Have you always dreamed of meeting an anime character or piloting a mech? What would you say if I could tell you that in Altdeus: Beyond Chronos gives you the chance to to both? If I were to explain Altdeus, I’d say it’s more visual novel more than game. The interactivity is minimal at best, there are a few cool scenes where you control a mech, but I still wouldn’t call it gameplay as such.
The main way you get to control the story is by making decisions in dialogue, each leading you down a path that will take you to one of the many different endings. The Ariadne system will help you mapping out the different paths you have been going down, helping you keep track of what you have done and where you can change track to get another ending. While you are exploring the different paths using the Ariadne you scroll across a beautiful simulation of a night sky lit with stars.
The story is exciting, emotional, and thrilling. We follow the protagonist Chloe, a mech pilot in the Prometheus team whose main objective is protecting the world from a strange and enormous alien lifeform. You get to know the rest of the team; the oddball of a scientist Julie, the captain Deiter, and the two other pilots on your team Yamato Amanagi and Aoba Iwaza.
Joining you in the mech is an AI called Noa, who is similar to an old friend of Chloe called Coco. As the story continues you get to see more glimpses into the past of Chloe, and her relationship with Coco. The voice acting for the whole cast is excellent and is available in both English and Japanese, for that authentic anime feeling.
I don’t want to spoil the story as that is the main focus of Altdeus, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about the interactions within it. Early on in the story, you get into one of the action scenes where you get to pilot a mech, fighting one of the Meteora, and even though some cool visuals are going on there really isn’t much gameplay. You have to go through a few simple motions, drawing patterns in the air, then the scene is over. The other type of interaction is in one of the flashbacks, where you have to find an item and get some information about it to progress the story.
When it comes to the VR part of Altdeus, it leaves a lot to be desired. You cannot move around in your surroundings, nor pick up an object to play around with. Moving the camera around using the controllers is not possible, so if you need to look behind you you have to stand up and physically look behind you. The shifting of characters and scenes are not animated but a jump cut, sometimes leaving you confused about what is happening. I’m not sure it really needed to be in VR in the first place, which just makes this another gimmicky headset title for the sake of it.
Altdeus: Beyond Chronos – sit back and watch?
So who is Altdeus: Beyond Chronos for? I’d say people who enjoy the emotional narrative, and just want to sit down and enjoy the story. I would not recommend it to the ones out there looking for an interactive experience. Sadly the price tag is quite steep, it would set you back around £40 – which is quite a rich ask for what is essentially a movie. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is an interesting experience for those who want to enjoy some emotional storytelling.