It’s hard to know what to expect from a game with a title like Astral Chain. It’s a name that calls to mind things like astrological and arcane philosophy books. But in reality, it’s the latest release from Platinum Games, a studio best-known for stylish action games like Bayonetta, Vanquish, and, more recently, Nier: Automata, a collaboration with idiosyncratic director Yoko Taro. Astral Chain is full of thrilling action sequences, but in most ways, it’s completely unlike any other Platinum game.
Really, it’s unlike anything I’ve played before. It’s a cyberpunk police anime about an interdimensional invasion that blends action, puzzle-solving, platforming, and detective work. There are plot threads about stray cats and the future of humanity, and your main weapon is a powerful being that’s tethered to you by a chain. Astral Chain is equal parts weird, exciting, and endearing, and it’s one of the most refreshing games of the year so far.
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