Monday, December 30, 2019 December 30, 2019 - Games of the Year 2019: Astral Chain was the year's best mess

Over the festive break we'll be running through our top 20 picks of the year's best games, leading up to the reveal of Eurogamer's game of the year on New Year's Eve. You can find all the pieces published to date here - and thanks for joining us throughout the year!

Video games are messy things, and Astral Chain might be one of the messiest yet. How do you even begin to describe a thing like this to the uninitiated? Perhaps you start with the story, which is as grounded as this Switch exclusive ever gets: you're a cute cop caught in a story that's part Hong Kong police procedural, part supernatural thriller and totally batshit through and through. Yeah, maybe that's not the best entry point - Astral Chain tilts towards the most excessive of anime excess.

So maybe you start with the action, a fantastical extension of PlatinumGames' well-honed formula that goes some fascinating places. It's a nitro-fuelled Nier: Automata, a turbo-boosted Bayonetta where you're counter-attacking and dodging with all the grace you've experienced in the studio's other titles. Except Astral Chain is more than that, picking up the baton discarded by the cancelled Scalebound by being built around the bond between your character and their barely-tamed beastly sidekick.

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