Astria Ascending Review – IGN
There’s always something exciting about playing a brand new JRPG that isn’t part of one of the popular franchises we already know and love, mainly to see how it differentiates itself from the pack. But while Astria Ascending’s turn-based combat is excellent, its poor history and weak quest design drag it down. He’s got a lot of fun things to do, but those shortcomings prevent him from becoming the breakout JRPG he had the potential to be.
Astria Ascending adds a side-scrolling key to a more traditional turn-based RPG shell. You’ll explore its world of Orchanon as a 2D platformer, entering separate rooms, collecting treasure, and encountering enemies as you roam the screen. But while its presentation is new, its story setup is something we’ve seen many times before: you play as Ulan, the leader of the 333rd Demigods Company trying to stop an unrelenting chaotic threat that wants to suppress. the harmony of the world.
Screens – Astria Ascending
Each of your group members also has their own motivation, but in general the story is so cliché. The world of Astria Ascending has a unique look and its races are freshly designed, but their differences are only superficial. Because of this, the main actors suffer from bland dialogue and a lack of personality, which makes them uninteresting to spend dozens of hours with them.
And like so many other JRPG stories, their fight is against another syndicate of generic villains who want to destroy the world for some weak and unconvincing reason. That’s not to say this story structure never works, because it has some entertaining or heartfelt moments here and there. Many of the group have family tied to the events in ways that might be compelling, but with the number of plot points left unclear, these potential hooks never really caught my interest.
Unsurprisingly, to complete your quest you’ll have to venture into a handful of puzzle-filled dungeons. Some of them require you to use basic elemental powers to solve them, like using the wind to move the boxes to their correct position. But most are not that engaging due to their simplicity. Dungeons are generally structured the same way: each has a boss called Astrae that you can summon into battle once you’ve defeated it, followed by another boss at the end, leaving them a bit too predictable to spawn. a path.
The rehearsal is rocked a bit relatively deeply into the story by a section where you shoot enemies in the sky like a side-scrolling shooter, but it’s too little too late. You never see this twist between specific locations in the second half of the story, and by this point you’ll have already progressed so far that its introduction feels haphazard and rambling.
As you explore Orchanon, you’ll find plenty of side quests as well, but these are just as simple and uninspired, doing little to make the world feel fleshed out. You will often be asked to defeat a certain number of enemies or find a specific item from the quest giver, and nothing else. While none of these are very interesting, additional guild missions that require you to kill special enemies for money, experience, and skill points can be. Each enemy type has distinct abilities, so fighting these miniboss adds even more variety to the creatures you face, which is especially welcome when combat is the shining star here.
Focus your skills
Astria Ascending really stands out for its battles and artistic style. Every area is beautiful, especially in the dungeons. Since it’s billed as a 2D platform game outside of combat, Orchanon’s world appears to have been created out of a storybook – each of its characters are drawn with love and care, and they particularly shine in combat. Whether it’s an attack, spell, buff, or status effect, everything is animated impeccably and with purpose.
The combat itself is some of the best I’ve seen in a traditional turn-based JRPG. This is due to the excellent Focus Mechanism, which allows the party to gain Focus Points when hitting an enemy’s weakness. Focus can build up, allowing you to deal an abundance of damage once it peaks. But while you are collecting the Focus enemies can strike your weaknesses and doing the exact same thing, raising the stakes the longer a fight lasts. You’ll also need to be careful because using the wrong attack on an enemy will cause you to lose focus, adding an extra layer of tension to each fight. Mix this exciting system with the art and animation and it really makes combat an awesome whole.
Almost every encounter feels like a challenge which is also satisfying to take on. An intuitive task system offers a wide variety of abilities to use, and planning your team’s powers is the real conundrum of Astria Ascending. Your party members start with one starting job, but will earn three more throughout the story, providing them with a myriad of different skills to mix and match depending on your personal preferences and enemies’ weaknesses. that you are faced with.
Unfortunately, Astria Ascending also comes with horrific spikes in difficulty. This means that you will sometimes have to spend a lot of time grinding to take down tough enemies. There’s at least one difficulty option that can be lowered if you’re not up to dealing with those boring spikes – but on normal difficulty it’s not uncommon to spend several hours leveling up just to overcome a fight. specific only to have to do it again for another not too far down the road.