My time with Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate at Gamescom 2022 was brief, though what I’ve played looks quite promising. Read on for our full hands-on impressions.
Anime fans are seeing increasing choices when it comes to VR content, but few developers have been as consistent as MyDearest as it expands its offerings in the Chronos universe. While Tokyo Chronos wasn’t the strongest use of the medium, Altdeus: Beyond Chronos built upon it well in 2020. Now we’ve got Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate, retaining that same aesthetic from the first two titles, but with several new twists. I went hands-on with a demo at Gamescom 2022 and though it was only a small taste of what’s to come, Dyschronia already feels like the studio’s most promising VR game yet.
Taking a similar approach to Altdeus, Dyschronia is set inside an artificial marine city called Astrum Close, hidden from the outside world. Playing as Special Supervisor Hal Scion, we’re almost immediately transported into Professor Rumford’s home – someone Hal was once close to – only to discover he’s missing. Tasked with investigating his residence, Hal needs to locate a keycard for a restricted door. Unlike in Altdeus, decisions aren’t determined by multiple choice questions – at least not during this demo anyway.
Unlike previous Chronos games, Hal has full freedom of movement across these environments, either through artificial locomotion or teleportation. While the keycard is in plain sight, it’s locked away. Obtaining it involves finding several coloured gems, which are cleverly hidden across this opening area. During this sequence, Dyschronia already feels more involved than its predecessors – you aren’t just pushing buttons to watch events occur in scripted sequences.
A later puzzle involved placing chess pieces onto a board in specific positions, eventually uncovering a hidden compartment, while another required using a record player. While these aren’t the most exciting items in their own right, object handling and exploration overall feels natural. Hal can scan items to assist his investigation, which offers a unique window into his past memories. It’s a useful tool for puzzle solving, but also a personal touch. Being able to witness Hal’s feelings of regret made me increasingly curious and invested in the story of his past. This all helps Dyschronia feel more immersive and is a great use of VR – it will be interesting to see how the flatscreen release compares on Nintendo Switch.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see much else during the demo, which only took 15 minutes to complete. After solving the puzzles inside the residence, I opened the door and got to see the opening cutscene, but not much more. Nonetheless, showcasing these new gameplay mechanics was a promising introduction to Dyschronia. Though I wish I could’ve explored more, I enjoyed what I saw.
Right now, I’ve got high hopes for the full release. We don’t have long to wait either – Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate Episode 1 releases on September 22 for Meta Quest 2.