Astral Chain release date was on August 30th and the game faced some pretty high expectations due to the names involved and their official Nintendo Treehouse: Live E3 2019 gameplay reveal. As far as action games go, this title sure has stretched the genre enormously and when we take into account that this project has some experienced people involved, like the fact that it was supervised by the famous creator of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta – Hideki Kamiya, we know something serious is about to go down.
Development and reception
This title was developed by PlatinumGames and published by Nintendo, for Nintendo Switch. Astral Chain came out a few weeks ago, on August 30th, 2019, and thus far it has done pretty well, scoring around 9/10 on the most relevant publications, like IGN (9/10), Metacritic (88%), and GameSpot (8/10).
As mentioned, the game was overseen by Hideki Kamiya, who deflected Capcom and Clover Studios in 2006 to found PlatinumGames, taking some Capcom veterans with him of course. Among the main contributors to the project is Takahisa Taura, one of the three directors of the game, who presented their collective creation on Nintendo Treehouse: Live E3 2019, in June, which you can view below:
Astral Chain is set in 2078, where we see humanity facing the threat of extinction. The Earth is being attacked by “Chimeras”, which originate from the “Astral Plane” or the interdimensional plane. They corrupt and abolish our reality. Pretty much all of the surviving humans live on a synthetic island called The Ark, and they have also managed to put together a response team for fighting off astral plane attacks by the Chimeras. And, we do so by employing our own interdimensional walkers, police officers who have had their share of the Astral Plane. They are called the Neuron Police Task Force, and this is where the player comes in, as part of the force.
This game starts off by bringing in the player in the basic action/shooter setting, but it quickly grows to be so much more, and the trick lies in the gameplay setup. Mainly, in this game, you play as a Neuron police detective who, besides wreaking havoc and doing crazy action stunts, also solves mysterious puzzles and tracks down the Chimeras throughout the Ark. However, things get an even higher level of awesome when you realize you play with not one but two characters at once…
As a part of the Neuron police force, you can summon your own Astral familiar called the Legion, who is tethered to you with a chain of sorts. The Legion gives the player immense power and together with his normal plain counterpart, the two perform crazy action stunts together. The player can even control the familiar or the host separately, as they utilize their combined might to question NPCs, examine the evidence, solve puzzles, and of course plow through any chimeras they encounter.
Graphics and visuals
As a Nintendo Switch game, Astral Chain really pushes the limits of even this last word portable gaming device. It looks amazing, with all its models, graphics, and rendering absolutely giving off a feeling of playing a PC game. It perhaps looks even more advanced than MK11 or The Witcher III on Switch, with both these games having an obvious 720p range.
Astral Chain Switch is a new take on portable action gaming, as it brings the chance to control two characters at the same time, which are beautifully synched to perform incredible stunts and action sequences. Out of combat, the game looks like Batman Arkham Asylum a lot, with a detective-like atmosphere in a sci-fi world. Story-wise, it is a cool new concept, worth exploring and quite a rewarding experience. Top marks!