Astral Chain Review – Top 13 Beginner Tips
No Astral Chain review would be complete without a discussion about its developer: PlatinumGames. Although PlatinumGames received accolades for creating silky-smooth action games, an overlooked aspect of Platinum’s development strategy is accessibility. While the combat systems in Bayonetta, NieR Automata, and the Wonderful 101 are indeed complex, the development team did a commendable job of embedding user-friendly elements into each installment. For example, players do not need to learn all of Bayonetta’s attack combos to be successful at the game; however, the series rewards players with higher scores and more currency for successfully executing difficult combos.
Platinum takes a similar approach with Astral Chain. Combat mechanics are thoroughly explained during the tutorial sections, but players do not need to learn each mechanic to successfully beat the game. While Astral Chain admirably explains most of these systems, several elements are vague and can lead to confusion for new players. For that reason, we’re created a Baker’s Dozen list of our Top 12(+1) lesser-known tips with the goal of providing players with information they cannot find anywhere else. Before we get started, let’s explain the game’s experience points and currency.
- Gene Codes are experience points for your Legions and can be used to unlock nodes on a Legion’s Skill Tree. Unlocking these nodes adds abilities, attack power, defense, resistance, etc… Players earn gene codes by defeating enemy chimera and completing quests.
- Officer Rank is the experience level of your main character. Officer rank points are granted at the end of each level, and the amount is determined by the player’s performance during the level. Increasing the officer rank to the next level grants additional HP as well as a unique, consumable item. Avoiding damage, performing difficult combos, completing side quests, and cleaning red matter are the primary means of increasing level performance and your character’s officer rank.
- Currency is used to purchase consumable items and weapon upgrades and can be earned by completing side quests and selling salvageable items.
With that out of the way, let’s get started!
We all need a good cleaning behind the ears every once-in-a-while, and Legions are no different. Cleaning up all that red matter is no easy task, and your Legions will accumulate excess poison around their arms and legs after each mission. Neglecting to remove red matter will result in decreased speed and attack consistency from your Legions. Good thing the training area inside Neuron has a cleaning terminal in the back corner. Remember to utilize this resource at the beginning of each file not only to cleanse your Legions but also to switch up their color schemes if you so desire.
2. Money Money MONEY!!!
Some of us are spenders. Some of us are savers. But we all should be giving our in-game currency to Tabitha. Tabitha, who is located in the basement of the Neuron precinct, has the ability to upgrade your x-baton or astral chain. Doing so will increase the attack power of your weapons or the duration of time your Legion can be out on the chain. But there is one little catch – Tabitha’s services are NOT cheap. Astral Chain’s levels are littered with consumable items so avoid the temptation of wasting money on consumables and instead focus on upgrades. In a pinch for some cash? Sell all of your salvageable items with the exception of cat food. Trust us, you won’t need those items and cannot use them in the game. But the cat food…
3. Don’t (we mean DO) Feed the Animals
Early on in the game, your main character will find a secret hideout that is also home to a clowder of stray kitties (yes, a group of cats is called a “clowder”). Feeding these companions will reward the player with a rare item, such as a rare core material that can be used to upgrade your Legion’s abilities. Cat food can be difficult to find but is most often seen from enemy drops and side quest rewards.
4. Social Butterfly
Astral Chain’s combat is thrilling, and the action sequences are absolutely addictive. For these reasons, players will be tempted to jump right back into the action at the beginning of each level but doing so will result in lost dialogue options and consumable items. After each level, the Neuron precinct changes. NPCs will have new dialogue options, some of which can yield experience points. Consumable items are also hidden throughout the precinct. Take the time to socialize, and Astral Chain will reward you accordingly.
5. Mandatory Training
Orientation is one of the necessary evils of employment and being a new officer on the Neuron task force is no different. Just like orientation, Astral Chain’s training modules are uninspired, but completing each module does yield some experience points towards your Officer Rank. We recommend stopping by the computer in the precinct training area and completing all available training. Who knows, it might just save your life (probably not).
6. Hidden Combos
Astral Chain’s tutorial section will explain the basics of binding enemies and performing simple jump attacks, but these combinations only scratch the surface of Astral Chain’s battle mechanics. As players unlock Legion skills and abilities, new combinations become available; however, the game will not overtly explain how to perform every new combo. This information is tucked away in the “help” section of the main menu and contains explanations how to perform every learned combination for all five Legions. We recommend heading over to the precinct training area and practicing a few combos for each Legion until they become second nature. Pulling off challenging combos during a mission will increase your overall performance and officer rank.
7. Apple of my Eye
Astral Chain’s IRIS feature is like a thermal imaging scope on steroids. Instead of merely highlighting useful areas to explore, turning on IRIS provides players with detailed information regarding quest locations, red matter spots, NPC data, treasure boxes, etc… Two lesser-known features include the following:
- Turning IRIS on during a Boss fight will display the amount of remaining health
- IRIS will display a Legion icon over areas or NPCs that a specific Legion can interact with. For example, the Sword legion can cure red-matter illness from NPCs, which rewards players with additional experience points.
Needless to say, we recommend keeping IRIS turned on as much as possible.
8. “Finish Him!”
Moral Kombat is known for climatic experiences that manifest in the form of “fatalities.” Astral Chain follows suit by displaying a prompt to “finish” an enemy with low health by pressing the “A” button. But this cinematic finisher is not just for show. By performing an attack finisher, players are rewarded with extra Gene Codes, which can be used to unlock nodes on the Legion skill trees. Gene codes can be difficult to accumulate so finishing enemies is key to upgrading Legion abilities and skills.
9. Yellow Slimes
No role-playing game is complete without the age-old trope of unique enemies. While Astral Chain is first and foremost an action game, this ageless RPG element manifests in the form of glowing yellow slimes. These unique monsters only appear for a limited amount of time and are the most elusive enemies in the game. Each level contains one unique slime, which will yield the player with more than 700 gene codes. Considering that most enemies grant less than 50 gene codes per kill, defeating a yellow slime is a springboard to unlocking nodes on your Legions’ skill trees. Yellow slimes are carefully hidden throughout the missions and therefore are challenging to find; however, they often appear if the player backtracks to certain areas after cut-scenes.
10. Mail-in Rebate
How many times have we received a coupon with a mail-in rebate only to forget about it a few days later? The same can be said for Astral Chain’s reward system. Side quests and achievements unlock a treasure trove of upgrade materials and consumable items, but Astral Chain forces players to manually claim these rewards. In the main menu, scroll to the “Orders” section and select each line with a red “gift” to receive the reward.
11. Gyro Aiming Head Shots
Breath of the Wild has one of the best gyro aiming mechanics gaming with its the bow and arrow system, but Astral Chain is a close second with the Arrow Legion. While the left and right thumb-sticks are adequate to defeat most enemies, utilizing gyro controls makes executing head shots much easier. The only downside is that Astral Chain does not have a menu option to change the sensitivity of its gyro controls. As a result, gyro movement is slower than most games but more than adequate to take down moving targets.
12. Assign Quests to the Map
Astral Chain’s side quests are not challenging. Most involve killing a few chimera or simply completing the mundane fetch quest; however, a few quests are vague and require a significant amount of backtracking. The resulting frustration can lead to players foregoing the quest all together, but there is a better option. In the map menu, Astral Chain allows players to prioritize side quests over the main mission. Doing so will illuminate a blue section on the map indicating the area where the side quest can be completed. Simply open the map from the menu option and select the side quest with the “A” button to prioritize it over the main mission.
13. Do it for the ‘Gram
Our Baker’s Dozen pick for the Top 12(+1) Astral Chain Beginner Tips is the nothing more than the in-game camera features. Aonoma and the Zelda team popularized the “selfie” in Breath of the Wild, but they also gave the mechanic purpose. Just as snapping a picture in Breath of the Wild adds to the Hyrule Compendium, taking a selfie with an NPC in Astral Chain unlocks important background information about the game’s most prevalent characters. Character information is stored on the main precinct office PC right next to Olive. While background information provides no stat upgrades, the data sheds light on certain NPC motivations and behaviors.
And there you have it. Our Top 13 lesser-known tips and tricks for playing Astral Chain. But we want to hear from you! Hit us up in the comments section below or the social media icons on the right with your best Astral Chain tips and tricks. We add content weekly so check back with us later for more news on Astral Chain and other favorites. Until next time, cheers!