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ASTRAL CHAIN™ |OT| PoPo's Bizarre Adventure

Sub Boss

Member
Nov 14, 2017
11,924
Beat the game, I got a story question.

So is it implied that the Raven-uniform Akira you fight alongside after File 06 is a clone of the original? It sure seems that way - every Raven unit turns out to have been a clone, and the endgame reveals that the surviving Akira clone had the memories of the old Akira transplanted, showing that they have the technology to give clones fabricated memories. Plus, during the final boss it seems like Akira is in sync with all of his clones. Is it possible Yoseph had the first clone implanted with Akira's memories to uphold the facade until his endgame?

That would be a wild swerve, OG Akira might've been dead since File 04 if that's the case.
Kinda tragic how it turns out

We are open to question if new Akira wich is a clone body with old memories is his/her own person or something else while the original Akira died , and if these clones could develop their own personality
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,543
Beat the game, I got a story question.

So is it implied that the Raven-uniform Akira you fight alongside after File 06 is a clone of the original? It sure seems that way - every Raven unit turns out to have been a clone, and the endgame reveals that the surviving Akira clone had the memories of the old Akira transplanted, showing that they have the technology to give clones fabricated memories. Plus, during the final boss it seems like Akira is in sync with all of his clones. Is it possible Yoseph had the first clone implanted with Akira's memories to uphold the facade until his endgame?

That would be a wild swerve, OG Akira might've been dead since File 04 if that's the case.
Weirdly...

I definitely thought that was going to be the case, but I feel Yoseph makes it pretty clear when talking about it that it’s not what happened, and that post-File 4 Akira’s still the original? Which was actually confusing due to how much I expected that, haha.

I could stand to go over some of what he says again, but at that point he has no reason to lie (and I need to post about this myself eventually, but the reason I hated Yoseph as a villain is how he only loses due to how bad he is at keeping things secret ), and I feel he definitely talks to/about Akira as if he just cloned him while still returning the original...? Hmm.

if he was a clone, they could stand to have made that more explicit, or at least had Akira react to what Yoseph said there either way, given how they were having him question it that much...
 

Jannyish

Member
Dec 16, 2017
248
Beat the game, I got a story question.

So is it implied that the Raven-uniform Akira you fight alongside after File 06 is a clone of the original? It sure seems that way - every Raven unit turns out to have been a clone, and the endgame reveals that the surviving Akira clone had the memories of the old Akira transplanted, showing that they have the technology to give clones fabricated memories. Plus, during the final boss it seems like Akira is in sync with all of his clones. Is it possible Yoseph had the first clone implanted with Akira's memories to uphold the facade until his endgame?

That would be a wild swerve, OG Akira might've been dead since File 04 if that's the case.
Welcome to the club, just beat it too.

They leave whether the Akira that was with you ever since File 06 is a clone or not up to interpretation. However, in Bonus File 12 you learn that for some reason, one clone Akira was left behind. He/she does have the memories of the real Akira, but can't remember anything about how Noah was stopped. It's pretty clear that if the one that was with you from File 06 isn't a clone, this one is, and he does have the memories, so.... It is to be assumed real Akira has been dead since File 04, especially with all the talking about how it's a miracle he is even alive that everyone in the game went on about back then.
 
Oct 26, 2017
619
How far are y'all into file 12?

There's a late file 12 mission I cannot beat.

It's the one where you have to fight a set of bosses back to back with no revives on the Highway. First you fight Agememnon, and then Hecate shows up when he's at half health. When you beat them, Cerebus comes through and then at half health Enchiladas (not their name but close enough) appears. If you get past these two you get one of the giant arm chimera bosses, and then about halfway through his health the big shield chimera boss shows up. The problem is, they all spam AOE and projectile attacks like crazy. The only way I can find to consistently get to the last 2 is to keep calling on the Axe Legion and then dismissing him after he blocks, so that was he's consistently shielding me. Also the shield chimera has a OHKO giant laser that is total bullshit. It even goes through the Axe Legion shield. It keeps killing me when I get to them.
What's the case number for this one?
 

ShinobiBk

Member
Dec 28, 2017
7,268
Yeah, I just found this one. It's hell. I haven't even made it past Hecate yet. Fuck me. They don't even give you any goddamn buff items. I'm going to try messing with some buff abilities and stuff on the Legions for a bit.
I've found that using an anti slime ability on Axe Legion helps with Hecate, cause then you can literally just walk in on him and tee off while Axe Legion has the shield up. Then I switch to anti decibel when Cerebus shows up cause he just spams howl over and over to stun you.

Then again, this is assuming you have these ability codes that are kind of RNG based lol.

I don't know what to do at the end. Everything happens so fast and there are basically no breaks if you don't pause.
I can't even skip over it as the game will no longer allow me to progress without beating it
 
Oct 26, 2017
619
I've found that using an anti slime ability on Axe Legion helps with Hecate, cause then you can literally just walk in on him and tee off while Axe Legion has the shield up. Then I switch to anti decibel when Cerebus shows up cause he just spams howl over and over to stun you.

Then again, this is assuming you have these ability codes that are kind of RNG based lol.

I don't know what to do at the end. Everything happens so fast and there are basically no breaks if you don't pause.
I can't even skip over it as the game will no longer allow me to progress without beating it
Just cleared it. Took like ten or fifteen tries after I rejuggled all my skills and stuff.

My strategy was to kill everything as fast as possible so they would have less time to hit me.
Sword > Throw at enemy > Power Charge > Hit Rush
Then pull out either Axe for defense or Arrow for max damage
If Arrow, Slow Shot > Speed Star > Throw at enemy > Pull self to enemy > Switch to Gladius, and combo it in the air while it's slowed down
Arm didn't come out much, but I gave it Gravity Storm and Hit Rush and used those once in a while.
Beast had Howl and Speed Star; used it to stun lots.
Axe had Blue Shield and Power Charge. It hits like a truck in some of its combos.

All Legions had abilities equipped to maximize damage or defense, with the exception of Beast having Anti-Slime and Axe having Anti-Decibel for obvious reasons. Sword went for maximum damage, since I only used it to Power Charge and then Hit Rush stuff before immediately defending or whatever. Arrow had lots of crit bonuses. Axe had a Legion Speed Up just because it's so slow.
Use your items. The grenades and stun grenades are lifesavers when you need a second to escape or just to make everything on screen CALM DOWN for a fraction of a second.
Axe's shield and Beast's riding abilities trigger as soon as you hit the button, not when the animation plays. Use Beast to dodge more than you use Axe to block, because it drains your meter more slowly. Often I would be fighting with Beast, something would pull out some skill, I would hit L to ride the Beast, and then immediately shoot it off again as soon as it would dodge whatever for me.
Use the gun on Agamemnon and the Shield one; don't even bother getting close to their bullshit.

Still finished with no heals left and less than half of my health bar. Took no chances with the shield enemy (which was my last), and just kept the Beast out and used it to dodge a ton, otherwise alternating attacking while riding it and attacking with the gun when it was safe for a half a second to get a few more shots in. Still almost died. Fuck that shield enemy, my god.
 

ShinobiBk

Member
Dec 28, 2017
7,268
Just cleared it. Took like ten or fifteen tries after I rejuggled all my skills and stuff.

My strategy was to kill everything as fast as possible so they would have less time to hit me.
Sword > Throw at enemy > Power Charge > Hit Rush
Then pull out either Axe for defense or Arrow for max damage
If Arrow, Slow Shot > Speed Star > Throw at enemy > Pull self to enemy > Switch to Gladius, and combo it in the air while it's slowed down
Arm didn't come out much, but I gave it Gravity Storm and Hit Rush and used those once in a while.
Beast had Howl and Speed Star; used it to stun lots.
Axe had Blue Shield and Power Charge. It hits like a truck in some of its combos.

All Legions had abilities equipped to maximize damage or defense, with the exception of Beast having Anti-Slime and Axe having Anti-Decibel for obvious reasons. Sword went for maximum damage, since I only used it to Power Charge and then Hit Rush stuff before immediately defending or whatever. Arrow had lots of crit bonuses. Axe had a Legion Speed Up just because it's so slow.
Use your items. The grenades and stun grenades are lifesavers when you need a second to escape or just to make everything on screen CALM DOWN for a fraction of a second.
Axe's shield and Beast's riding abilities trigger as soon as you hit the button, not when the animation plays. Use Beast to dodge more than you use Axe to block, because it drains your meter more slowly. Often I would be fighting with Beast, something would pull out some skill, I would hit L to ride the Beast, and then immediately shoot it off again as soon as it would dodge whatever for me.
Use the gun on Agamemnon and the Shield one; don't even bother getting close to their bullshit.

Still finished with no heals left and less than half of my health bar. Took no chances with the shield enemy (which was my last), and just kept the Beast out and used it to dodge a ton, otherwise alternating attacking while riding it and attacking with the gun when it was safe for a half a second to get a few more shots in. Still almost died. Fuck that shield enemy, my god.
Literally just had my best run ever, had everyone gone except that stupid shield boss. I dodged his giant laser, and then I go to attack him and he just fires the giant laser again and one shots me from full health. What fun 😒

Looks like I am just gonna have to ride the wolf around him chipping at his health the whole time cause I can't deal with this OHKO horse shit anymore

EDIT - Got it. Riding the beast legion worked. It was ridiculously hard but I got him in the end and even had a couple health capsules to spare. Just had to chip at him while riding around and then briefly get off to charge back. Thank fuck for the 2 drones they give you, otherwise it wouldn't taken even longer (it took me 15 mins to clear that mission)
 
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Nocturnowl

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,544
I've reached the sewer part of file...10? I think that's the one.
how much longer roughly is the game? I'll be trying to wrap it up this weekend

Edit: it is done, gawd that final boss was just...like an encapsulation of the game being highs and lows in equal measure, distilled into mass fuckery.
 
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zroid

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,274
Canada
Auto Sync attack skill is the goddamn truth

i'm sure there are people here who would be like "it's a waste of a skill slot" and I know you're reading this, and fuck you
 

Shiba

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,086
Slow attack gene codes are probably what you need if you find these file 12 missions difficult, also the super armor gene codes if you have some.
 

sleepnaught

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,516
Geez, that move the cars out of the road mini case from Jin is frustratingly annoying. In addition to being a complete waste of the player's time, it's so God awfully buggy. It takes about 5 attempts to even get the Arm legion to grab a car. It just spazzes out, flying all over the place because it's so bugged. Good lord, please delete this case, devs.
 
Oct 26, 2017
619
Geez, that move the cars out of the road mini case from Jin is frustratingly annoying. In addition to being a complete waste of the player's time, it's so God awfully buggy. It takes about 5 attempts to even get the Arm legion to grab a car. It just spazzes out, flying all over the place because it's so bugged. Good lord, please delete this case, devs.
I never had any problems grabbing cars whatsoever. That might be a rare occurrence.
 

Stat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,437
On the last mission, and I want to love this game, but man this game overstayed it's welcome.

Fantastic combat + music.

However, some really odd design choices. Like the side missions, red matter cleanup, and the same jumping puzzles. Didnt love the missions kept popping up to tell me how I did. Awful.

Story kinda left a lot to be desired too. Really didn't like that my person never talks.
 

Stat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,437
On the last mission, and I want to love this game, but man this game overstayed it's welcome.

Fantastic combat + music.

However, some really odd design choices. Like the side missions, red matter cleanup, and the same jumping puzzles. Didnt love the missions kept popping up to tell me how I did. Awful.

Story kinda left a lot to be desired too. Really didn't like that my person never talks.
End game questions

That final boss right? Maybe Im missing something but that was insanely hard compared to the rest of the game. Thank god I had a lot of batteries. Not sure how you beat it on Ultimate without cheesing it, but I won't be replaying it. Just too much tedium.

- I do love how at the end the legions were helping me, but would have been nice to sort of explore them as equals vs. slaves type deal. So confirmed the Dad died too? What about the rest of the neutrons.

So are the Chimeras still a threat?

Don't love that we never meet Hal or how just disappears at the end of the game.

I played as the sister. What happens if you choose the brother? Is the sister cloned?
 

jothne

Member
Jun 20, 2019
20
Japan
End game questions

That final boss right? Maybe Im missing something but that was insanely hard compared to the rest of the game. Thank god I had a lot of batteries. Not sure how you beat it on Ultimate without cheesing it, but I won't be replaying it. Just too much tedium.

- I do love how at the end the legions were helping me, but would have been nice to sort of explore them as equals vs. slaves type deal. So confirmed the Dad died too? What about the rest of the neutrons.

So are the Chimeras still a threat?

Don't love that we never meet Hal or how just disappears at the end of the game.

I played as the sister. What happens if you choose the brother? Is the sister cloned?
Most of these questions are answered in the epilogue at the start of File 12, if you reload your save from right after beating the final boss. The ones that aren't don't have canon answers.

Whether you play as the brother or sister has no significant effect on the story. If you play as the sister and then again as the brother, you'll play the exact same story, but with a female Akira. Akira's role in the story and the plot beats that happen to them don't change.
 

Putosaure

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,188
France
I don't know why I played a bit of this game before going to bed, fought what I think being the boss of case 3, and now I'm super mad. It warps all over the place dragging me into pits, and I can't stay still 2 seconds to cut walls dragging me into pits too because of its fucking arrows... Aaaaaa
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,844
another thing i was thinking about was that the UI for the legion skill tree was... kind of god awful to navigate
 

Stat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,437
Most of these questions are answered in the epilogue at the start of File 12, if you reload your save from right after beating the final boss. The ones that aren't don't have canon answers.

Whether you play as the brother or sister has no significant effect on the story. If you play as the sister and then again as the brother, you'll play the exact same story, but with a female Akira. Akira's role in the story and the plot beats that happen to them don't change.
I did load in the epilogue. And I know Hal
left to help those weird guys. But dont know if he ever really returned
. But I didnt continue into the epilogue that much. Are they actual missions or just like series of missions with no plot?
 

Technika

Member
Aug 23, 2018
228
For those that have played Xenoblade Chronicles 2, did you also find similarities with the idea of Blades and Legions?
Hear me out as I attempt to articulate my thoughts on their similarities.

Astral chain plays like an intense action oriented version of XC2. Some thoughts:

- XC2 has an auto attack, but AC has player input
- Summon your Legion somewhat similarly to your Blades
- Upgrade the power and skill tree of the Legion/Blade
- Both have a combo system, though are executed differently
- Mulitple Blades and Legions, though many more blade types

In conclusion, if you liked XC2 or Astral Chain, but have only played one of them, you might surprise yourself and enjoy the other.
 

jothne

Member
Jun 20, 2019
20
Japan
I did load in the epilogue. And I know Hal
left to help those weird guys. But dont know if he ever really returned
. But I didnt continue into the epilogue that much. Are they actual missions or just like series of missions with no plot?
Okay, I figured you may not have, since it's easy to miss if you just put the game down after File 11 and it mentions that

the rest of Neuron are alive, and the chimeras are still a threat.

Beyond the epilogue cutscene and some flavor dialogue, there isn't any significant plot development in File 12.
 

banshee150

Banned
Apr 3, 2019
1,386
For those that have played Xenoblade Chronicles 2, did you also find similarities with the idea of Blades and Legions?
Hear me out as I attempt to articulate my thoughts on their similarities.

Astral chain plays like an intense action oriented version of XC2. Some thoughts:

- XC2 has an auto attack, but AC has player input
- Summon your Legion somewhat similarly to your Blades
- Upgrade the power and skill tree of the Legion/Blade
- Both have a combo system, though are executed differently
- Mulitple Blades and Legions, though many more blade types

In conclusion, if you liked XC2 or Astral Chain, but have only played one of them, you might surprise yourself and enjoy the other.
Its enough to say that both have a thread connecting you with them so.. yeah, similar indeed :)
 

Silent

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
627
I was finally able to start playing this today. I typically enable Japanese voices because the English normally does not sound very good to me, but I’m actually enjoying the voice work in this game. I usually don’t mind silent protagonists, but I don’t know how I feel about how the game handles the twins. They both have good voices; I wish I could play as both and have both emote.

I just got to File 3 and I actually started a new save with the male Akira after playing through two files with female Akira. I don’t know which way I like more, to be honest.
 

AndrewGPK

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,419
I was finally able to start playing this today. I typically enable Japanese voices because the English normally does not sound very good to me, but I’m actually enjoying the voice work in this game. I usually don’t mind silent protagonists, but I don’t know how I feel about how the game handles the twins. They both have good voices; I wish I could play as both and have both emote.

I just got to File 3 and I actually started a new save with the male Akira after playing through two files with female Akira. I don’t know which way I like more, to be honest.

I played as the female twin throughout and switched over to male in File 12 (after completing story went to replay the first mission in the game and it gave me the option), so when I'm replaying missions and File 12 I get to experience it from the other perspective without doing an entire replay.

You are right that both twins have really good voice work. I think I picked the female twin to play as just because she seems more athletic and stylish, just feels more like to me who should be the playable. Just get rid of the shorts and for some reason I started dressing her mostly all in white early on (with pink hair of course). Looked the best to me, and it actually became a bit ironic, like it was meant to be later on.
 

Silent

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
627
I played as the female twin throughout and switched over to male in File 12 (after completing story went to replay the first mission in the game and it gave me the option), so when I'm replaying missions and File 12 I get to experience it from the other perspective without doing an entire replay.

You are right that both twins have really good voice work. I think I picked the female twin to play as just because she seems more athletic and stylish, just feels more like to me who should be the playable. Just get rid of the shorts and for some reason I started dressing her mostly all in white early on (with pink hair of course). Looked the best to me, and it actually became a bit ironic, like it was meant to be later on.
Nice, maybe I’ll do that! I picked female Akira first as well because I thought she looked better with the hairstyles available. But playing as male Akira, I like being able to hear her voice work. I’m glad the game lets you customize their appearance freely as well, and I can’t wait to unlock more clothes and colors.
 

ShinobiBk

Member
Dec 28, 2017
7,268
Slow attack gene codes are probably what you need if you find these file 12 missions difficult, also the super armor gene codes if you have some.
These file 12 missions are insane. 3 bosses on screen at once. They keep bringing in Kyle too who is a bitch to fight and makes fighting other enemies extremely difficult. Slow shot and chain bind hold him down for like one second if that and he's hard to combo cause he's so mobile.

Also, I've been using the female the whole time. Change her look all the time, in terms of hair and all that.
I actually wear the drab civvies outfit I like the way it looks
 

ShinobiBk

Member
Dec 28, 2017
7,268
Me: R3-B2 was hell, I'm glad I never have to go through that again
R3-B3: Hold my beer

I get to the halfway point we with the 2 legions and Raven officer and that is that, I literally cannot get more than a few hits on them. I even tried legion fusion and got destroyed in seconds. They all attack so fast, it's impossible to avoid
 

effingvic

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,539
Just finished File 06. That was pretty epic. This game looks so good. The neon plus rain and other particle effects make this a joy to look at. Love the designs for the Hermits too.

I just wish the loot in the game was better. It's always whack when you find a hidden nook or a box that took some effort to get to only to find your 1000th medicine or energy spike. Ugh.

once you get the tights on she looks a lot better
Facts
 
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Nephilim

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,965
Ok, this game is my GotY so far, sure there are some heavy hitters coming along with Death Stranding and Doom Eternal, but Astral Chain is so fresh and original... let's see how it plays out at the end of the year.

Big part why is the sublime combat system.
You are a badass and the enemies hit hard and relentless, plus it simply feels so good to be a badass with your mighty legions.

It has all i love about a combat system:
Positioning, reaction based, spatial awareness, badassery, great enemy variety, depth, range and close combat on the fly, customization, stats and gadgets, good hitreactions, strategy, crowd control and above all originality.
I've never played something so refreshing in a long time.
 

cevion

Member
Oct 26, 2017
184
I'm in file 10. Went back and did file 5 and then quit out. In file select, I can only select file 1-9. What am I doing wrong? I tried replaying the last part of file 9 but that didn't take me to file 10 - just back to file select.

Thanks in advance!

edit: I pressed "B" and it worked. Thanks =)
 

Zedelima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,324
Im on file 08, replaying and...oh man is just good to ignore all the side stuff

Some of them are just...boring
 

PspLikeANut

Member
May 20, 2018
426
Finally got around playing this game (went in completely blind not knowing anything) and gotta admit I’m finally beginning to understand the game’s combat and I’m having a blast now. Once you start unlocking more legions and skills, the combat opens in a expansive way.

My mind was blown when I realized you could summon another legion while using the ability hit rush on another legion. So awesome.
 

Clay

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,760
I'm pretty sure I'm nearly done with this game, I just beat Chapter 10. I'm curious whether it's worth it to redo any specific chapters now that I have all of the Legions. I'm a little surprised how rarely you get the "Premium" upgrade component, and I'm wondering if there's a bunch hidden in early levels in spots you need the later Legions to access.

I'm not totally sure how I feel about the game. The investigations are really dull. The action scenes are pretty fun but I wonder how much I'd like it if the game were mostly combat. You definitely open up a ton of options after the first few files, but the combat still doesn't feel anywhere near as deep to me as a Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. There's a lot of really annoying bullshit, a lot of enemies are able to stun you and get multiple hits in while you recover, and it's not super common but I hate it when there's that red stuff at the edge of arenas that hurts you, it does a ridiculous amount of damage and the camera isn't conducive to simultaneously tracking an enemy and surveying the environment. The fact that taking damage doesn't affect your grade feels like a concession that the game isn't as fair as games like Bayonetta.

But annoyances aside the combat still feels fun because at least I'm not doing mundane chores for random people.
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,543
I need to finally get around to posting my full thoughts about the end of the game, which is mostly a ton of issues despite more or less enjoying it overall, as I finished it a week or so back and just keep forgetting.

But meanwhile, if we’re talking about the combat... it’s a complicated feeling for me. I don’t play these games (which is to say- this + Bayonetta + W101, Nier is separate) to do well in the combat, it’s more to have fun and see cool things. And a lot of this did feel cool. And not expecting to do well means that S+ now being achievable for me does feel good, in a way! Theoretically, I like it being something even I can get. But in practice, it just encourages doing the same checklist in my head in every fight, over and over. Nothing ever really felt strategic or like I was being taught how to play well and then being rewarded for it, which is what I’d want it being reasonably achievable to mean.

Instead, you just do as much as possible, working through the list. Cycle through every weapon, cycle through every legion. Skills skills skills, getting them chained up and likely some hits on their back in the process. Do some perfect calls, even if it means sitting there letting an enemy hit you numerous times as you fuck it up, dragging out the fight, because that bonus adds up. Don’t forget to get a headshot or two. Maybe get a barrier up at times. Dodge decently, sync as much as possible, see if you can get a chain attack in at some point, be sure to tap A here and there near enemy deaths, repeat. End up just using gladius + axe more often than not when you feel like you’ve hit all those points and can just kill things now. Watch as it inexplicably calls you sloppy, says that you used only long-range attacks despite using all of the weapons (I honestly still have no idea what this one was ever trying to tell me), seemingly comments on several other flaws as well, and yet that S+ still shows up. Except for the times where the fight’s over in an instant and you just didn’t do enough despite your strength; have a D for not somehow taking an eon to get all those moves in! And I’m sure this isn’t even touching on some things people would say to put on such a list, because this is just what I fell into when left by myself; it’s what I was thinking in literally every fight, with the extra fun of being constantly unsure/worrying about whether it was actually grading me for anything I was doing before a (possible) bigger enemy in that red case or not!

Just... listen, my brain’s even broken in a way where I like working through checklists in games! I like mindlessy making them, I like mindlessly going through them, it sure makes me question a lot about why I’m bad at applying that to things in my daily life, haha. But I need it to not be the same list every time, y’know? Even I apparently have a limit on the tedium I can stand, and this started pushing it.

And I’ll get into this more when/if I do that other post, but: I even got an S+ on the final boss on my first try. I think I lost a single life too, and that was only because I just overthought how a mechanic that hadn’t been seen since pretty early on worked. I will say I did see one general suggestion from people here on something to use during it, but I didn’t even recognize whether I was doing it at the right time or not, so it’s hard to say I wouldn’t have done it naturally anyway.
 

effingvic

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,539
The game keeps getting more and more epic. The set pieces in 07 were awesome and I loved fighting the boss. I'm playing on casual and I had to go through all of my buffs and heals to make it out of that one.

I think I'm gonna bump up the difficulty for the future chapters. Now that I have a bunch of legions and abilities, combat is so much more accessible. It's a ton of fun but I'm basically button mashing my way through mobs. I want more of a challenge.
 

Monolithsoft

Banned
Nov 1, 2017
3,015
I'm pretty sure I'm nearly done with this game, I just beat Chapter 10. I'm curious whether it's worth it to redo any specific chapters now that I have all of the Legions. I'm a little surprised how rarely you get the "Premium" upgrade component, and I'm wondering if there's a bunch hidden in early levels in spots you need the later Legions to access.

I'm not totally sure how I feel about the game. The investigations are really dull. The action scenes are pretty fun but I wonder how much I'd like it if the game were mostly combat. You definitely open up a ton of options after the first few files, but the combat still doesn't feel anywhere near as deep to me as a Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. There's a lot of really annoying bullshit, a lot of enemies are able to stun you and get multiple hits in while you recover, and it's not super common but I hate it when there's that red stuff at the edge of arenas that hurts you, it does a ridiculous amount of damage and the camera isn't conducive to simultaneously tracking an enemy and surveying the environment. The fact that taking damage doesn't affect your grade feels like a concession that the game isn't as fair as games like Bayonetta.

But annoyances aside the combat still feels fun because at least I'm not doing mundane chores for random people.
I felt the opposite. Combat is quickly boring but exploration/investigation is fun.

Premium codes are meant to be too rare it seems. You find more, late, very late. Before, it's really grindy.
 

Clay

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,760
I felt the opposite. Combat is quickly boring but exploration/investigation is fun.

Premium codes are meant to be too rare it seems. You find more, late, very late. Before, it's really grindy.
What did you find fun about the investigations? They felt really lame to me.

"OK, in our game you play as a police officer in a futuristic city being attacked by demons from another dimension. The playable character is a member of an elite task force that has managed to enslave these demons, using them as dangerous but necessary tools in the fight to save humankind. Now we just need to come up with some missions."

"How about moving boxes?"

"Obviously we need some fetch quests."

"Don't forget the stealth sections!"

I think the fact we both liked one part of the game and disliked the other says it all. The two styles of game feel completely at odds with each other and are not connected at all. It's as if Bayonetta let you play a half hour of Animal Crossing between levels. Some games do this really well. X-Com also has two very distinct types of gameplay, the tactical RPG mission and the base building. Persona has its dungeons and its social links. But in those games both styles build off each other. Doing Social Links in Persona give you access to stronger monsters, which allows you to get farther in the dungeon, which necessitates stronger monsters, etc. Astral Chain feels like two different games slapped together.

The investigations feel so inconsequential too. OK, so we've examined the evidence, interviewed the witnesses, and now we know that this crime was committed by a chimera with big hands. And wow, look at that! A chimera with huge hands just popped out of that gate, what do you know! There's so many moments like that just feel ridiculous. Would they have completely ignored that chimera if they did not have hard evidence linking it to a recent crime? Many games have this issue, but the side content at the end is absurd as well. The stories coming to a crazy head, the stakes are high as can be, but let's wander around doing chores for random passersby.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,075
Instead, you just do as much as possible, working through the list. Cycle through every weapon, cycle through every legion. Skills skills skills, getting them chained up and likely some hits on their back in the process. Do some perfect calls, even if it means sitting there letting an enemy hit you numerous times as you fuck it up, dragging out the fight, because that bonus adds up. Don’t forget to get a headshot or two. Maybe get a barrier up at times. Dodge decently, sync as much as possible, see if you can get a chain attack in at some point, be sure to tap A here and there near enemy deaths, repeat. End up just using gladius + axe more often than not when you feel like you’ve hit all those points and can just kill things now. Watch as it inexplicably calls you sloppy, says that you used only long-range attacks despite using all of the weapons (I honestly still have no idea what this one was ever trying to tell me), seemingly comments on several other flaws as well, and yet that S+ still shows up. Except for the times where the fight’s over in an instant and you just didn’t do enough despite your strength; have a D for not somehow taking an eon to get all those moves in! And I’m sure this isn’t even touching on some things people would say to put on such a list, because this is just what I fell into when left by myself; it’s what I was thinking in literally every fight, with the extra fun of being constantly unsure/worrying about whether it was actually grading me for anything I was doing before a (possible) bigger enemy in that red case or not!
I hit the end credits on my first run (Pt Standard) today, and intended to jot down a lot of my impressions, but the post above has saved me a lot of time and effort.

I found the majority of Astral Chain enjoyable, fascinating, and wonderfully varied, and a tiny sliver of it utterly infuriating (we'll get to that)—very much like my experience with Bayonetta 1, in fact, albeit with more interesting non-combat interstitials, but critically, no real incentive to replay or improve. The scoring system doesn't correspond to good play, and in many cases actively rewards poor play, so pushing for S+ across the board just doesn't strike me as a meaningful experience. It doesn't do its job at all, by which I mean the traditional job of a medal/scoring system to provide a metric for steady improvement.

I haven't dug into the scoring system in any detail beyond just observing it as the numbers rolled in, but I think the primary problem here is that time is severely undervalued. There is so little scoring difference between clearing an objective quickly and letting the time run down to the minimum score of 1250 that it is pretty much always, always advantageous to drag out a fight and rack up points with a high variety of chip damage, as that is more than enough to cover the deficit. Once I had a critical mass of skill variety coming out of the early chapters—and to be clear, it was incredibly satisfying to get over the hump of figuring out how to chain my own moves with my Legion's (especially if you're me and you didn't even notice the in-game Help manual until one chapter from the end)—S/S+ ranks poured in for every fight where the enemies lasted long enough. But for the shorter skirmishes like one-off missions in the street, you can play fast and clean and still wind up with a B or C because there just wasn't time to use the move set, and there isn't an incentive to improve because the solution to this is not to play faster and cleaner.

Worse yet, I was scoring S+ for fights that felt terrible, where I was blundering all over the place and seriously questioning whether I understood the enemies or the game at all. It was like a participation trophy for trying a bit of everything to see what sticks. In other systems-heavy games like The Wonderful 101, you know subjectively when a bad score is coming—usually due to time and damage—and when it hits you, it feels deserved. As you learn the systems piece by piece, the scores get better; action, reaction. Not so much here, at least on Pt Standard.

It may just be the case that Astral Chain is a game where traditional PlatinumGames trappings like the medal system are really not the point, but an afterthought bolted onto a game where the challenge is in surviving, responding to creative boss mechanics, breaking enemy defences, and finding satisfying matches of toolkit and target. I'm not convinced the scoring accomplishes anything other than screaming at the player to experiment with the full move set—and while some other players might need to be nudged that way, that's how I like to play anyway. Maybe Pt Ultimate (just for survival and clearing the fights, not caring at all about medals) is the answer here, but I doubt I'll ever put in the time.

*

That undersells how much I liked Astral Chain, and how much I have to praise about it. It's vivid and stunning, a far more coherently realized piece of science fiction than I expected from this studio, and aesthetically a delight all over. The expressiveness of the combat system really shines in the long fights, especially if you play not to just tick off the whole checklist of the rotation for the S+ score, but for the satisfaction of finding the right tool for the job.

Like my first run through Bayonetta 1, though, it seemed like once or twice every File I would run into something horrendous that momentarily made me loathe the game, before a subsequent fight or sequence brought me back to loving it. Often it would be something fussy like a stealth segment, or a chase that resets you over and over until you understand how to read what the triggers are or what you're supposed to do. Generally, Astral Chain has a serious control problem with putting far too much on the thumbsticks, with the result that movement interferes with everything. It took me several chapters of fiddling with the camera/lock-on settings before I could comfortably draw the chain while moving (to lasso enemies with the loops, for instance).

But the worst thing about the game by far is the aiming camera. Every time I ran into a situation where I had to pull off a directional slash with the Sword on short notice, I groaned. Every single instance of this was horrid. It's fidgety enough already without moving targets or time pressure, and with all that, it's unbearable.

Part of this is that I'm a bit of a motion-aiming purist who hates dual analogue and hasn't had to deal with significant stick-based aiming since the GameCube, because I go out of my way to avoid it. Gyro aiming is the most elegant solution for one of these problems (the targeting; it doesn't solve the other problem, the direction of the sword slash, which feels like it was designed for the control scheme of Skyward Sword, and probably would have felt amazing if it did in fact play like Skyward Sword).

And the thing is, Astral Chain actually does have a motion assist—which was the only thing that made the Arrow target shooting bearable for me, and indeed very useful for some long-range snipes in fights—but no sensitivity setting.

I play with a sensitivity of +4 in Splatoon 2. Astral Chain's aiming feels like a -4, and so far as I can tell, you can't do anything about it. You could be forgiven for not even realizing gyro support is in the game apart from the box-stack minigames (again an idea grafted from Skyward Sword), because it's so bloody slow. There is, in consequence, no good snap-aiming solution to the directional slashes, yet plenty of mechanics that force you to pull it off quickly. (And one of the reasons I'll never push for chapter-wide S+ ranks is that there is absolutely no way I'll ever pull that off in the Arrow target-shooting minigames.) It's a mismatch of what the game demands and what the controls are suited to do.

I think it's all so bewildering to me because there have been so many control innovations over time—Skyward Sword, the Switch port of Okami HD, and indeed the dual drawing system of W101 (where I always did prefer the tablet over the stick for certain motions like drawing loops around NPCs, which is exactly what you do in this game)—that felt like they would have better accommodated what Astral Chain is trying to do. And a simple gyro sensitivity setting would go so far towards addressing this.

I played the whole game on the Pro Controller, too, so it's not like the tight movement range or notorious drift of the Joy-Con sticks were the problem here. The problem is all in the interface design: there's just way too much going on with the sticks. Too much stick-aiming. Too much stick-clicking. Too much that you can't pull off accurately unless your left-stick movement stops dead.

*

I might poke around in the postgame at some point, and I do think I got a substantial amount of value out of what I did play. 32 hours for a standard run, doing tons of optional content but by no means all of it, is a meaty experience for a PG action game and a welcome change of pace. There's a lot in Astral Chain that knocked my socks off, and I appreciate how it brought back that element of unfettered (if unpolished) wildness that Bayonetta 2 totally dropped from Bayo 1.

But I think the strongest indictment of this game is that even halfway through, loving most of what I was seeing, I already understood that I would probably never play it twice. (If anything, it's given me the itch to pick up W101 all over again.) Nothing wrong with a game that is a mostly terrific play-once experience, of course, but from PG, that's unusual.
 

Monolithsoft

Banned
Nov 1, 2017
3,015
What did you find fun about the investigations? They felt really lame to me.

"OK, in our game you play as a police officer in a futuristic city being attacked by demons from another dimension. The playable character is a member of an elite task force that has managed to enslave these demons, using them as dangerous but necessary tools in the fight to save humankind. Now we just need to come up with some missions."

"How about moving boxes?"

"Obviously we need some fetch quests."

"Don't forget the stealth sections!"

I think the fact we both liked one part of the game and disliked the other says it all. The two styles of game feel completely at odds with each other and are not connected at all. It's as if Bayonetta let you play a half hour of Animal Crossing between levels. Some games do this really well. X-Com also has two very distinct types of gameplay, the tactical RPG mission and the base building. Persona has its dungeons and its social links. But in those games both styles build off each other. Doing Social Links in Persona give you access to stronger monsters, which allows you to get farther in the dungeon, which necessitates stronger monsters, etc. Astral Chain feels like two different games slapped together.

The investigations feel so inconsequential too. OK, so we've examined the evidence, interviewed the witnesses, and now we know that this crime was committed by a chimera with big hands. And wow, look at that! A chimera with huge hands just popped out of that gate, what do you know! There's so many moments like that just feel ridiculous. Would they have completely ignored that chimera if they did not have hard evidence linking it to a recent crime? Many games have this issue, but the side content at the end is absurd as well. The stories coming to a crazy head, the stakes are high as can be, but let's wander around doing chores for random passersby.
Investigation =/= moving boxes. This was terrible.

I was disappointed that investigation was replaced by more of this crap in the second half.

The vehicles puzzle game is nice though.
 

Clay

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,760
Investigation =/= moving boxes. This was terrible.

I was disappointed that investigation was replaced by more of this crap in the second half.

The vehicles puzzle game is nice though.
Ah, for sure, I was using "investigations" to mean everything that wasn't combat.

I did kind of like the proper investigations, where you're learning keywords, eavesdropping on conversations, looking at security footage, all that stuff. It's just that the way they wrote it into the plot made it feel really pointless. Like I said earlier, what was the use of all the detective work when at the end of it the enemy usually pops out and you chase it down? I can't think of a single time the investigations actually felt useful. During the file where you go to the mall you hear a bunch of people make it abundantly clear that weird stuff is happening at the mall, but you still need to find a bunch of useless information before actually heading over. Does it matter that you knew people had seen both a suit of armor and tentacles there?

A sequel where the detective work feels more essential could be great though, and even as-is I did appreciate the world building and exploring the more mundane parts of police work.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,075
I came into this thread for the first time today, as I played the game blind and started it later than most others here—and it only now occurred to me from reading the first few pages that the OT title isn't an obscure, elliptical joke about Popo from Ice Climber. You know: Nintendo characters in team-up tethers and all.

On an unrelated note, I got a kick out of how the end credits scroll draws directly from the player-created photo album for its visual review of story highlights. Didn't notice that until a few slides in, as at first all my attention was on the rumble effect accompanying the closing track.
 
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ShinobiBk

Member
Dec 28, 2017
7,268
Only 2 cases left to go in file 12. This shit has been crazy. R3-B2 and R3-B3 are by far the hardest so far imo. They took me forever to beat.
I'm saying that with 2 still left though lol.
Still, I cleared R3-W on my second try and that was the final one before case #70. And I only needed to try twice cause the game crashed on me deep into my first try