got longer.  I ended up playing the investigations bit one night and the combat section the next with some running over, so 2 hours+ seems about right for my play style too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've now dumped a good 30 hours into this and I'm on the final full File.

 

I don't think this is Platinum's best game- that's Bayonetta 2- but it's probably their most confident. Only a studio on the top of their game could cram pretty much every good idea they've had bar Witch Time into one combat system, where you control two characters at once a lot of the time, and have it all not only work, but feel fantastic.

 

And there's just so MUCH of it. I don't usually replay character action games- one and done is fine by me- but I can totally see myself coming back to this to max out my Legions, collect all the toilet paper, do the photos, get the cats etc etc etc.

 

It has the swagger, scope and sensibility of an ambitious PS2 title, which I love. People aren't meant to make games like this any more, where one minute you're rescuing a cat and the next you're fighting 10 enemies simultaneously without getting hit once.

 

Looks great too. The main character walk/ run animation alone is superb.

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28 minutes ago, Spacehost said:

I've now dumped a good 30 hours into this and I'm on the final full File.

 

I don't think this is Platinum's best game- that's Bayonetta 2- but it's probably their most confident. Only a studio on the top of their game could cram pretty much every good idea they've had bar Witch Time into one combat system, where you control two characters at once a lot of the time, and have it all not only work, but feel fantastic.

 

And there's just so MUCH of it. I don't usually replay character action games- one and done is fine by me- but I can totally see myself coming back to this to max out my Legions, collect all the toilet paper, do the photos, get the cats etc etc etc.

 

It has the swagger, scope and sensibility of an ambitious PS2 title, which I love. People aren't meant to make games like this any more, where one minute you're rescuing a cat and the next you're fighting 10 enemies simultaneously without getting hit once.

 

Looks great too. The main character walk/ run animation alone is superb.

 

Have similar feelings to this, it's on pause for me at the moment with other stuff on the go but there is so much combat I feel like you almost have to stick to a certain discipline (dodge plus legion dashes/combo attacks, slow motion cuts, legion chain wrapping etc) more like an RPG ( hacker, tank etc :) )

 

Haven't given Bayonetta 2 a chance yet, but this is not quite up there with Nier Automata but for me that's a very special game indeed.

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Totally don’t get the complaints about the final boss. If you horde every single dollar and item like you should in a Platinum game and never use them at all ever, it’s easy to just barely beat the boss having churned through all the gear.

 

That’s maybe more my scrublording the game at 1am though.

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  • 2 months later...

Platinum really do not know how to start a game, do they?  Four hours in and I was ready to completely drop this; the tiny flashes of brilliance weren't proving enough to drag me through all the bullshit. But finally, finally, it's all starting to make sense and is actually giving me the opportunity to have a sustained fight so I can figure out what the hell is going on. 

 

I distinctly remember having the same feeling with Bayonetta and Vanquish; neither of which did I start to truly love until my second playthrough where I felt happy enough to skip all the cutscenes. 

 

I do think I'm going to really enjoy this now; and I think I may just give up on trying to find anything engaging about any of the characters or plot; but fuck me, that was hard going. 

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I played the PC version of Vanquish for the first time today and it's actually *gasp* not as good as I remember...

 

Astral Chain is so far ahead in terms of design, in terms of the right risk reward in the mechanics, tactility and general fun in the combat (even at half the frame rate), it's really quite stark how far Platinum have come.

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Continuing the theme of looking back into Platinum's past... I never actually played Bayonetta beyond the demo, and tried it again recently on PC - but somehow even that game feels like it's really aged a bit, despite how inventive it was at the time. The graphics also seem surprisingly drab now for such a visually ambitious title.

 

I then moved onto Metal Gear Rising, which seems to hold up much better, and I was enjoying a lot, despite the gameplay starting to feel a little limited in scope towards the end. The final boss can get to fuck though. Some significant levels of pure, weapons grade bullshit in that difficulty spike.

 

So Astral Chain is still the best. It's the Platinum game I would recommend to people now I think, as it succeeds as a complete package above everything else they've done.

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There's just a sort of opulence about Astral Chain - it takes the elements that Platinum have been known for in other games: giant epic boss battles, anime style ridiculous action set pieces, and mad as a box of frogs story and just turns them all up to 11, while also finding time to let you explore a bit and enjoy the world they've created so you have some time to breathe. Not to mention difficulty that is a pretty much perfect steadily rising curve, with manageable chunks of game play designed to learn and enjoy each new element as they are introduced at exactly the right time to keep things fresh.

 

I really really dig it.

 

Stealth sections are shit though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got a bit tired of this around mission 5...

 

HOWEVER I've recently returned to this and so glad I have, everything's started to click now and I'm upgrading my Legions and sync attacking/dodging my way through the fights. Now that I've settled on a fighting 'style' (I mean there are lots of options of what you can do combat wise) it feels like Platinum's best combat for me.

 

Currently on mission 9 but can see myself returning to earlier cases and wanting to max out all the upgrades once I'm done.

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Just started this again. Played the first three files on casual to be honest found it a bit easy. So starting the next file on PT Standard. Will see how that goes. 

 

I suspect I have been drawn into thinking I'm good as this game. Well at least I can drop it down to casual later if I need to.

 

Have this Wonderful 101, Bayonetta now if just Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising could just make an appearance on Switch.

 

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39 minutes ago, Yuujiin said:

Just started this again. Played the first three files on casual to be honest found it a bit easy. So starting the next file on PT Standard. Will see how that goes. 

 

I suspect I have been drawn into thinking I'm good as this game. Well at least I can drop it down to casual later if I need to.

 

Have this Wonderful 101, Bayonetta now if just Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising could just make an appearance on Switch.

 


Yeah get on PT standard ASAP. Can’t believe it keeps you on casual by default like it does. almost killed the game for me out the gate.

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bUT PLaTinUm gAmEs aRE TOo hARd

 

Yeah, PT Standard (or Pat Standard as my iPad insists on calling it) is the only way to fly. Don’t think I often saw the Game Over screen at that either, but every defib felt like a thousand failures.

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Standard is pretty fair difficulty, much easier than their usual but still challenging enough to be quite thrilling and cathartic. 

 

 

Amazing game, their most polished and complete experience I'd say. 

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