There is all the time one thing thrilling about enjoying a model new JRPG that isn’t from one of many fashionable franchises we already know and love, largely to see the way it differentiates itself from the pack. But whereas Astria Ascending’s flip-based mostly fight is superb, its mediocre story and weak quest design drag it down. It has loads of amusing issues going for it, however these shortcomings maintain it from changing into the breakout JRPG it had the potential to be.
Astria Ascending places a aspect-scrolling twist on a extra conventional, flip-based mostly RPG shell. You’ll discover its world of Orchanon as a 2D platformer, getting into separate rooms, gathering treasures, and encountering enemies as you journey throughout the display screen. But whereas its presentation is novel, its story setup is one thing we’ve seen a number of occasions earlier than: you play as Ulan, the chief of the 333rd firm of Demi-Gods attempting to cease an uncompelling chaotic risk that wishes to take away concord from the world.
Screens – Astria Ascending
Each of your celebration members has their very own greater motivation too, however normally, the story is simply so cliche. Astria Ascending’s world has a novel look and its races are freshly designed, however their variations are solely pores and skin deep. Because of this, the principle solid suffers from bland dialogue and a scarcity of character, making them uninteresting to spend dozens of hours with.
And like so many different JRPG tales, their battle is in opposition to yet one more syndicate of generic villains that wish to destroy the world for some weak, unconvincing cause. That isn’t to say that this story construction by no means works, as a result of it does have entertaining or heartfelt moments right here and there. Many celebration members have household tied into the occasions in ways in which could possibly be compelling, however with how imprecise loads of the plot factors are left, these potential hooks had been by no means really in a position to seize my curiosity.
Unsurprisingly, finishing your quest will imply venturing right into a handful of puzzle-crammed dungeons. Some of those require you to benefit from fundamental elemental powers to unravel them, like utilizing wind to maneuver packing containers to their appropriate place. But most aren’t that partaking attributable to their simplicity. Dungeons are often structured the identical too: every has a boss often known as an Astrae you could summon in battle when you’ve defeated it, adopted by one other boss on the finish, leaving them slightly too predictable to make your method via.
The repetition is shaken up a bit comparatively deep into the story by a piece the place you shoot enemies within the sky like a aspect scrolling shooter, however it’s too little too late. You solely ever see this twist between particular places within the latter half of the story, and by that time you’ll have already got progressed to this point that its introduction feels random and disjointed.
As you discover Orchanon, additionally, you will discover loads of aspect quests, however these are equally simple and uninspired, doing little to make the world really feel fleshed out. You’ll typically be requested to defeat a sure variety of enemies or discover the search giver a selected merchandise, and little else. While none of them are very attention-grabbing, further guild missions that activity you with killing particular enemies for cash, expertise, and talent factors might be. Every enemy kind has distinct talents so combating these minibosses provides much more selection to the creatures that you simply face, which is very welcome when fight is the shining star right here.
Focus Your Skills
Astria Ascending actually stands out in its battles and its artwork model. Every zone is drop useless beautiful, particularly in dungeons. Since it’s introduced as a 2D platformer exterior of fights, the world of Orchanon feels as if it was created in a narrative e-book – every of its characters drawn with tender love and care, and so they particularly shine in fight. Whether it’s an assault, spell, buff, or standing impact, every part is animated immaculately and with objective.
The fight itself is a few of the greatest I’ve seen in a conventional flip-based mostly JRPG. This is because of the glorious Focus mechanic, which makes the celebration achieve Focus Points when putting an enemy’s weak spot. Focus can stack up, permitting you to deal an abundance of injury as soon as it maxes out. But when you’re gathering Focus, enemies can hit your weaknesses and do the very same factor, elevating the stakes the longer a combat goes on. You’ll additionally must watch out since utilizing the fallacious assault on an enemy will make you lose Focus, including an additional layer of stress to every combat. Mix that thrilling system with the artwork and animations and it actually makes fight a formidable package deal.
Almost each encounter appears like a problem that’s satisfying to overcome too. An intuitive job system offers all kinds of talents to make use of, and planning your crew’s powers is the place Astria Ascending’s true puzzles lie. Members of your celebration start with a beginning job however will achieve three extra all through the story, which offers them with a myriad of various abilities to combine and match based mostly in your private desire and the weaknesses of the enemies you’re going through.
Unfortunately, Astria Ascending additionally comes with some horrendous problem spikes. This means you’ll sometimes must spend a major period of time grinding to get previous powerful enemies. There is not less than a problem possibility that may be lowered in the event you’re not prepared to cope with these annoying spikes – however on the traditional problem, it’s not unusual to spend a number of hours leveling simply to get previous one particular combat solely to must do it once more for a distinct one not too far down the street.