Are you an anime or sci-fi fan? Do you dream of a future filled with the latest tech? If you answered yes to any of these, then this may be the game for you. ALDEUS: Beyond Chronos is a very unique, choose-your-own-adventure-style game. It is an Oculus Quest exclusive, developed by My Dearest, and released December 3rd, 2020. It has moments of choices to make that greatly affect the gameplay, enjoyable exploration moments, and exciting battle sequences. While this game requires multiple playthroughs to get the full effect, it has a wonderfully captivating story that will keep you coming back again and again.
It is available on the Oculus Store for your regional pricing.
STORY – THE FUTURE IS BLEAK
Take on the role of Chloe, a Designed Human, created for one purpose – to fight and destroy the Meteoras, an alien race that threatens humanity’s existence. The year is 2280, and the invaders have destroyed the Earth’s surface, forcing humanity deep underground to survive. And thus, Augmented Tokyo was created, an underground haven layered with textures. At one point early in the story, we get to see humanity’s new home without all the textures, and it is a very blasé and sort of empty place. Chloe, a member of the military organization Prometheus, is charged with defending the last of humanity with her Makhia, a gigantic robot designed for battle. To be frank, I didn’t enjoy the battle sequences as much as I could have. I found them too short and not at all challenging.
With your AARC codenamed Noa by your side, anything is possible on the field of battle. Noa also aids Chloe as a mental and physical health AARC, and her songs are said to have a natural antidepressant effect without any known side effects. As such, Noa has become an idol and performs regularly for the people of Augmented Tokyo, the last bastion of human society. Chloe fights, not for humanity, but the revenge of her fallen best friend, Coco. Coco was ‘eaten’ by the aliens two years ago. She has many regrets due to her choices with Coco, who she desperately wishes she could see one last time. It all changes one day when a Meteora in the form of Coco attacks the Earth’s surface “-This isn’t a dream.” To Noa, every battle is a chance to offer her songs to Artemis, Goddess of the Bow, which she does in style. I love her performances, they’re the best parts of the battle scenes!
Chloe and Noa aren’t alone. They are joined by a memorable cast of characters including, Aoba, Yamato, General Deiter and my favourite, Professor Julie. Together, they form the body and heart of Prometheus and work together using the Makhia to fight the dreaded Meteora. The story evolves with each decision you make, so make your choices carefully! It also expands with each playthrough, so be sure to play this game more than once, with different choices, to get the full effect.
In my first playthrough, I met an untimely end rather early on in the story. I missed out on so much the first time around that I just had to play it a second time myself to get more of the full breadth and scope of the story. I even missed out on entire characters! That’s one thing I love about this game; our choices really matter and affect how the story unfolds. The possibilities in the story progression are nearly endless.
GAMEPLAY – EXPLORE, CHOOSE, SURVIVE
The game begins with some exploration in the form of a dream. You’ll be taken through multiple steps of examining items within Coco’s greenhouse. Exploration is detailed, and the items easily stand out to be grabbed as most of the background will be in black and white, while focused objects appear in full colour. Items will also light up when you highlight over them with your cursor. I did like how they lit up when selected, however, the full colour on black and white makes exploration too easy and more of a chore than an experience.
Secondly, the game will take you through a lot of detailed stories that uniquely change with each choice you make. Each decision comes with consequences, so make them carefully, or you could find yourself facing some pretty drastic events and possibly an untimely death! These choices grow, expand and change with each playthrough, so make sure to enjoy this game more than once to experience all that the full story has to offer. You can also rewind time and change your decisions should you so desire using the Ariadne system. This unlocks even more stories for you to explore and enjoy, with a little less fear since you can go back and change your mind in most cases. I love the Ariadne system though it is easy to forget about as it’s hidden in the menu rather than being out in the open for ease of access.
Finally, this game also has a combat mechanic not commonly seen in visual novel style games. This combat has wonderful music and can be somewhat simple and not very challenging. So long as you react fast enough, combat is a breeze compared to more combat-heavy games and may leave something to be desired. These are rare chances to get to hear and see Noa in action, singing to Artemis with her beautiful voice. She does also perform in concert but again, depending on your answers, you may or may not get to see her perform in any given playthrough. In my first playthrough, I only got to see Noa perform during combat which was thoroughly disappointing once I got to see her in concert.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO – SUPERIOR IMAGERY AND SOUND
The graphics in this game are beautifully presented on the Oculus Quest and in almost 4K resolution on the Quest 2. The graphics are anime-style and three-dimensional, providing a very immersive experience. The audio, like the gameplay, is pretty high-quality, especially during the music-heavy combat scenes. Almost all of the text in the game is complete with full voiceover in English, further adding to the immersion. The game really shines during Noa’s concerts, where the beautiful graphics and astounding music combine in a truly unique, 360-degree VR experience. As stated above, the chance to see Noa in concert in any given game varies based on your choices.