Platinum Games' Astral Chain is less than a week away from release and it's already looking like Nintendo might have another hit franchise up its sleeve. Announced in February as a Nintendo Switch exclusive title from the developers of NieR Automata and the upcoming Bayonetta 3, Astral Chain certainly has a lot of big-name franchises to live up to, particularly with names like Takahisa Taura and Hideki Kamiya attached.
In Astral Chain, players assume the role of a new recruit in a special police task force called the Neuron, as humanity is on the brink of extinction after being attacked by an inter-dimensional species known as the Chimera. Platinum Games' signature stylized-action gameplay can be expected alongside dungeon-like world design, puzzle-solving, and large scale boss battles, as well as the ability to customize the character's gender, face, hairstyle, and outfit.
So, what do the critics have to say about Platinum Games latest IP, Astral Chain?
Nintendo Insider (Darren Palma)
Astral Chain is yet another addition to the Nintendo Switch library that will be fondly 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.
IGN (Steven Petite)
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.
GameInformer (Andrew Reiner)
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.
ScreenRant (Leo Faierman)
PlatinumGames can finally claim a superb original release on the Switch, a sophisticated action-adventure worthy of their brand and absent of compromise, primed to become a new successful franchise.
Twinfinite (Hayes Madsen)
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.
Destructoid (Chris Carter)
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.
EGM (Reid Mccarter)
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.
Press Start Australia (James Mitchell)
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.
GameSpot (Michael Higham)
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.
Many other publications have moved away from the traditional scoring method when reviewing games. Eurogamer called Astral Chain "Sprawling, varied and constantly stylish," Polygon praised the game's accessibility calling it "an action game for everybody," and Kotaku compared the experience to asking for an ice cream scoop and being given a sundae; "What I wanted is there, and it’s good. There’s just so much more, and I love it all."
Overall, Platinum Games' has clearly created something special with Astral Chain that will please longtime fans of the developer and genre while offering something fun and accessible to newcomers. For more on Astral Chain, Nintendo has released a 35-minute gameplay demo showing off the games combat, world traversal, and a boss battle against the player and their Legion.
Astral Chain releases on August 30, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.