Astral Chain | Review Thread


Oct 27, 2017

Metacritic (87) | OpenCritic (87)

Polygon (no score):
What begins as a dark meditation on collecting pocket monsters gradually becomes a blunt, but effective, soap opera about life in shitty times. Astral Chain is about the urge to inspire good, not just by hurting the enemy, but through helping those around you. It’s also wonderfully welcoming, an action game for everybody that provides an escape to a world on fire where good people can do right.

Forget Game of the Year. Astral Chain is a game for this moment.

Eurogamer (no score, essential):
And Astral Chain's action is some of the very finest I've come across, all delivered with a seamless quality that often leaves you breathless. Platinum never loses its lustre, goes the motto that sits proudly in the entry lobby of the studio's Osaka headquarters, though some might have thought the studio has dulled in recent years. Astral Chain is having absolutely none of that, and it shines brighter than anything in the studio's past. It's an absolute dream of a game.

Kotaku (no score):
I came into Astral Chain expecting a nice action game with a pleasant anime aesthetic, a a scoop of ice cream with a cherry on top. Platinum Games gave me a giant sundae piled high with whipped cream and sliced fruit and chocolate sauce. And nuts. Pecans. Love those pecans. What I wanted is there, and it’s good. There’s just so much more, and I love it all.

Waypoint (no score):
It’s not that there are no original ideas in Astral Chain, no bright spots or brief respites from the boring loop. It’s that for nearly 30 hours, the ones that show up are either underdeveloped or else go uncultivated in favor of something fundamentally rehashed and reheated.

GameXplain (video review, liked-a-lot)

VGC (5/5):
In hindsight, perhaps it’s unfair to see this as a second swing at Scalebound. It’s a world too singular in its cartoon cyberpunk vision to be a recycled leftover; the chained relationship between man and living weapon just too central to the action to be a quick fix for a missing dragon. Just as those fighting halves come to life in unison, so PlatinumGames and Nintendo continue their outstanding work together.

Nintendo Insider (10/10):
remembered for decades to come. Its yin-yang of chaos and carnage, fused with the calmer subtleties of investigation and exploration makes returning back to the action that little bit more special every time. There are so many gameplay elements that just feel and sound so goddamn satisfying that it’s so easy to become blind to any faults. It’s a game begging to be replayed countless times with an absolute boatload of things to do, observe and unlock that I haven’t even touched upon in an effort not to make this review even longer than it already is. Put it this way, if Astral Chain doesn’t turn out to be my game of the year when 2019 reaches its end, whatever surpasses it would have to be something incredibly special indeed.

Switch Player (5/5):
Astral Chain is one of the most confident, stylish and satisfying third-person action games we’ve played in quite a while. While its narrative might be melodramatic, battles and enemy encounters always deliver a thrilling but balanced challenge.

Nintendo Enthusiast (9.5/10):
Astral Chain packs the punch you would expect from Platinum Games while simultaneously going above and beyond in all other areas. It’s great to see Platinum stepping even further out of its shell with expertly crafted titles like NieR: Automata and now Astral Chain. This marks another game in the studio’s catalog that is nothing short of amazing.

CGMagazine (9.5/10):
Astral Chain is a fantastic character action game that reimagines the subgenre at its core with a completely original and immensely satisfying combat system. I loved how much personality and style was put into every element of the game, creating a truly exceptional experience I believe every Nintendo Switch owner should try out for themselves if they have the opportunity. Scalebound and its potential may well be dead and buried, but what came out of that disappointing cancellation as a result is one of my favourite games released so far in 2019.

Wccftech (9.3/10):
Astral Chain is, without a doubt, one of the best games ever released by Platinum Games and one of the best Nintendo Switch exclusives to date. With its combination of explosive action gameplay, which masterfully blends together mechanics taken from previous games developed by the studio, engaging investigation and exploration mechanics, an enjoyable story and huge amount of content, Astral Chain is a game that no fan of action games should pass on. That's even in spite of some issues here and there, such as the low challenge level and unbalanced evaluation system that makes it too easy to get S+ ranks.

COGconnected (91/100):
Astral Chain is an excellent action game that uses the Switch’s unique hardware in creative ways. It fits handsomely in PlatinumGames’ excellent catalog and should satisfy anyone who likes Japanese action RPGs, or third-person action games. It is a wholly satisfying experience.

Game Informer (9/10):
I had a blast playing Astral Chain and didn’t want it to end. Platinum has created a wonderful new universe for players to dive into that I could see extending into anime, movies, and hopefully sequels. The dual-character gameplay is also brilliantly devised, and although not as difficult as PlatinumGames’ other titles, creates a duet that makes you feel like a powerful, unstoppable force. The story may be the weakest part of the experience, given just how much it changes trajectory, but it has some legitimately great moments, and a big twist I didn't see coming. All told, this is one hell of a game.

Metro GameCentral (9/10):
Another classic action game from Platinum that’s so full of ideas it seems fit to burst and yet everything not only works perfectly but is filled with an infectious sense of goofy fun.

IGN (9/10):
Astral Chain is another excellent game from Platinum, and one of the best action games of this generation. Period. Fighting off alien invaders with a Legion robot by your side proves to be even more fun than it looks, which is saying a lot. Even outside of combat, the world and its characters brim with life – other than the main protagonist, that is. Excellent pacing artfully balances tense action with enticing exploration to create a deeply satisfying and charmingly quirky ride.

Destructoid (9/10):
Whatever criticism you can throw at Astral Chain, you can’t say it isn’t unique. In the first few hours, I was all over the place when it came to an assessment, as it can take some time to really turn it up. But when it does it just clicks, and I don't want to stop playing it.

Twinfinite (4.5/5):
Astral Chain could is one of the best games on Nintendo Switch, period. PlatinumGames has proved, once again, that no one does stylish action games better, and I sincerely hope we get to return to the Ark again someday.

Vooks (4.5/5):
Astral Chain is up there with Platinum’s best games. Once jumping into the story I wanted to keep playing, looking forward to seeing where it would go next. For everything I’ve written here, there’s still so much I feel I’ve left out. While it’s a long wait for Bayonetta 3, Astral Chain is an outstanding game on its own. If you’re a fan of action games or sci-fi anime, Astral Chain is a must buy.

Nintendo Life (9/10):
With its amazing visuals, fantastic presentation, varied gameplay and deep, rewarding combat, Astral Chain could well be PlatinumGames' most accomplished game yet. It mixes detective work with exhilarating battle sequences that are inventive, challenging and – perhaps most importantly – breathtakingly cool. The complexity of the game's myriad systems may prove intimidating for some players, but the inclusion of a co-op play and the ability to automate many of the mechanics via the 'Unchained' mode means that even complete newcomers can still enjoy the ride. Astral Chain isn't just one of the Switch's stand-out hits – it's one of 2019's best video games.

My Nintendo News (9/10):
PlatinumGames has developed a superb blend of combat, investigation and stealth in Astral Chain. It’s a game that keeps you on your toes – for better or worse – and like any other title in their arsenal, requires players to get good quickly or die trying. For fans of Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, Astral Chain is a must-buy. An explosive action game that demands your attention.

We Got This Covered (4.5/5):
Astral Chain combines all the best impulses of Platinum Games with a unique combat system and rich RPG mechanics. The world, story, and atmosphere are icing on the cake - this is one of the best overall packages from the studio and a remarkable directorial debut for Takahisa Taura.

NintendoWorldReport (8.5/10):
Astral Chain is the most ambitious game Platinum has ever made, and is for the most part a success. It would be tempting to use the old idiom, “jack of all trades master of none” but specific elements of Astral Chain excel far too greatly to refer to Platinum as anything other than masters. The combat, story, and music are some of the best you’ll find on Switch. That being said, there are clearly areas in which less focus was placed. Given your character’s role as a police officer, I found the gradual de-emphasizing of the investigation mechanics to be a tad disappointing. A few areas of the visual design could also use work, but they’ll hardly affect enjoyment of the game. Ultimately, what we’re left with is one of the most exciting and original action games on Switch, if not the most.

GameSpot (8/10):
Astral Chain's shortcomings don't overshadow what it does best. It's an incredible execution of a fresh take on Platinum Games' foundation, standing among the stylish-action greats. And its own anime-inspired swagger makes fights all the more exhilarating. You'll come to appreciate the calmer moments in between that add variety and offer a second to relax before jumping back into the superb combat. After 40 hours with Astral Chain, I'm still eager to take on the tougher challenges, and I'll be grinning from ear to ear as I hit all the right moves, one after the other, while watching it all unfold.

USgamer (4/5):
Astral Chain is the directorial debut of Nier Automata designer Takahisa Taura, and it proves that he's a creator worth paying attention to. Part melodramatic anime, part overly complicated Tamagotchi, it's an eminently playable action role-playing game that delivers the pleasure of good teamwork in a way few singleplayer games accomplish. Building on action design ideas seeded in Nier, Astral Chain encourages you to bond with your beloved pet cybermonster both on and off the battlefield. Then, it teaches you how to fight as one.

TheSixthAxis (8/10):
Astral Chain boasts the same winning elements of Platinum’s finest work – exhilarating combat, characterful visuals, and a compelling story – but it loses a bit of personality. Where Bayonetta and 2B provided an emotional centre point for the fantastical storytelling, Astral Chain’s unnecessarily silent protagonist is a charmless creation saved by an utterly charming world. (16/20, review in french, google translatio):
Astral Chain is not perfect. Its phases of platforms are annoying and the few investigations that punctuate the adventure at regular intervals are worth more for the moments of calm they create than for the challenge they oppose to the player. But his pace, his progress and especially his mesmerizing battle phases, combined with a wealth of surprising gameplay, seduced us. So much so that we did not see the last twenty hours we spent on it. Both original and ambitious, the new title PlatinumGames should seduce all fans of beat'em all, and especially those who look forward to Bayonetta 3.

Shacknews (8/10):
I am insanely impressed with the world that Platinum has built-in Astral Chain overall. It is gorgeous, the plot is intriguing and it feels like something new when it comes to the investigations and police work. While the combat mechanics might need cleaning up it’s cool that the dev team at least had the foresight to realize that might be a point of contention but there was still a lot left to offer, hence casual and unchained mode. And you really can’t fault a game for making contingencies for all types of players.

EGM (8/10):
Astral Chain is loud, brash, exciting, and, in the end, a warning about the dangers of unquestioned loyalty. Its hyperkinetic action sequences and colorful characters might make the game seem like it isn’t interested in offering more than intricately designed fights and a straightforward genre story, but stick around for its entirety and its cast of 2070s police officers show themselves to be more than just cartoon cut-outs of sci-fi cops.

Eurogamer Italy (8/10):
Astral Chain is a cyberpunk action-adventure game developed by Platinum Games for Nintendo Switch. This game takes the best ideas behind previous Platinum games and mixes them in a crafty way, injecting all of them in a new concept that links the player to a creature through a chain. A compelling story and a beautiful character design make the rest, even if the level design and the progression system fall short, and this is the biggest downside.

Press Start Australia (8/10):
Astral Chain is a unique experience from beginning to end, but some strange choices in the way it tells its story and major pacing issues in the third act bring it down. Regardless, Astral Chain fits right in amongst the Platinum greats, offering a fun and unique battle system that does a fantastic job at differentiating itself from its contemporaries.

Millenium (65/100, review in french, metacritic translation):
It's tough not to consider Astral Chain something of a small disappointment, especially when you know Platinum Games' talent for beat 'em ups. We not only highly commend the fight mechanics in this latest title from Takahashi Taura, but also its universe — original and supported by a high-class artistic direction. However, the overall game is pulled down somewhat by a structure of missions that doesn't match the studio's desire to mix the beat 'em up and investigative genres, and further by large approximations and other technical problems — all of which have a significant impact on the enjoyment of the game.

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Oct 25, 2017
88! Really curious about this. My hype level has been zero but I’m ready to be surprised by a great game I then have to buy!


Oct 27, 2017
My second Nintendo voucher awaits. 90% sure I'll get this but there's no downside to holding out for a general consensus


Oct 27, 2017
Looks like there will be no review from easy allies. As is normal (sadly) these days Nintendo haven't given them an early review copy.

89 is my guess.


Oct 28, 2017
A review thread without any reviews lol. Not to thread whine, but wouldn't it be better if these threads go up closer to the review emarbgo, or when the first review drops? That way you don't have to sift through pages of review predictions to get to the heart of review discussion.


Oct 25, 2017
Low 80s with story and characters dragging the game down because the expectation was the next Nier: Automata.

Deleted member 249

User requested account closure
Oct 25, 2017
A review thread without any reviews lol. Not to thread whine, but wouldn't it be better if these threads go up closer to the review emarbgo, or when the first review drops? That way you don't have to sift through pages of review predictions to get to the heart of review discussion.
The embargo lifts in 50 minutes or so, I believe.