In retrospect, I didn't like Astral Chain as much as I thought I would

Dreamboum

Member
Oct 28, 2017
16,287
It kinda got me thinking in recent days but I didn't keep as good of a memory of this game than I expected (played it at release). I had high hopes for this game but I wasn't crazy about it so I didn't have the highest expectations, but while some stuff were obviously great, I came out of the experience a bit disappointed at how it all came up together.

+ The gameplay was great, honestly I enjoyed it a lot and I felt I could get good at it fast, the lenient scoring system meant I could achieve good results without being too frustrated about it. I was already seeing myself getting 100% in this game.
+ The music is also very nice, some tracks were standouts.
+ It had a great atmosphere too. Really enjoyed the sound design of this game.
+ The parts where you went to the city roaming around were also very good.
+ Also the customization was so good! I made a great character that I was proud of.

But it somehow didn't come up as a whole in a way that was satisfying, you know?

- The over-reliance on the astral plane was too much. I love fighting, but I like fighting in a backdrop that I care about. The majority of the gameplay being spent in the astral plane made me sour on the whole game. I at least expected more variation inside the plane itself but no dice. I liked the puzzles, I liked thinking up of new ways of traversal but it was most of the time linear. At the end of the day it felt like too much platforming but the platforming was too gamey instead of feeling organic.
- The story was really disappointing. I didn't expect Automata levels because it's another team entirely except for Taura leading the development but this whole story felt like some Psycho-Pass knockoff, and I already think that anime wasn't really good...I wasn't expecting Evangelion or Ghost in the Shell or anything but just something that kept my interest going. But it was so cookie-cutter and bland that I just kept going like a drone hoping for something to wow me, and it didn't.
- The characters were all ok? Nothing that made me want to see more of. The twin is cool, but other characters are either corny or too stereotypical. Ironically enough I liked Marie the most with her accent and her gimmicks. I don't think Astral Chain even has one character I would consider great or impactful.
- The sidequests were egregious the more you play, I reached a point where I felt I was playing a lesser version of Professor Layton. Align cars so you can free the way.
- And there was just too much stuff on the ground, the reliance on red matter being everywhere tired me down when I was close to the finish line. I spent at least a quarter of my time hunting for red matter despite being on the path. When it wasn't Layton it was fetch quests where you had to go from one end of the map to another.

- A lot boils down to repetition, the amount of stuff they created wasn't enough for the length of the game they made so I spent most of the time in non-descript locations or we revisit actual locations several times where we end up doing mostly the same thing. It felt too limiting, which is sad to see in a cyberpunk game.

I was really into it in the first half but my excitement just waned. I finished the game, closed it and never had it in me to replay it to get everything despite being so certain i would do this. There's just something missing about it, and I never felt this way about any Platinum Games, despite this one having a lot of qualities. The whole just comes out lesser than the sum of its parts. Metal Gear Rising looks like a flavorless game compared to Astral Chain's style and yet I'd still play that one five times before feeling like I want to play Astral Chain, if you see what I mean.

Anyone feeling like me? Also I totally expected the legions to have a personality and to talk with you before the game came out and they are just drones most of the game and that really makes me sad
 

CloseTalker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,515
One of the most overrated games of the past few years imo. A good combat system wasn't enough to make up for almost literally every other design decision the game made. Repetitive environments, awful traversal mechanics (yanking yourself around corners worked about 40% of the time), terrible side missions, spending half the game tethered to the worst "detective" gameplay I've seen, and a story that truly didn't matter.

The game was pretty and combat was fun, but the combat scenarios were bland as hell. People were way too forgiving of this because of the Platinum pedigree imo
 
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edgefusion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
998
I spent the whole game waiting to get more customisation items to fill out the huge, multi-level wardrobe system but......nope.
 

HiLife

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
11,775
I couldn’t finish it. Even after capturing a few beasts, I was trying to convince myself I liked the combat (DMC, NG, GoW had me hooked).

I didn’t like it. Regret my purchase tbh. And its probably gonna keep me from trying Platinum games ever again.
 

giapel

Member
Oct 28, 2017
905
Agree on all your + and -
Gameplay was really solid so it carried it till the end of the game. Not enough there to make me want to 100% though.
The promise is there and I feel there’s the basis for a really exceptional sequel.
 

Pachinko

Member
Oct 25, 2017
449
Canada
I loved the music, artstyle, even dug the world design and combat but.... so much of the game is running around huge , boring environments that I quickly lost some interest. I ended up throwing in the towel for awhile and played a few hours of xenoblade 2 instead. Too many ideas in the pot , if it gets a sequel I hope they focus a bit more on what did work and make a tighter game.
 

Denman

Member
Apr 21, 2018
3,762
I really liked it. It was my GOTY after all. You can skip most of the side quest stuff, and doing them usually reveals new bosses and enemies. I loved the ending and the various locations.

I can definitely see room for improvement. The whole mission structure and replaying chapters via the PC-setup still confuses me. I think the game would have benefit from being open world. Not GTA size or anything, but atleast Deus Ex size.

I spent the whole game waiting to get more customisation items to fill out the huge, multi-level wardrobe system but......nope.
This was a little odd huh, there weren't many wardrobe items to get were there? I was thinking I just missed them or hadn't unlocked them...
 

Hzsn724

Member
Nov 10, 2017
776
Thank you for your input. This one has been on the back burner for me and I've been waiting for a reason to buy it. I had a few friends play it at launch and didn't really like it either.. so maybe I'll just remove it from my need to play list.
 

Weiss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
24,651
It was fun enough that I didn't regret my purchase but starting the game off with its worst parts was not a good move.
 

Dr Pears

Member
Sep 9, 2018
1,408
Yeah the environments and characters were generally really bland. I had to push myself to finish the game.

I hate to say it, but this game is seriously really overrated. It boggles my mind that Astral Chain and Nier Automata are only 1 point apart on Metacritic (87 vs 88) when pretty much everything in Automata (characters, music, story, writing, lore, quests, voice-acting, etc) far far outclasses it IMO.

Edit: I do like that Astral Chain tried something new with the combat though, even though I didn't like it very much.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,051
Same. I was really hyped for it but didn't enjoy it too much when I picked it up and have found myself struggling to get back to it.
 

Jawbreaker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,940
New York City
I didn't like it, myself. I'll just copy/paste what I wrote about it in another thread.

I thought it was pretty dreadful.

- So much hit stop that you'd swear you were being assaulted by a strobe light

- Visual noise cranked up to 11 that muddies battles on top of one of the worst cameras I've experienced all gen

- Really janky platforming with collision detection that's too spotty for its own good

- Abysmal stealth sections

- A super repetitive realm with almost zero visual variety that you visit often

- Side quests that are very simplistic yet offer no payoff with interesting stories (something NieR: A does well)

- The story is generally anime nonsense which, I guess, could be a positive for some

- Pacing is all over the place

- Very jarring that your MC never talks in this game, and I don't have a problem with it in other games like Dragon Quest or Zelda; there's very little character development, to boot

I'm probably missing a few things.

I will say it has a pretty great soundtrack, and it attempts to do something novel with its combat system, but I cannot recommend this game.
I really wanted to like it, but I had a pretty bad time with it, unfortunately.
 

Lotus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
52,031
I felt pretty much the same way immediately after I beat it. Story was dumb, among other gripes.

But really, a lot of it would've been forgivable if we didn't have a blank slate for a protagonist.
 

Gots

Member
Feb 20, 2019
532
I gave up on it. Decent combat but everything else was bland and repetitive. Horrible idea to create an interesting world only to throw you into a generic "evil" world half way through every mission.
 

KLoWn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,685
Thank you for your input. This one has been on the back burner for me and I've been waiting for a reason to buy it. I had a few friends play it at launch and didn't really like it either.. so maybe I'll just remove it from my need to play list.
If you really think it looks good I'd recommend you to try it (one of the best games of last year imo) and don't go by threads like these. OP is entitled to his opinion and all, threads like these are always the same.
"I didn't like BotW/Red dead Redemption 2/Horizon/etc etc as much as others", and everyone that agree's with OP is going to come in and echo his sentiment while the people that doesn't agree usually don't care to post, leaving these threads with a overwhelmingly negative impression of said game.
 

Tibarn

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,231
Barcelona
Yeah I fully agree. Combat was really good and unique, a good mix of TW101 and Bayonetta offering new things to the formula, but the game feels stretched and they tried too hard with the plot and ended offering basically a Eva-Akira-Psycho Pass clone with no personality.

It boggles my mind that Astral Chain and Nier Automata are only 1 point apart on Metacritic (87 vs 88) when pretty much everything in Automata (characters, music, story, writing, lore, quests, voice-acting, etc) far far outclasses it IMO.
Well, the most important aspect, specially for a Platinum game, the combat, is far better in AC (Automata is the poor version, unbalanced version of Bayonetta), so it makes full sense to me. I feel that while Automata has nothing outstanding (maybe the music) but is solid across the board (maybe the open world implementation is the weakest point, it's pretty bad), AC has some really good things and lots of weak points.
 

Phendrift

Member
Oct 25, 2017
18,634
It’s biggest sin so far is the silent protag

from the dudes that gave us Bayo, like god damn
 
OP
OP
Dreamboum

Dreamboum

Member
Oct 28, 2017
16,287
I couldn’t finish it. Even after capturing a few beasts, I was trying to convince myself I liked the combat (DMC, NG, GoW had me hooked).

I didn’t like it. Regret my purchase tbh. And its probably gonna keep me from trying Platinum games ever again.
I liked the combat honestly, just didn't like the progression and repetition on display. If only the story was fascinating I could have kept a good memory of it but that one was really disappointing.
 

criteriondog

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,450
It’s biggest sin so far is the silent protag

from the dudes that gave us Bayo, like god damn
If they make a sequel, I really hope they have both twins speak in a playthrough.
It was so jarring that the protagonist you pick only does grunts, but the brother/sister talks, but if you do a second playthrough and pick the other sibling, they’re quiet and the one you played as originally fully speaks.
 

JohnPaulv2.0

Member
Dec 3, 2017
135
I pre-ordered Astral Chain. But only managed about 10 hours before losing interest. And I finish basically everything I play. Probably my biggest dissapointment of the year along with Pokemon Sword. I got them both with the same pair of e-shop vouchers.
 

toad02

Member
Oct 10, 2018
361
I finished it yesterday and I agree with most of your points.
The high points are really high, like the combat and overall tone, but it is also cluttered with not so interesting stuff which makes the game drag quite a lot.
As a result the experience feels something akin to a good glass of wine but which was watered down to fill a whole bottle.
 

Mickagau

Member
Dec 11, 2018
698
France
That game was an amazing surprise for me. I bought it several months after release, 2019 for Switch being so stacked, I almost missed it.
My only negative was the camera.
It was phenomenal overall.
Actually, it made me bought Bayonetta 1 and 2 recently. Having just completed 1 now I totally understand the Platinum love here.
 
Jun 22, 2019
578
If you replay the game, are you able to breeze through the non-combat portions or does the game mandate you take a while to get to your next fight?
That might be the deciding factor for whether I buy it.
 

Renteka-Bond

Member
Dec 28, 2017
834
Clearwater, Florida
I pre-ordered Astral Chain. But only managed about 10 hours before losing interest.
My exact experience. 2 of My buddies and I binged it that Saturday all day and we al had a good amount of fun with it, but once I stopped playing for the day, while they kept going and beat it, I couldn't drum up any interest in continuing for the life of me and eventually, like 3-4 months later, I ended up just trading it in. Very disappointing.

For me, it was all the busywork you have to do between fights being slow and tedious mixed with the general visual noise of the game itself contributed to me not even wanting to bother.
 

DVCY201

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,008
Yea, I haven't finished it, but it just wasn't clicking for me. I'm surprised, it has lots that should work for it, but doesn't do anything for me. I'll have to get myself to finish it, but, I dunno. Maybe, for once, a Platinum title just isn't for me.
 

Dr Pears

Member
Sep 9, 2018
1,408
Well, the most important aspect, specially for a Platinum game, the combat, is far better in AC (Automata is the poor version, unbalanced version of Bayonetta), so it makes full sense to me. I feel that while Automata has nothing outstanding (maybe the music) but is solid across the board (maybe the open world implementation is the weakest point, it's pretty bad), AC has some really good things and lots of weak points.
I feel like they both don't excel in combat too much, both just good but not amazing. But again props to AC for being new and unique in that regard.

I still feel that the overall package of Automata is still far far better than AC especially in regards to the overall theme and narrative, which leaves a lasting impression. Its so memorable and people are still talking about it today, 3 years after it came out, whereas hardly anyone even talks about the plot in AC. I don't even remember much of what happened in AC and I played it when it came out.

I'd also argue that the bland astral plains in AC drags it down as much as the open world in Automata.

If I consider everything, story, music, characters, combat, etc, I'd give AC a 7/10 and Automata a 9/10.
 
Oct 26, 2017
16,936
Aside from the silent protagonist, I didn't really have many issues with the game and enjoyed it from beginning to end. It's got some rough edges but I didn't mind some of the more repetitive content because I found the basic gameplay loop to be extremely satisfying. It was at just the right middle point between mindless action RPG (like Nier: Automata, which I love) and character action game. It was weird to go balls to the wall anime with it and then have this kind of protag though.
 

Spaltazar

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,037
love this game and its vibe. its great.

what i disliked is that the clarity can suffer a bit during combat and I wish it was 60fps. i thought the environments were pretty cool with a lot of hidden stuff and places. movement feels just so good in this game that you could present me a plain field and i would not mind it. some of the best/most satisfying running animations around.

people said that the pacing in this was weird, but i actually loved how it constantly contrasts between slow and peaceful moments and then later on batshit insanity of action. this game goes 0 to 100 FAST and then pushes it even further, its insane. sorry for gushing about it, but i just love this game.

I just wish there was more cop stuff to do? For a game about police you are actually doing very little police work :p

also ost is a banger

also the chain mechanic is godlike. chain bounce will never get old and snaring enemies and them rush them feels always great. i hope they expand on it even further. also loved how each of the blades had its special modes. entering arm legion like a mech, riding around on the beast legion etc. neat stuff
 
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Fatoy

Member
Mar 13, 2019
1,821
This thread has just reminded me that I bought this game on release and haven't played it.
 

Tibarn

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,231
Barcelona
I still feel that the overall package of Automata is still far far better than AC especially in regards to the overall theme and narrative, which leaves a lasting impression. Its so memorable and people are still talking about it today, 3 years after it came out, whereas hardly anyone even talks about the plot in AC. I don't even remember much of what happened in AC and I played it when it came out.
I slightly disagree here:

-Graphics in AC are far superior considering the hardware difference, environmental art is amazing and enemy design is also more varied, yeah I know 30 FPS but it wasn't a big issue to me
-Music is better in Automata no doubt
-Gameplay felt way better to me in AC as I said before, Automata feels too much like a worse Bayonetta
-I didn't like the plot in Automata too much, I have mostly forgotten it and while I agree it's far better than in AC I don't consider it that good either. Some interesting things that have been explored far better in other media

At the end, as both games are action games I gravitate to the one with better combat, and I feel that AC has enough non-combat decent elements to never feel too one-one, it's not a DM5 scenario for example.
 

Disclaimer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,403
I bought it at launch with a voucher, but only just got around to starting it yesterday. Wonder which camp I'll fit in.

One of your main criticisms—the repetition, too little content for too big a game, leading to busybody tasks/major asset recycling—is highly applicable to another big release this year... Fire Emblem Three Houses. And it was major point of frustration there too.
 

RedHeat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,415
Agreed. One of the only main things I liked from it was Marie (mainly because of her design) and the metraoidvania-esque style of collecting all the Beast Legions and upgrading them. Even the combat was somewhat mediocre since you basically cheese everything with the Gladius. They're gonna have to do A LOT to even consider getting me intrigued with their planned "trilogy"
 

Tibarn

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,231
Barcelona
I bought it at launch with a voucher, but only just got around to starting it yesterday. Wonder which camp I'll fit in.

One of your main criticisms—the repetition, too little content for too big a game, leading to busybody tasks/major asset recycling—is highly applicable to another big release this year... Fire Emblem Three Houses. And it was major point of frustration there too.
I'd say it's a bigger problem in AC, mostly because the game plays like a linear action game with some light exploration sections. If you remember the first chapters of the first Bayonetta (Vigrid bla bla) it's something like this but with more freedom and side activies. Now imagine visiting Vigrid town 5 more times during the game.
 

NSESN

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,518
It is definitely flawed, but I think the flaws are very easy to fix so I think the sequel will be one of the best games ever.
 

Tibarn

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,231
Barcelona
If you replay the game, are you able to breeze through the non-combat portions or does the game mandate you take a while to get to your next fight?
You can jump to several points in any chapter, and usually the non-combat sections are separated enough and can be ignored.

If you want to obtain high scores, note that all mandatory missions or optional combats contribute to the score, this includes several investigation sections, but thankfully the game "remembers" your best score in each section so you don't need to do a "perfect chapter" and it's easy to replay only the section you want to improve on.
 

BrickArts295

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,674
I thought it started very strong but it became a slog after the first half. The dimension gates (or whatever they were called) were very repetitive and the platforming in the last couple of hours drove me up the wall. Even the story just feel apart towards the end.

Thankfully the combat was still pretty great and I enjoyed the detective mode quests. Props to Platinum for letting me use EVA Unit 1 colors :)
 

mindsale

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,909
The areas were really narrow corridors and the camera proximity gave me severe motion sickness. The platforming was poor. I wish the level design was better.
 

Dr Pears

Member
Sep 9, 2018
1,408
I slightly disagree here:

-Graphics in AC are far superior considering the hardware difference, environmental art is amazing and enemy design is also more varied, yeah I know 30 FPS but it wasn't a big issue to me
-Music is better in Automata no doubt
-Gameplay felt way better to me in AC as I said before, Automata feels too much like a worse Bayonetta
-I didn't like the plot in Automata too much, I have mostly forgotten it and while I agree it's far better than in AC I don't consider it that good either. Some interesting things that have been explored far better in other media

At the end, as both games are action games I gravitate to the one with better combat, and I feel that AC has enough non-combat decent elements to never feel too one-one, it's not a DM5 scenario for example.
Did you finish all the way to Ending E in Automata? The narrative is one of the most praised this gen, because its so unique in gaming. Each boss fight has a meaningful backstory and all the side quest provide significant plot insights and worldbuilding compared to AC's side quests where you just look for cats or get some ice cream for a kid or something.

By the time we reached the last chapter and final boss in AC I just had no care at all for the plot and characters. The silent main character felt so out of place considering they are a police officer, a profession that really requires good communication between teammates!

The combat is definitely not for anyone. I really hated V's combat style in DMCV because it felt clunky and I feel that AC is just an expansion of that.
 

NotLiquid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,811
The game could've been better in a lot of areas but it was still one of my favorites of that year. The elements that are rough around the edges are things I can easily look passed because the things it does well, it does so fantastically and in a way not a lot of other games do them.

Like Nier Automata, it feels like a game you'd see on the PS2 - in a good way. I hope they make a sequel either on the Switch or on the next console. The areas that are ripe for improvement are basically laid out for them.
 

Shudouken

Member
Jun 19, 2019
427
Yep, I'm with you OP.
I enjoyed the game a lot in it's good moments, but the tedious stuff often outweighed that (especially when trying to 100%).
Would have preferred being able to fully complete chapters the first time around instead of having to revisit them with new legions.
 

Tibarn

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,231
Barcelona
Did you finish all the way to Ending E in Automata? The narrative is one of the most praised this gen, because its so unique in gaming.
Yep, I got all the endings except the multiple "joke" endings. It's not about not being unique, it simply was not that interesting to me. I remember 2 good plot twists and some good scenes, but I also remember some really silly scenes (everything related to the 2 "robots" was silly IMO) and IIRC one of the biggest "lore dumps" was presented during a hacking scene and it was a big wall of text that felt disappointing somehow.

By the time we reached the last chapter and final boss in AC I just had no care at all for the plot and characters. The silent main character felt so out of place considering they are a police officer, a profession that really requires good communication between teammates!
Absolutely, I agree that the plot in AC does nothing interesting, my point was that Automata's plot didn't felt special to me, not that AC has a comparable plot at all.

The combat is definitely not for anyone. I really hated V's combat style in DMCV because it felt clunky and I feel that AC is just an expansion of that.
I liked AC's combat a lot while I hated V's combat, I don't think they are really comparable.
 

Beth Cyra

Member
Oct 26, 2017
161
I could only make it to Mission four before I dropped it.

Kinda disagree on the combat being good, frankly needing to use the Chain to get air born annoyed the hell out of me.

Also fucking hated the Silent Protagonist, let my lady talk when I control her for goddess sake.
 

NotLiquid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,811
The combat is definitely not for anyone. I really hated V's combat style in DMCV because it felt clunky and I feel that AC is just an expansion of that.
Funny, I actually felt like Astral Chain's entire combat system is how V should have played in DMCV. For a game that had two extremely well designed characters from a combat design perspective, V is just so hands-off that it never felt satisfying to optimize him, whereas Legions became so damn good at top level play.
 
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OP
Dreamboum

Dreamboum

Member
Oct 28, 2017
16,287
I thought it started very strong but it became a slog after the first half. The dimension gates (or whatever they were called) were very repetitive and the platforming in the last couple of hours drove me up the wall. Even the story just feel apart towards the end.

Thankfully the combat was still pretty great and I enjoyed the detective mode quests. Props to Platinum for letting me use EVA Unit 1 colors :)
Yeah the over-reliance on astral planes really showed. I guess for a game made in two years that's a good achievement there is so much content but I would have liked a shorter but tighter game