Artisan Studio, in collaboration with Dear Villagers and Maple Whispering Limited, created and released the JRPG-inspired turn-based strategy game Astria Ascending. Despite the fact that the game seeks to pay homage to ancient JRPGs by excluding contemporary conveniences, the entire experience is uninteresting and plodding.
The players in Astria Ascending are thrown into a weird fantasy realm. Astria Ascending is home to a number of legendary races, each of which sends a hero to take on the role of hero and become a deity. It’s a commanding position, but the Demigods only have three years to live. To keep the globe in peace, the planet’s people consume a fruit known as a Harmelon. The Demigods are summoned to intervene as a result of people’s unwillingness to consume the forbidden fruit and rebellion of the current order. Many of their erstwhile family members have turned against them, and they are gathering monster armies (dubbed Noises) to wage war on one another.
Despite its intriguing concept, Astria Ascending fails miserably in introducing the gamer to its odd realm. Because all of the characters are already familiar with one another by the conclusion of the third year of the game, it creates the sense of an anime. In Astria Ascending, starting the plot earlier would have been a better way to introduce the characters and themes.
In Astria Ascending, the player has access to eight characters, but can only use four of them at once in battle. During one of their turns, the player may swap out characters, but they cannot act for the rest of the round. The Focus system in Astria Ascending is a hybrid of Shin Megami Tensei’s Pass Turn system and Brave & Default from Bravely Default. If a spell exploits an opponent’s weakness, it may provide the user a Focus point. These Concentration points can be spent to double the damage or healing output of skills. Astria Ascending’s skill trees allow players to gain new powers as they move through the game’s many professions.
The main problem of Astria Ascending is that it goes at a snail’s pace because there is no way to speed things up. Fights get tedious due to a lack of adversary variation and their limited movepools. Astria Ascending’s meticulous fighting style emphasises their sluggishness versus groups of 8 to 10 foes. If the opponent is successful in sneaking up on the player, they will be subjected to twice as many assaults.
Status-affecting assaults are regularly used by opponents of the Astria Ascending. The battle mechanism in the game takes use of this by allowing each character to wait between rounds without being able to do anything else. Furthermore, several of the monsters have unnecessary form improvements that restore their health bar without considerably raising their difficulty, making boss encounters even more boring. The game may benefit from choices to speed up or skip animations, as well as a turn counter, in the manner of Final Fantasy X. Despite the fact that there are eight characters to equip, there is no auto equip/optimal equipment button, which adds to the sluggishness outside of battle.
Astria Ascending, on the other hand, provides stunning views. The overworld is full with beautiful cities and fascinating people. The dungeons, on the other hand, are less appealing than the trees and ruins, as expected. Some of the best battle themes I’ve heard in a long time may be found in the soundtrack. Unfortunately, there is little connection between the photos and a more unified narrative.
Astria Ascending possesses many of the elements of a superb game. Early introductions to each character and their talents would have aided their transition into the main objective in a different version of the game. Quality-of-life (QoL) improvements, particularly in terms of battle pace, would also significantly improve gameplay. Astria Ascending isn’t exactly a modernised take on the genre, but it does have a few redeeming features.