You'll need some Astral Chain tips as you face a constant onslaught of weird Chimeras and monsters, so you’d best be prepared if you want to survive and hit that S Rank. Astral Chain is the latest game from Platinum, and while it might not be as hard as some of their other titles, it still helps to know what you’re doing, so to help you along here are some Astral Chain tips to help you get good fast.
1. Time your dodges
Dodging at the last second gives you the chance to perform a powerful counterattack and, later on, allows you to use your Legion to counterattack and reposition too. Dodging in general is useful of course, but timing it at the last second also slows down time temporarily, so learn to read enemy attacks to get the most out of it.
2. Use your chain for free hits
You learn early on that you can use your chain to attack in two ways. The first is to use it to rebound charging enemies; the second is to wrap the chain around enemies and bind them. Both of these let you get some free hits in, so make the most of it. Speaking of which...
3. Aim for the head or back
You deal extra damage when attacking an enemy's head or back. You can use your chain to set this up with ease or use your Legion to distract them. That way, one of you will always be dealing extra damage. Think of it like having a very easy to control co-op partner.
4. Use the training area
Often the training area is a bit pointless in games, but that’s not the case here. There are a bunch of tricks you can learn by going through the programs there. You'll need to visit it a couple of times in order to learn all of the skills, but it’s well worth it.
5. Visit Tabitha often
Tabitha is near the training area in HQ and while some of the shops feel almost optional thanks to the constant supply of health items, Tabitha is very much a necessity. She can upgrade your X-Baton and Legions, so make sure you pay her a visit whenever you’re in the HQ and upgrade your gear. It’s worth doing the X-Baton first, as it unlocks new attacks or forms for you weapon up until around level 5.
6. Scan bosses with IRIS to see health
This isn't essential, but it can help you alleviate some of that fear when fighting a big boss. If you jump into IRIS, you’ll bring up their health bar. It doesn’t have to be for long either, so drop straight back out of it once you’ve looked at them. It works with regular enemies too; it’s just that they often don’t last long enough to matter.
7. Look for the bright light and hit ZL
You’ll learn about sync attacks early on. When a bright circle appears near your weapon during combat you can hit ZL to attack in unison with your Legion. As you upgrade your Legion you’ll find these prompts popping up when you dodge, when you summon at the right time, and even after certain special attacks. So make sure to hit ZL whenever you can to get in more powerful attacks. Also, don’t be afraid to then hit ZR to continue the attack, some of these attacks can turn into combos, allowing you to keep an enemy stunned and taking huge amounts of damage.
8. Explore everywhere for items, Gels, and missions
This one is fairly obvious, but make sure you explore everywhere. It’s not essential by any means, but if you want to get the best items, then you’re going to need to do so. You’ll find hidden cases, items, extra corruption to clear away, and occasionally special Gel enemies. These enemies run around a lot, but if you can kill them, you’ll get some great items. They often appear in areas you’ve come from but aren’t expected to return to for story reasons, so backtrack if you get the chance.
9. Upgrade your Legions and check your status
The micromanagement in Astral Chain is relatively limited, but what is available is worth doing. You have to upgrade your Legions in the menu, which is also where you equip the skills you unlock for them and equip special ability items you find as you journey around. The tab next to this one shows your the status of your missions - you’ll get rewards for hitting certain milestones, and this is where you claim them. They tend to be useful upgrade items, so make sure to do it after every mission.
10. Finish off enemies
When an enemy gets low on health, you’ll get the chance to ‘Finish Off’ them. This is a stylish way of ending fights, but it serves a much more useful function too: it allows you to heal. Many of the bosses you fight will have little minions around them, and it turns out they are less to annoy you, and more to help you stay alive. Simply beat one up when you notice your health getting a bit low and finish them off (you hit A when the prompt comes up) this will restore your health and leave you fighting fit.