The only presentation of Nintendo's Post E3 event this year was a demo played by ASTRAL CHAIN, the new title Platinum Games exclusively on Nintendo Switch planned for the next 30 August. Conducted by Filippo Ghisolfi, Senior Product Analyst of Nintendo of Europe, the demo was divided into two parts: the first at the beginning of the game, simpler, and the second in an advanced phase of the story, to be able to show something more juicy.
Right from the start ASTRAL CHAIN shows its own Platinum DNA, relying on many strengths of the software house: scenographic and rapid action oriented fights, special moves to finish the opponent and the inevitable votes at the end of each section, for meet the needs of perfectionists. Accompanying the most direct action are the investigative and exploratory phases. Our character is after all a policeman, called to face the threat of chimeras, mysterious entities coming from another dimension that are endangering the existence of the whole humanity. Alternating with his twin sister, also a member of the same special division Neuron, the two are called to analyze the crime scenes in search of clues that reveal how to proceed in the hunt for the enemy.
Using state-of-the-art aids, such as Iris, an Augmented Reality viewer, you can literally "collect" the most important clues: the text that appears in overlay presents some words or phrases in red, which can be "added" to your virtual notebook. For example, in the first investigation of the game, the subject of the first part of the demo, a suspension bridge suddenly collapsed, leaving a giant footprint on the ground. One of the clues collected was "giant hand", which was then used as an answer in a subsequent dialogue. As for the combat phase, in ASTRAL CHAIN we can rely on ours "Legion", that is a chimera that has been trapped and is now at our command, harnessed by a chain. By becoming familiar, you can coordinate our attacks with those of the Legion, to maximize damage and get better ratings. Five different attack configurations are available, and for each one there is a skill tree with which to unlock attacks and features more and more powerful.
What appears to be the main feature of the title is the variety of solutions available to the player. Each feature of the game can be exploited in multiple ways. The Iris viewer can also be used in combat, as well as the Legion can be of enormous help even in the investigative phases. In the second part of the demo we also see the Astral Plan, that is the dimension of origin of the chimeras. The scenario is particularly abstract and disturbing, with what seem to be the souls of human beings sucked in and wander aimlessly. This setting focuses on puzzle-platform exploration and wave fighting.
Overall the impression is good, ASTRAL CHAIN "moves" well, even if only to 30fps, and there is a certain care in the setting and in the atmosphere, but it certainly does not have the charisma of any Bayonetta, to stay in line with the Platinum titles. Although the characters appear to be in line with the environment, their characterization is a bit banal and obvious. In short, it risks being a result appreciable only for fans of the genre, and failing to win over a wider audience despite accessible and engaging gameplay. Definitely a title to keep an eye on and not to be underestimated based on appearance: it will be ours at the end of the summer.