After some teasing about a “new mobile RPG”, Sin Chronicle was finally unveiled to the world at Tokyo Game Show 2021, a successor to Chain Chronicle. While the latter game’s global servers are now defunct, it’s still going strong in its home country. Promising a story where your choices will matter, let’s dabble into the closed beta. It actually ended on 21 October, planned to launch 15 December.
Story beats are done with 2D sprites that change expressions, some of them also blinking. There are various menus in which these sprites also have Live2D, though at this stage, I can’t tell if this will be applied across the board. The story, besides certain cutscenes, are left unvoiced, which could change. The spritework reminds me a little of older Granblue Fantasy, which isn’t a bad thing.
As for gameplay, the models are rendered in 3D as showcased at its presentation, with characters and enemies on a plain to move around in and attack. Characters get their cut-ins when you can unleash a special, with appropriately screen-covering effects.
Looks and music alone, it’s pretty nice. In the closed beta, I did suffer some performance issues where the screen was wildly flickering, but this shouldn’t be in the release.
The core gameplay loop is very simple: you head out to a story chapter, run around and find enemies, gathering items, and in-between story beats to raise affinity. You can try to do pre-emptive strikes, with my character also dealing damage at the start of combat. It didn’t look like it particularly affected my actual turn order, but that’s alright.
In battle, you can try to move to the back of an enemy, though some will just turn around to face you – presumably if they’re already targetting you – so trying to get a back attack is a variable. Otherwise, by default, you will just run up to their face and slap them about. You can do actions limited by your battle points (BP), invoking a pseudo-action game with turn-based elements. Depending on the character’s weapons, a unit can perform a ranged attack with their gun, while your sword guys are probably gonna get up close.
Enemies that are queueing up AOE attacks will have their area of effect marked, and a DANGER! will pop up above your characters. Since the game is turn-based, you’re likely to be tanking that over getting to dodge. The typical elemental weakness chart is also here.
Characters can equip “Spirits” and weapons, the latter being craftable and available in a variety of rarities. These can then be uncapped further. Besides levels, characters can learn skills by spending the series-equivalent job points, some of these being unlocked presumably through limit breaking them. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a shard system of sorts, due to it being in Japanese. Spirits also level up with characters at the end of battle, so stats, stats, more stats!
You’ll be getting a variety of “words” as you kinda fill in the titular Chronicle, coming to a head at a certain point of no return with an end-chapter decision that you’ll be warned in advance for.
While characters are ostensibly the biggest selling point of the game – like when you get cut off from one “side” after making a story decision – they, along with the aforementioned spirits, are in the gacha pool. Presumably because I’m outside of Japan, certain things wouldn’t load properly for me either, one of them being the rate-up details. 4-star looks to be the highest rarity, and boy did I get a multitude of spirits over characters…
Once again, due to the lack of Japanese knowledge, I’m not too clear on how much spirits will change the “viability” of a character. The story itself will also give you characters, but I’m sure that everyone will want the shiny gacha ones where they can.
Language barrier and certain performance kinks aside, Sin Chronicle looks to be an intriguing game to look forward to. After all, the driving concept of completely locking you out of certain content because of choices you make is pretty avant garde in a hero collector game.
Should it ever make its way globally, let’s hope it will be much longer lasting than its predecessor. It would be a shame to not experience, in your language, a live service game with lasting consequences on the player’s end.