I just finished the main campaign tonight. I played through on Pt Standard, and have not yet replayed any of the case files (for higher scores etc). The campaign took me about 30 hours total for a single playthrough, and this is with me mostly scouring maps for loot and quests, but by no means 100%ing anything.
I had fun with the game, but I still haven’t unlocked all of my Legion’s abilities, so there’s still several moves I haven’t toyed with. Also, I don’t know how in the world I missed this, but apparently it’s possible to upgrade my stupid weapons, something I didn’t discover until just before starting the final case file. I guess those upgrades don’t matter too much on Pt Standard, but now that I’ve unlocked Ultimate difficulty on everything I’ll be sure to put my new moves to the test there.
I really enjoy most of the combat. I think the worst battles are the big (mega) boss fights, if only because I prefer battlefields chock full of enemies, and because I’m not a fan of combat that can more or less be described as dodging environmental obstacles. I just like fighting creatures, not glorified buildings or stationary objects. My absolute favorite battle was a 5 or 6-wave arena fight near the end of Case 6, and I wish the game had more of these types of things. It was just go go go, without the ability to use items/medkits. if I wanted to heal, I had to pull off a takedown kill (the prompted A-button kill).
While I love the combat, I do have one complaint about the game, and this complaint mostly relates to the actual case work and exploration that takes place at the start of each chapter. I can spend an hour wandering around, talking to random people, and picking up cans and red stuff before finding something to fight, but these particular tasks just aren’t entertaining enough to keep me interested. I always felt like I had to push through them to get to ‘the good stuff’, with said good stuff being actual combat.
If I had my way, I would love to see Bayonetta 2’s Tag Climax system put into this game. Although Bayonetta 2 is mostly just wandering from fight to fight, tag Climax further distills the game down to individual, hand selected encounters. If you want to fight a certain monster, or group of monsters, you just select the right card and get to it. It’s fucking awesome. And while technically Tag Climax is Bayonetta 2’s multi-player co-op battle mode, I would kill to see a single-player version of this system put into Astral Chain, mostly because I just want to jump right into a fight, not wander around chasing cats into portals (which can be amusing, but it delays the… uh… climax).
Anyway, I really enjoy the combat, and I plan to flesh out my Legion’s skills be replaying several files on Ultimate (or Pt Standard if I can’t handle Ultimate, I haven’t tried yet). I could also try to max out my skill ranking for several encounters I got a D on, but right now I’m mostly intent on making the encounters themselves as fun and dynamic as possible, by unlocking all the cool abilities I haven’t yet tried.