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

Jawmuncher

*Dibo Crisis*
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
14,832
Ibis Island
I was very unimpressed with the game. There’s some good ideas there, but a lot of odd design decisions. One being the stealth sections, and the often time small areas to fight which had drop off.

I’ve never played a game that felt so “claustrophobic”. But Astral chain really feels that way.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,180
I'm right there with you OP. I came away still enjoying it, but there was so much bloat. I appreciated the attempts to differentiate it from being another Platinum game but all of the extra stuff like side quests and investigation ended up bringing the overall experience down. It didn't help that the game was more story focused than their typical fare but was the story was as generic anime as could be. I really hope a sequel is more focused on the good stuff like the combat.
 

AGoodODST

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,002
I actually enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. One of my favourite games of last year actually.
 

Zephyriel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,534
There are a lot of games I enjoy a lot while playing them, and soon after finished them, thinking back I realize I don't love them so much.

Astral Chain is not one of them. Everything in this game just really clicked with me, and I feel it's a game I will really long to come back to after some time passes. I agree that it could have used less astral plane sequences, but it wasn't enough to hurt my enjoyment.

The one thing I didn't really like was the mission structure ; I'd rather have had open hubs where I could fly to whenever I liked rather than having to reload the specific mission and basically go back in the game's chronology to revisit locations. If there is a sequel, I hope it will be a bit more open.
 

eXistor

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,485
The game was too schizophrenic; the detective parts were under cooked in every sense and the action parts were visually unappealing and neither meshed well with the other. I like the game, but a must-play it is not.
 

regenhuber

Banned
Nov 4, 2017
2,760
Loved the “anime cyberpunk cops” setting, hated everything else.
Dropped the game after 6hrs or so and don’t even remember a single aspect that I liked.
 

blitzblake

Member
Jan 4, 2018
1,889
Game is way too long considering how repetitive it is, think I only got up to case 6/7 before throwing in the towel.
 

sinny

Member
Oct 28, 2017
721
Agree, but for different reasons. The game should ve been 8hs without all the repetitive sidequests with a more focused combat system.
The game was all over the place. It felt like the director put every single idea he had into it, its a mess.
It has a lot of good things too and im sure a sequel will be a lot better but i wouldnt recomend this to a friend.
 

Thera

Member
Feb 28, 2019
2,636
Way too long.
The level design, game design and mission design are not good enough.
And the platforming?! Infiltration?! The story?!
Add the lack of balanced between beasts, and yeah, it wasn't a good game.
 

Qudi

Member
Jul 26, 2018
2,020
My problem is how bland all characters are except for Marie. And the story is really boring as well. I didnt finish it yet, but im struggling to play anymore. The astral plane is a pure nightmare. I regret paying full price for it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,714
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.



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...
A lot of the outfits were gotten by replaying levels and doing challenges or going back with new legions etc. so yeah I wasn’t that into the game to do all of that lol
 

Mechaplum

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,794
- 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.
These two points resonated with me the most. I guess it was partially my fault to expect something to follow up to Automata? Taura's name being hyped didn't help any either. However it did nail home the point that my interest and tastes lies with Yoko Taro rather than Platinum's offerings.

Dropped it halfway through because yeah I couldn't be bothered being a vacuum cleaner with the red matters and there were no characters I was invested in to see the story through. Also it is one game that works much better on the big screen than in handheld mode, due to how cramped and busy it was.
 

ryushe

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,105
You know what, OP? I'm right there with you.

For everything I love about Astral Chain, there's something about it that just didn't click for me. I think it's the pacing, tbh. Like, I'm literally at the ending and I have no desire to go back to complete it.
 

No Depth

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,641
Damn, I still haven't played my copy but was looking forward to it eventually. Now? Hrmm...
 

Supermanisdead

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
818
It was padded to hell. Combat was fun, but it really should have cut down on all the pointless cutscenes and side quests. I don't care about this world and the morons who are dealing drugs and stealing cats. Just let me fucking fight. Story and characters was probably one of Platinum's worst.
 

yap

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,227
All the ideas it presents make me curious on how they improve in a sequel, but as is? It's really, really hard to get the motivation to replay the game.

If anything, I was happy to see a summoner/stand type battle system in an action game again.
 

Terraforce

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
10,021
Agreed on most of those points. Makes me sad too, because aesthetically it's awesome, the soundtrack is full of bangers, the idea of Astrals is cool, and the combat has a lot of depth to it. But there's a lot of poor decisions that held it back for me. I dropped it shortly after attaining the fourth Astral and I don't feel the need to return any time soon.
 

JamFlan

Member
May 16, 2018
1,113
I liked it. Big issue for me was that it started strong and then never really got better, and in some cases didn't really love up to the greats of the very beginning. It led to the entire experience being much more underwhelming than I was expecting after the first or second level.
 

slothrop

Member
Aug 28, 2019
372
There are hints in interviews that they had a lot of trouble pinning down what the game is, and that really shows in the final output imo.

The original conceit from what I read was that it was a Pokemon like thing where you could capture any of the enemies. You can kinda see how this was intended because there are so many rare one off designs that just really don't stick with you after. They couldn't scale it though.

The red matter thing is just stupid. The game would lose nothing by cutting it. It feels like it's only there because they felt the map design was too confusing and it helps guide the player along on where to go next. There had to be a better solution.

Also it is just insanely easy. Button mash and just use the limitless healing items you get if you have low health. I swear I used like one bread and button combo endlessly. Maybe hard is better, but it doesn't let you play in hard without replaying the game, which I'm not interested in. I think I read they had trouble pinning down exactly how to do the double controlled characters thing too.

Also the environment puzzles are pretty lame. They slow down the pace but none of them feel too satisfying. They're all designed exactly the same in the astral plane too. BotW has the latter problem with shrines, but you certainly cannot say that they are all boring puzzles

Just some of my thoughts, I'm sure I forgot something. It was not a bad game, just not memorable and flawed. I truly cannot remember much of it just a few months later. There were pieces there that could be improved in a sequel
 

Bit_Reactor

Member
Apr 9, 2019
2,888
I think it shows what Taura's influence was on Nier Automata, that being all the side content and stuff and how the structure in the game was arranged to be combat heavy but allow for side content to flesh out the world. I loved the combat, I lvoed the platforming, and I loved the side content. It felt really great to see the MC have to do cop things and "menial" labor to me because it helps reinforce their role in the world, and I would have liked more character moments but I enjoyed how the story felt like a bunch of episodes of an anime with standalone plots AND an overarching plotling. You get to know the characters and settings in the world and little things like helping a kid reunite with their parent or something was a good touch imo.

The Astral plane stuff I can definitely understand but I'll take more games like Astral Chain that at least try to mix it up even if they don't stick the landing than another carbon copy of another game. If Taura gets another chance to direct (which I hope he does) I hope he just continues to fine tune and streamline some of the issues people have with this one rather than abandoning his "voice" as a director with the side content present in both Automata and Astral Chain. I think it's a great perspective and I enjoy it personally.
 

Majora's Mask

Member
Oct 26, 2017
802
I'm actually playing through it before I move on to Pokémon Sword and gotta say, it's a solid 7.0 game for me. There's something about it that just reminds me of the PS2/GC era, or maybe is because it screams AA on various things.

I like the combat and the OST, those two things are the ones that keep me coming to the game. I'm currently on File 09 and the story seems convoluted for the sake of being convoluted. Fighting chimeras gets boring really quickly and for the first six files it uses the same mission structure which gets repetitive and by the time you reach the later half of the game you kinda get sick about the Astral plane.

I do hope there is a sequel. There is so much room for improvement and the foundations are there.
 

Mechaplum

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,794
I think it shows what Taura's influence was on Nier Automata, that being all the side content and stuff and how the structure in the game was arranged to be combat heavy but allow for side content to flesh out the world. I loved the combat, I lvoed the platforming, and I loved the side content. It felt really great to see the MC have to do cop things and "menial" labor to me because it helps reinforce their role in the world, and I would have liked more character moments but I enjoyed how the story felt like a bunch of episodes of an anime with standalone plots AND an overarching plotling. You get to know the characters and settings in the world and little things like helping a kid reunite with their parent or something was a good touch imo.

The Astral plane stuff I can definitely understand but I'll take more games like Astral Chain that at least try to mix it up even if they don't stick the landing than another carbon copy of another game. If Taura gets another chance to direct (which I hope he does) I hope he just continues to fine tune and streamline some of the issues people have with this one rather than abandoning his "voice" as a director with the side content present in both Automata and Astral Chain. I think it's a great perspective and I enjoy it personally.
I’m totally fine with menial side stories and detective work but I don’t think they were executed as well as it could. For instance it took me longer than it was fun to find NPCs for one investigation mission due to the verticality of the level and the not very helpful mini map.
 

Phendrana

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,697
Sydney, Australia
This is how I feel about the vast majority of the first party output on Switch tbh.

Breath of the Wild, Three Houses and Splatoon 2 aside, I've ended up being underwhelmed or straight up disappointed by everything else.
 

Arta

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,852
I bought my Nintendo Switch specifically to play Astral Chain, and ended up refunding it and getting Donkey Kong Country instead. Best swap of my life.
 

Ramsay

Member
Jul 2, 2019
790
Australia
I agree. While Astral Chain isn't the worst game that I played last year (Death Stranding and Pokemon Sword/Shield are far worse) or even a bad game, at least in the two cases mentioned before, I expected these two games to suck. Astral Chain, however, had decent combat from a developer that at this point, should be able to do better, and everything outside of the combat (the investigations, the platforming) was straight out not good.

Probably the weakest major game that Platinum's released, to be honest.
 

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,100
I mainlined this and finished it very quickly. And yeah, I'm kinda down on it in retrospect. The leash mechanic felt imprecise and distracting in combat, and the adventure part was too wordy with a glut of dull sidequests. I really love some of the cyberpunk stuff (like the crime scene recreation and the detective mode overlay) but the story did almost nothing for me.

And the silent protagonist! SUPER DISTRACTING with all of those mo-capped cutscenes and characters speaking directly to my dude and she's saying nothing except for a few grunts.

I'd still like to see Platinum experiment more with adventure/RPG elements though! Needs refinement.
 
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Hzsn724

Member
Nov 10, 2017
785
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.
That's a very good point. I just don't have the time to play everything and personally I do rely more on what this community says for some reason. I also have my YouTube pundits and journalism outlets I trust, friends....but I do weigh opinion pieces like this and what ppl say here pretty high. But you're right and because there is a still a spark of interest there for me, I should just try it for myself. I'm just so deep in other games atm that I don't see myself leaving them anytime soon to play this. $ and time is a factor especially when 2020 has such a promising lineup.
 

Saint-14

Banned
Nov 2, 2017
14,473
I really didn’t like how it ended suddenly other than that it was great, side quests were shit though yes.
 

cyappu

Member
Jun 4, 2019
241
I know it’s a minor issue, but I really felt betrayed by how few clothing options there ended up being. They really set your expectations high with that customization menu...
 

SpaceCrystal

Member
Apr 1, 2019
2,120
Wow. Given these reactions, I glad that I never spent $60 on it & went with Daemon X Machina instead.

Hopefully, the sequel will be better.
 

Raysoul

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,421
It's a good action game but the The Wonderful 101 is a better Platinumgames game

- better gameplay
- better story
- better sidegames
- better characters
- Top tier music
- God tier final chapter
 

Sumio Mondo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,892
United Kingdom
The Astral Plane is really dull and offputting. I'll return to the game at some point but yeah the combat is good but definitely not my favourite PG combat either (Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising still reign supreme in terms of melee combat, plus Vanquish's gun combat of course). It does sort of feel like an above average game to me. The detective stuff is just sort of there and okay but as somebody who plays a lot of detective/Adventure games it's very basic and can see why people find it boring.

Pacing is all over the place and characters/story is just so meh and forgettable.
 

giallo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,594
Shanghai/Seoul/Vancouver
I was really enoying myself, but it got weird around Chapter 8 or 9. They introduced a lot of weird chores to do, and a timed area where you had to go from platform to platform. I couldn't find my way, and didn't care enough to check online, so I just dropped it.
 

NightShift

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,340
'straya
Me too. A Platinum game with (not) stands as the primary mechanic should have been my jam but the direction they went with it was the opposite of what I wanted. Hopefully the sequel has less story, less repetitive bullshit, ditches the stealth and platforming sections, has better quest design and more combat.
 

Heyrule

Member
Oct 31, 2017
1,802
I bought it at launch, ERA had hyped that title into the stratosphere. I can definitely see what makes it a good game but I just couldn't click with it and I couldn't be bothered to finish it. Music was dope though. I also just had a deluge of other games to play, maybe had it been a slower year I woulda made it further. Then again I bought DMCV last year as well and couldn't put that down so...
 

Astral/H3X

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,712
My main problem was the combat felt like it had very little depth to it. Sure there were stats galore but the actual execution just felt like press ZR until you can press ZL.
That's really all that kept me from finishing it.

Stealth sections were great because they were 99% not stealth sections hehe. Stands being invisible works out great.
 

Kupo Kupopo

Member
Jul 6, 2019
582
- 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 main reason i never made it past chapter 6. if your gonna have half your game happen there, at least make the environment appealing. & why, exactly, does the astral plane look like hell, anyway?...
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,548
Melbourne, Australia
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.
If Astral Chain is the only game you've played from Platinum I think you'd be foolish to never try another Platinum game again to be honest. Give Bayonetta 1/2 (1 has some bullshit but great combat and those games are much more in line with classic character action like DMC etc) or even something like Metal Gear Rising a shot.
 

Moara

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,889
The framerate was awful as well, which really hurt the one pretty good aspect of the game (the combat). It was fine whenever it sent you to the frame rate dimension, but any time the game tried to do a big setpiece it would chuck to single digits at times.

It also didn't know if it wanted to be an open world game, or a linear action game. In the end it ended up being the worst of both worlds with none of the benefits of either. The game would have been better if it went full on Nier Automata with it's level structure, or just kept it fully linear.
 

Jahranimo

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,590
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.
That's how I felt, especially going from Astral Chain -> DMC5 in 2019.

Combat is incredible when you get it down and have your skill trees and loadouts setup, but can understand the dislike and pushback the game has gotten since release.
 

ventuno

Member
Nov 11, 2019
65
Hmm you've actually confirmed a lot of the suspicions I had about whether or not I want to play this game. I feel like I should be more excited about it than I am, but something about it has always made me skeptical. The emphasis on the vague-ish to Automata felt like a red flag too...

I still want to give it a shot later on but I'll temper my exceptions.
 

Bunzy

Member
Nov 1, 2018
857
Haven’t played it yet but I love the idea of futuristic Cyber punk cops. I loved that cartoon COPS back in the day and this makes me think of that