Post-apocalyptic tactical adventure Miasma Chronicles from 505 Games and The Bearded Ladies is one to check out on PS5. Find out why in our Miasma Chronicles review!
Post-apocalyptic tactical adventure Miasma Chronicles from 505 Games and The Bearded Ladies is one to check out on PlayStation 5. I previously got a chance to review Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden from The Bearded Ladies, so I was definitely interested in checking out what the team could do with Miasma Chronicles. The game tells the story of Elvis Ashlee, a young man who was brought to Sedentary – a mining town – when he was just a baby. His mother left him – for mysterious reasons – in the care of a robotic older brother named Diggs.
Elvis has been given a mysterious glove that can somehow allow him to control Miasma, which is rather peculiar since it’s Miasma that has sent the world into turmoil. You’ll be joining the brothers on this journey through a quest that will take them to explore the post-apocalyptic wasteland as they search for answers… any answers, really. Your adventure will begin 140 years after the collapse of the Great Stability, as Elvis tries to control the glove that is connected to his brainwaves in order to break a large Miasma wall. It turns out he’s been trying to do this more than 30 times already without that much success.
The game can be played in one of four difficulty settings: Narrative, Standard, Challenging, and Alpha Editor. Narrative makes it possible for you to div into things to experience the world of Miasma Chronicles and the game’s story without too much of a challenge. For Standard, you’ll get the balanced experience that will allow those of you with experience with tactical games to feel right at home. Challenging bump up the challenge, which means that any mistakes you make are going to hurt your group. As for the last one, Alpha Editor is going to dial things up to 11. To help you, your characters will recover some of their HP after a battle in order to compensate for having enemies deal more damage. You also can’t use manual saves, and heroes that are knocked out during combat will not recover in battle.
There are also two gameplay modes available for you to choose from for your journey with Miasma Chronicles: Light Tactical Mode and Full Tactical Mode. For Light Tactical Mode, hit choices will not be affected by distance, which will make for a less challenging and more easygoing experience. Full Tactical Mode offers the classic turn-based tactical experience in which your hit chances are going to be affected by the distance between a hero and the enemy they’re trying to attack.
During the exploration segments for Miasma Chronicles, you’ll control your party with the left analog stick as you swing the camera around as needed with the right one. If you press and hold down the L1 button, the group will sprint. Pressing in on the left analog stick will scan the entire area to show you the route you need to follow to get to your next objective. If you find any items, you can collect them by pressing the X button. You can switch between characters by pressing the R1 button. Oh, and be sure to press the Circle button if you want to take a shot at sneaking around!
Combat is of the turn-based variety. For each turn, you’ll have a set number of Action Points to spend. That number is two. Each hero will get a pair of Action Points, which they can spend to either move around the grid-based area or to attack an enemy. There’s also the option of using an Action Point to reload your weapon. If an enemy moves around and gets partial cover, that means you have a 50% chance to still land a shot. If it’s reached full coverage, then you probably won’t be able to deal any damage to it since that percentage drops down to 20%. The same applies to your heroes.
Something else to consider is that you can also activate an Overwatch skill. When you do this, you’ll be able to set a cone over which that character will keep an eye out so that any enemy foolish enough to walk through it can be swiftly attacked. Overwatch can make a huge difference in some battles if you place your characters just right so that a small team can take on a large group of enemies while lowering the odds of any casualties.
Another thing that can turn the tide of battle is Miasma Powers. Once you’ve powered up Elvis’ glove, you’ll be able to spend energy to activate a Miasma Power since you need to pay its cost. Energy is obtained when you defeat an enemy, and you can also use energy cells to replenish some energy. Characters who have Miasma gloves will be able to use Miasma Powers, which you can check from the party screen – more on this in a bit. Without spoiling things too much, you could, for instance, use Miasma storm to conjure up a small tornado to lift an enemy and throw it onto a red barrel, making the barrel explode! Bonus points if this explosion also catches another enemy within its range.
As your party members participate in battle after battle, they will start to build up Rage. Rage is a very, very important element of the Miasma Chronicles gameplay loop because it can be used to completely destroy even the toughest of opponents. Rage will dictate how much damage a party member deals when landing a critical hit. And yes, you can build up Rage to go OVER what you would consider the limit, thus dealing massive damage. As an extra bonus, if you defeat an enemy with a critical hit, you’ll be rewarded with one Action Point that is immediately added to your total for the turn, so you can easily put that character into a better position, use an item to heal, or attack another opponent.
You can split up party members before combat. This is extremely useful – and a must in the Aloha Editor difficulty setting – since you can try to sneak around before battle in order to place each party member at the best spot possible to launch an offensive that can give you the advantage. Just press in on the right analog stick to split your party members and then control each one individually by switching between them with the R1 button. Play your cards right, and you’ll be given the option to then press the Square button to launch an ambush.
Be sure to check your inventory every now and then. Go into your backpack to see everything that the party is carrying. It’s there that you’ll be able to use medipacks when needed to heal some of your characters’ wounds before going into combat. You can also check all weapons, outfits, consumables, quest items, Miasma chips, scopes, weapons, mods, Miasma powers, and power cores that you have. You should also give your party screen a good look.
Once there, you can see the current status of all the heroes in your party. From the party screen, you’ll be able to equip and modify weapons, items, and Miasma powers. You can also check out each hero’s Skill Deck. The Skill Deck is very important since it’s where you’ll be able to exchange Skill Points for new active and passive tactical skills for each party member. When leveling up, all party members gain an extra 5 HP as well as one Skill Point. Leveling up will also completely heal all party members’ HP! As you unlock skills, you’ll open up other skills that are further down the branch. You can also refund skill points to reconfigure a character’s Skill Deck when out of combat, so be sure to experiment!
Passive skills, as their name suggests, activate on their own. Active skills can be used during combat, but they will have a cooldown that will last for a set number of turns. Once the cooldown is over, they will be available to you again. You can boost a characters base hit points, boost the critical chance bonus for ambush shots, reflect a set percentage of ranged shots back at attackers, or unlock active skills for, say, Elvis, such as the Glove Shock, which shocks a nearby enemy for a lot of damage while ignoring armor and stunning them for a couple of turns. Handy, right?
And then there are the Miasma Chips. Miasma Chips are special chips that you can equip to Miasma Powers. They are split into red and blue Miasma Chips, which means you can only equip them to the slot on each Miasma Powers that matches said color. Without giving too much away, you could, for example, find an Acid 1.0 Miasma Chip. By installing it to one of Elvis’ Miasma Powers, that skill will be able to deal 20 acid damage over 2 turns while also removing a point of armor per turn. This makes a huge difference when trying to chip away at the health of some of the larger enemies with lots of HP who also just happen to have some armor on them.
The game has a full trophy list with a Platinum, and it’s a long one! There are 43 Bronze trophies, 6 Silver trophies, and 2 Gold trophies to work on. The objectives will include collecting very treasure, meeting every enemy type, leveling up to level 25, completing all sidequests, defeating all bosses, defeating 20 robots, silently defeating 15 enemies, defeating 20 thievers, collecting all types of Miasma, setting 3 enemies on fire at the same time with a Molotov, defeating 5 enemies with an assault rifle without reloading, completing the game on any difficulty, doing so while playing in the Alpha Editor difficulty setting, and doing that while also having Full Tactics Mode activated. Good luck with those last two trophies!
I enjoyed Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden from The Bearded Ladies, so I was looking forward to seeing what Miasma Chronicles had to offer. I loved the post-apocalyptic tactical experience that pays homage to classics in the genre – I’m looking at you, X-COM – while offering four difficulty settings and two different gameplay modes so that gamers of all skill levels can have a chance of experiencing this one. I also enjoyed the cast’s performance, with each character standing out in this dark and deadly world. The NPC and their chatter also help to bring some extra life into the whole thing. Other than one time when Jade was stuck on a wall while I was trying to get some silent kills with her scope and triggering an ambush while I was trying to hide behind a wall, and another time when one Elvis’ Miasma Skill hit the framerate for no reason, I had a great time with this on. Miasma Chronicles is out tomorrow on PlayStation 5 with a $49.99 price tag.
This Miasma Chronicles review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by 505 Games.