There are a few developers out there that, once you hear they’re making a game, you know exactly what you’re in for. If you hear Gamefreak is making something, you know it’s gonna be a Pokemon kind of game. If you hear CD Projekt Red is making a game, you’re getting an open world RPG kind of thing, same for […]
There are a few developers out there that, once you hear they’re making a game, you know exactly what you’re in for. If you hear Gamefreak is making something, you know it’s gonna be a Pokemon kind of game. If you hear CD Projekt Red is making a game, you’re getting an open world RPG kind of thing, same for Bioware (or used to, thanks Anthem). But nobody, and I mean NOBODY, exemplifies this reputation preceding them quite like Platinum Games. If you play literally any of their titles and you know you’re in for a stylish-ass character action game that is full of over-the-top action, wacky humor, and gameplay that combines combat depth and style, not only as a concept, but as a mechanic. Bayonetta, Metal Gear: Rising Revengeance, Nier: Automata, Wonderful 101, all of these games weren’t terribly commercially successful, but every single one of them just oozes their trademark style and action, which leads me to Astral Chain, their most recent release. While all of their games have their own signature that are uniquely Platinum, I feel confident in saying that this game is the one that exemplifies what makes a Platinum game, a Platinum game.
The story for Astral Chain is anime as all hell, fitting considering it’s influences aren’t really worn on it’s sleeves, but instead they made a full tracksuit out of them, and is now running around with a megaphone, screaming how much they love them. You are a future cop, given control of a Legion, what is essentially a enslaved demon thing from the Astral Plain, which you are able to control with your Astral Chain (The game REALLY loves Astral stuff), tasked with fighting other things from the Astral Plane that are invading, fighting, killing, and kidnapping people (and sometimes cats). You and your twin are a rookie cops who were just put into the division that gives people these legions, that only people who have them can see, which is captained by your adopted father, run by a super shady scientist guy, and just in time for a terrorist to basically declare war on society and pretty much everything you, as a rookie cop, stand for. It’s basically Blade Runner meets Neon Genesis Evangelion taking place in the Ghost in the Shell city with JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure stands thrown on top for good measure (the final boss is literally just a JoJo villain). It does what pretty much every Platinum games does, where it alternates between super serious to super goofy and back again without missing a beat, and creates a world that genuinely feels fleshed out and like there is a lot to explore, something you’ll be doing plenty of.
So the story is all well and good, and sets up for some great twists and turns, but with this being a Platinum game, the star is the style and the action, which they have pulled from their extensive playbook and pull out all the tricks. Each legion you have access to has their own play style which you can switch up mid-combat, dodges and perfectly timed counters lead to sync attacks that let you have a unique combo for that specific situation and that specific legion, and you can use the chain to tie enemies up for more damage and more combos. While the default human move-set is rather sparse at the beginning, as you level up and gain access to more legions and moves, it really opens up and lets you tackle any combat sequence in a huge number of way, always chasing that S+ ranking. The style ranking keeps you coming back and trying to master the combat against the game’s HUGE roster of enemies, and if you’re just trying to get a feel for it all, the easier difficulty lets you figure everything out without having to deal with any of the rankings.
If any of this sounds familiar to any other Platinum game you may have played, that’s because they’ve taken pretty much any mechanic they’ve ever put into any of their other games and thrown it in here as well. The Sync attack system is pretty much taken directly out of Transformers: Devastation, using the same sound effects and a flash, perfect dodges give you a slow-mo effect that lead into sync attacks that are pretty much Witch Time from Bayonetta, the sword legion has a bunch of moves that Raiden has from Rising: Revengeance on top of every legion having the Zandatsu, a instakill mechanic that heals you. Controlling your legion independently to traverse the world and using the chain to trap people is just like Wonderful 101‘s drawing mechanics. The list goes on, and each one of these mechanics has been adapted and refined to fit this game, using their their previous games as a springboard to evolve them into something better.
Platinum games was created on the idea of taking risks and making noise. The guys responsible for Devil May Cry, Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and making Resident Evil 4 change from a classic Resident Evil game to the masterpiece it is today, started their own thing dove headfirst into making what they really wanted in a video game. While many of their games haven’t sold particularly well, they’ve built up a fierce and loyal following that swear by them and their games, and this game seems like a game for them. I’m not going to sit here and act like the game is a 10/10 masterpiece that has no flaws. It has some issue’s performance-wise because the Switch can only render at 30 fps, and the slow drip feed of mechanics means it takes a while before you can do all the crazy stuff, but that’s not the point of this article. If you’ve played a Platinum game before, give this one a try and you’ll see everything you love about their games, but if you haven’t played one before, this is the game to start, because it is a culmination of all their games before it, making it the most Platinum game to ever Platinum.
Posted by Austin Hamblen, Owner and Main writer of Endlessmonkey.com