Over the last few weeks I've lost patience with some games to the point that I just couldn't stomach them anymore and uninstalled them from my Switch with the intention to never play them again. This happens to the best of us, games that we buy with the hope of being something special only to find yourself regretting that purchase like a bad relationship you just want to end and forget about. Well, of all the games I've recently dumped from my switch forever, there's one game that I tried my best to see through to the end but at the end of the day, I just can't do it because I really don't like it.
I really like the art direction and how the game runs on Switch even in portable mode. I even liked the early investigative bits that allowed you to walk around the city like a beat cop. Those were some really relaxing, really cool moments. I really enjoyed that entire atmoshpere because it felt great leading up to something major. But there were two areas that killed the game for me to the point of disgust.
1) the combat. This was really a surprise because I'm a huge Bayonetta/Bayonetta 2 fan finishing both games multiple times across consoles, Switch and the original on PC. That's an extention of being a fan of Devil May Cry for which I finished the original, DMC 2, DMC 4 and Ninja Theory's DMC. But for the love of gaming, the combat in Astral Chain sucks to me. There are so many effects going on at any given time that I couldn't see what the hell was going on which breaks my timing for dodging. Enemies don't stagger on average unless you do a combo long enough to attack with a Legion so you can be in mid-combo but far too many enemies will simply take the damage with no reaction to it and hit you, breaking your own combo. In short, you can be staggered far easier than the enemy and the enemy can attack you even while getting hit. Larger mobs are the worse because the counter that's supposed to make mobs manageable just doesn't work consistently enough to matter. Good luck if an enemy has an attack that hits consecutively because I've never been able to dodge the second, third, forth, fifth attack if I was lucky enough to dodge the first. Jeez, man what was Platinum smoking.
Camera angles are atrocious in Astral Chain combat sequences and that really baffled me to the point that I fired up Bayonetta 2 to compare because I've never had problems with the camera in that game. But in Astral Chain, the camera angles are such that blind spots are constantly a problem because enemies will attack off screen and connecting for cheap hits. How are you supposed to dodge an attack you can't even see coming? The camera is almost never in a good spot to see what's going on no matter which settings I tried. I found myself straining to see what was going on due to the bombardment of effects, trying to baby sit the goddamn camera while still trying to actually perform a combo, time a button press to extend the combo with my Legion AND time a dodge counter if needed, within all of that mess. It just comes off as so sloppy. It's not fun and it's made worse because Bayonetta 2's combat is so much more enjoyable than what Astral Chain offers. I kept asking myself how Platinum thought this was good design after coming off of Bayonetta 2?
2) The Platforming. Jeez man, this is so bad I almost stopped playing my Switch entirely to go back to Monster Hunter: World on PC exclusively. Trying to make it through platforming levels with the Beast Legion is the worst. His controls are too twitchy for precise jumps and movement and we still have to fight with the camera. It was so annoying to go into an area with full health only to lose half of it due to constantly falling off of a ledge because the the asstastic Beast Legion or because the camera is wonky making quick sequences of jumps a total chore. Case 06 (?) with the drone following you around constantly talking, won't shut the hell up while struggling with the platforming and combat just ruined the experience to the point I gave up, turned off Astral Chain and wrote it off as a game I should have never spent money on.
Life is too short to suffer through bad games and it's always a huge disappointment when bad design is overlooked due to pretty graphics and the flavor of the month in popular hardware. Some people suggested I give it time because once the game "clicks" it's really good. I'm over 10 hours into it and even took time to train at the police station and combat still sucks, the camera still reeks. How much more time should I give it? 20 hours? 30? If it takes more than 3 hours for the core gameplay of a game to come together, that's a disgrace. I'm going back to Monster Hunter: World. It excels in the one area that Astral Chain simply couldn't maintain. Monster Hunter is really fun to play. Combat feels great and you don't have to struggle with the camera or the controls.