While Astral Chain is a game that has certain character designs in mind and even immediately assigns you a twin, it’s also one that gives you a chance to put personal style above all else. When the game begins, you pick which twin will be your avatar. You start to determine their personal style and look. Then, as you go through the game, more and more options to set them apart come up as you play.
Some of these options are incredibly basic, but can have a big effect on your avatar’s look in the game. When you first start out, you have the basic police uniform and color options available. More palettes tend to unlock as you complete Orders, letting you customize your character’s look slightly. However, more intense exploration allows you to get extra items. A whole Lappy suit can be acquired by visiting areas in Neuron ahead of a mission and speaking with Lappy, Marie, or Brenda in files three, five, seven, eight, and twelve. In file ten, Hal will give you some Drab Civvies if you talk to him. Finding every toilet can let you dress like a medic with ARI Medical Gear. Checking out the hospital in file five and talking with an NPC when heading into the smoky subway ruins will give you a bandage and gas mask. You’re constantly rewarded for, well, doing your best and constantly looking everywhere. (You could, for example, dress as a member of the Neutrophil Division from Cells at Work.)
The ability to customize character and Legion color palettes with things like the early and easily unlockable custom color sets also let you mix and match to have the Legions better represent recognizable characters. For example, someone might go ahead and compare them to Stands when discussing Astral Chain with someone who is unfamiliar with the game. Altering the colors of the Dress Uniform top, standard issue police cap and Arm Legion could make someone feel like they are saving the people of the Ark as Jotaro with Star Platinum. While you won’t exactly find a plugsuit in the game, you could get the a uniform in his colors and equip the Legion color palette 20 to make your Legions look like Evangelion Unit-01. There are just a lot of fun combinations you can work with.
Even going on Unchained Mode, the “easy” mode that allows someone to focus on Astral Chain’s story and leave combat elements to AI, makes things a little extra stylish. When you normally perform a Sync Attack, your avatar and the active Legion sync up. Your hair changes color, your eyes turn white, there are blue lines across your face, and a bluish aura appears. Going into Unchained turns this effect on permanently. You could consider that and the brazen “Unchained” on the bottom of the screen as a way of the game tattling on you for going with the easiest difficulty. Or, you could think of it as a way to go through an older mission again to search for secrets and take some cool looking screenshots.
One of the ultimate expressions of style is with one theme song. There are three especially notable themes performed by Beverly and William Aoyama. When you get to a certain portion of the game, a song called “Dark Hero” plays. There are two different versions of it, one for each version of the avatar. Aside from the vocalist matching the character’s gender, the guitar riffs can sound a bit different and there can be a different attitude shift. Aoyama’s version sounds like it has more autotune applied to his vocals, while Beverly’s are a little more natural. When it comes to the bridge, Aoyama’s version might sound a little more poppy. Each has its own way of sounding distinctive and helps set people apart.
Astral Chain gives people chances to switch up their look over and over. Getting to make your avatar and Legions stand out can lead to quite a bit of investment. It also encourages you to go back through levels to really explore and maybe complete the in-game achievements in hopes of getting new Legion color schemes or character accessories. There are even times when Platinum put in a little extra to help set the easiest difficulty mode apart (and make the character look more powerful) or offer a highlight for choosing a specific version of the avatar.
Astral Chain is available for the Nintendo Switch.