Astria Ascending Review

By Published On: October 7, 2021Categories: Gaming, Reviews

I have found myself feeling in need of some new turn-based content since Octopath Traveler, and Astria Ascending delivered ten-fold. Astria Ascending feels like Final Fantasy and Bravely Default made a baby, with gorgeous character designs and great, interactive turn-based gameplay. I was also pleasantly surprised to find the game available on GamePass, so those who want to play the game can play it for free. Otherwise, the game is available on all current and last generation platforms for 39.99, and 34.99 on PC.

Image Credit: Shinobi

A Meloncholy Tale

The story follows eight incredibly unique heroes, doomed by selection to be demigods who have to defend the world for three years before passing on. Orcanon’s infested with monsters known as noises, and these eight heroes are running out of time and must stop these noises at all costs. After those three years, the demigods will become a sacrifice and new heroes will take their place.
Each character feels unique not only due to being of a different race but also in personality. However, this would have been more impactful if the voice acting did not feel awkward. Astria used English voice actors, which could have been the reason, but this ultimately took away from a strong story concept. It was nice to see different racial traits mix in with having strong ambitions before they pass on. For example, Ulan holds a strong sense of responsibility in leading her team, but she suffers from a lack of confidence in herself. Alek, on the other hand, is a soldier with too much confidence and self-interest. He often undermines Ulan, feeling that he should have been in charge. Then there is Echo, who is often mistreated and looked down on due to his race and he is constantly trying to prove himself.

Classic Gameplay with Current Unique Elements

The gameplay was the strongest point of the game with it’s exploration, side content, and combat. Exploration felt refreshing due to having a side-scrolling view paired with fun platforming to find chests. Each Dungeon outside of the city has multiple directions to take, making exploration easy to lose oneself in. In addition, players can get side quests in town from the guilds to gain experience and create even more incentive to explore. What keeps the exploration from feeling overwhelming is the transportation points laid throughout different areas, and players have access to a platform like a map.

Combat is also extremely fun given the similarities to Bravely Default and the unique classes each character holds. In addition to being able to unlock different abilities that feel similar to Final Fantasy, players can get Focus to increase their attack damage in a way similar to Bravely Default and Octopath. With the game having decent difficulty settings, it creates the element of strategy when one has to decide when to utilize the Focus feature. Otherwise, the game follows your traditional turn-based style, rotating turns with the enemies.

Characters are also unique in classes and can upgrade to new classes and in the skill tree. Each character starts out as a summoner, soldier, thief, sorcerer, scholar, explorer, fencer, and captain. The skill trees for skills mimic a constellation and have bonuses to base stats like health and MP, or abilities like nix (thunder). Classes can upgrade, for example, from a soldier to an assassin depending on the direction taken.

Image Credit: Shinobi

2D Has Never Been So Beautiful

The graphics and designs are stunning, to say the least. While 2D in Nature the game feels as if it were out of a storybook, or even a painting. The characters feel as if they came from Final Fantasy Tactics from the design and even the visuals for spells add beautiful effects in combat. I found myself taking endless screenshots obsessed with what feels like water-colored art design.

Image Credit Shinobi

Endless Grinding

The game felt overwhelming at times due to the amount of grinding needed to get past certain points. The developers definitely wanted some difficulty and did not mess around when it came to boss fights and even some random enemies that deal crazy damage right off the bat. The difficulty spikes from normal to the next level, so for those who don’t want the insane amount of time strategizing or grinding, stick with Normal or Easy mode.
Overall, the game is fantastic. It works well on GamePass and the cloud gaming option for phones. The job system is greatly designed paired with a strong combat system and beautiful design. While the voice acting and difficulty jump take a bit away from the game, it’s definitely a great pick for turn-based JRPG fans who love the classics.

DVS Score: 7.5/10

About the Author: DVS Gaming