Astral Chain is the latest release from the PlatinumGames and it has landed on the Nintendo Switch. Building upon a decade's worth of some of the best action games ever made, this new title still manages to feel unique with its stunning cyberpunk-inspired anime setting.
The studio’s ability to fulfill a players power fantasy is what the action genre is all about. The feeling of empowerment is further enhanced by the accessibility of their games. As a result, Astral Chain somehow manages to be both simple and complex with its customization and RPG elements. There’s just one attack button but the depth comes from its detailed world and controlling the Legions in battle.
Astral Chain very much stands on its own as one of the best action-adventure hack-and-slash titles available today. However, once it is all over and gamers are waiting or hoping for a sequel there are other games in the genre just as worthy of their attention in the meantime.
10 El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron was an action-adventure game developed by Ignition games and was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011. It was worked on by some of the same team that created Devil May Cry and Okami.
Gamers looking for an action game with a unique art style and a combat system that requires the player to vary their attacks as much as possible should look no further than El Shaddai. Those familiar with PlatinumGames' work will also enjoy the meshing of racing, combat action, and old-school 2D platforming genres into one unique game.
9 God Hand
Released in 2007 Clover Studio’s Godhand is beat-em-up developed by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami as well as many of the same team that went on to form PlatinumGames. The game’s setting is inspired by anime like Fist of the North Star and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Godhand’s combat system moves with the same kind of frenetic energy as PlatinumGames’ titles allowing the player to move and attack in all directions. Despite initially releasing with terrible reviews, the game went on to become a cult classic and is considered one of the best pure beat-em-ups on the PlayStation 2.
Released in 2010, MadWorld was developed by PlatinumGames for the Nintendo Wii and was considered controversial because of the extreme violence on display. This was likely down to the complainants. Mediawatch-UK. viewing Nintendo as a family console aimed at children.
Visually, the game took inspiration from Frank Miller’s graphic novel Sin City and looks just as unique as Astral Chain. MadWorld is a pure action game with many of the same elements seen in Astral Chain appearing here such as motorcycle combat, stylized visuals but in a far more violent dystopian world setting with inspiration taken from The Running Man.
7 Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 was released on the PlayStation 3 in 2009 and was an enhanced port of the original Xbox 360 version of Ninja Gaiden 2. Developed by studio Team Ninja, the same team behind the notoriously tough Nioh, it is a very difficult game in its own right.
However, once players become accustomed to the fast-paced combat system the fights become a matter of learning attack patterns and timing. Fans of Astral Chain will enjoy the blistering speed and unique boss battles which require a lot of patience and skill.
Vanquish is another game developed by PlatinumGames and was released in 2010 on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Additionally, it was directed by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami who took inspiration from the 1970s anime Casshern.
Vanquish features PlatinumGames’ over-the-top fast-paced action style while introducing the sliding-boost mechanic now seen in popular battle royale title Apex Legends. In addition, the game innovated by combining old school bullet hell shooting mechanics with the cover shooting.
5 The Bayonetta Series
Bayonetta series was developed by PlatinumGames and headed by Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya. The game puts the players in the shoes of the titular Bayonetta, a shapeshifting Umbral Witch caught between a war with heaven and hell.
Bayonetta shares a lot in common with Astral Chain. This is evident in the game’s “Witch Time” mechanic where a perfectly timed dodge slows time to create openings for Bayonetta’s super attacks. This requires the same kind of timing for Astral Chain where perfect dodges will allow the player to activate Sync Attacks.
4 Metal Gear Rising: Reveangence
Metal Gear Rising: Reveangence was released in 2013 and centered around Metal Gear Solid 2’s Raiden. Instead of using the stealth-based action used in the mainline Metal Gear Solid series, it focused on stylized hack-and-slash swordplay.
The sword combat is some of the best seen in gaming and uses a slice mechanic. The slice mechanic allows Raiden to slow time in a similar manner to Astral Chain’s Sword Legion. It allows the player to cut through enemies in a variety of creative ways as well as slicing up projectiles Matrix-style.
3 Transformers: Devastation
Transformers: Devastation was developed by PlatinumGames and released in 2015. Its art style was inspired by the generation 1 Transformers cartoon series in the 1980s. Not only is it a great action title but is one of the best games based on the classic franchise.
In keeping with the developer's style, the game is an action title that incorporates driving, hack-and-slash combat, and shooting. Devastation uses a mechanic that slows time in a similar way to Astral Chain and Bayonetta. Here, a perfectly timed dodge activates the Autobot's Focus allowing the player to hit back with devasting counter-attacks.
2 Devil May Cry V
The original Devil May Cry was created by some of the members that now work at PlatinumGames. It makes sense then, that fans of Astral Chain will find a lot to love with the series’ most recent entry Devil May Cry V.
Devil May Cry V features three characters, Dante, Nero, and V. All three characters are distinct and just like Astral Chain,, the player’s combat is rated by style with an emphasis on chaining/mixing up attacks using combinations. Furthermore, new character V's ability to summon demons works very similarly albeit with less complexity to Astral Chain's Legion summons.
1 NieR: Automata
In terms of action and gameplay mechanics NieR: Automata is very close to Astral Chain on many levels it also happens to have one of the best narratives this generation. Automata’s lead gameplay designer is the lead director for Astral Chain and it shows.
Astral Chain’s Ability Code System is very much an evolution of the Chip system from NieR: Automata. Of course, PlatinumGames’ focus on timing dodges and powerful counterattacks are present. The player is also assisted in battle by a flying robot called a Pod which functions very much like this game’s version of a Legion.