Nintendo Switch and Nier Automata fans both have something to rejoice about. It’s the next game from Nier’s lead designer Takahisa Taura, Astral Chain which was officially announced during a Nintendo Direct presentation back in February. Other credits under Mr. Taura’s belt include Bayonetta 2 and Star Fox Zero. All of which are critically and commercially successful entries in the video game industry.
So what is Astral Chain all about? Should you jump on the hype bandwagon? Read us break down all we have on the game as of now and decide for yourself if it catches your attention.
Everything You Need To Know About Astral Chain
Being in development at Platinum Games, Astral Chain is being directed solely by Takahisa Taura and the art design has been given in control of popular manga artist, Masakazu Katsura. It is set for launch on 30th August and will be a Nintendo Switch exclusive.
Story and Setting
The events of the game take place in the year 2043, so by the time-frame alone, you can guess a cyberpunk-ish setting for Astral Chain, and that’s true. The collision of some meteors with the Earth has resulted in a devastating situation leaving wormholes almost everywhere. Inhabitants of the world have no choice but to take refuge on an artificial city on an island, The Ark and survive there.
However, wormholes aren’t the only menace, as monsters known as Chimera, also emerge to wreak havoc on the newly-founded city. This comes in the form of spreading a red deteriorating substance known as Corruption which causes the humans to enter Chimera’s dimension, the Astral Plane and remains trapped therein forever.
To combat this grave danger, our heroes have set up a task force known as the Neuron. The representatives or soldiers within this force are equipped with a special weapon type, Legion. The element derived for such weapons also came from Chimera, though it was tinkered and tweaked to now serve at their disposal and help them fight against the Chimera.
Taking part in this conflict, the protagonists are a couple of rookies learning the ropes and getting the hang of the full power of the Legion and how to effectively use it to bring an end to the fight with Chimera.
Judging from the plot points above, you already have a sense of how dense the narrative might get as there are many elements at play here. It’ll be interesting to see how the story folds both for our characters and the world itself as we transition between the cool action sequences of Bayonetta and the profound emotional moments of Nier Automata.
Structure Of World And Missions
Described as a middle ground between the huge open environments of Nier: Automata and the smaller linear areas of Bayonetta, players will be able to explore and carry out side-activities like discovering collectibles and secret levels, interacting with vending machines and more. You can also clean out the trash on the side of the streets for some extra cash.
The developers behind the game also cited that the game will have an overall chapter structure like that of Bayonetta but that the missions will be elaborate to flesh out characters and stories like Nier: Automata did. The game also offers a chance to customize your starting character.
Gameplay And Mechanics
Taking control of two twin-characters, one male and one female, you’ll be intricately connected to your Legion via the Astral Chain. These are magically powered weapons ranging from short-ranged quick weapons like Sword Legion to long-ranged ones like Arrow Legion.
Moreover, they can also have other attributes including those suiting a defensive approach or being supportive in nature. Players can switch between five Legion weapon types, according to the circumstances.
Balancing between the police work and the more action-heavy parts of the game, you’re granted an augmented reality device known as IRIS. This device lets you track down and analyze any cues like footprints to create a timeline of possible events.
Legion is also useful here since it can remove obstacles in the environments or help you solve puzzles. Once you’ve carried out the detective-work, you’d likely be led to the source of such disturbance which is usually a boss enemy.
When it comes to the combat, the story and action sequences are designed in a way that facilitates the smooth alteration between the two characters. Your Legion will move irrespective of your character’s actions and has its own stamina bar and health. In its nature and functions, it reminded us of Nero’s Devil Breakers from Devil May Cry 5.
The chain of the Legion can also be used in other interesting ways like tripping over the enemy, wrapping it around them and holding them in a single spot, and like a slingshot for easier traversal. Legion weapons can be upgraded via an expanded skill tree system to unlock even more powerful extensions to combos and finishers called “Sync”.