Ascerth Stories: Keats is a spinoff ofChampions of Ascerth, developed by Pyrostar (t∣b∣c) for the Series Swap III event. An action-RPG game styled after NiER: Automata, the game follows the adventures of main series character Elina as well as her father, Norris, prior to the events of the game.
The game takes place 5 years before the events of Champions of Ascerth: The Chronicles.
Chapter 1: Summons
The chapter begins with Norris in his home in the middle of the night, reading over a book with a small light hovering next to him. His reading is interrupted by a knock at the door, which he opens to reveal a young human soldier, who hands Norris a letter seemingly from the Xastilan government. He reads over the letter as the young soldier excitedly talks about being in the presence of one of his idols.
— Xastil Hunter's Guild
Norris looks behind him to see a younger Elina resting soundly in her bed, before shoving the letter in his pocket and following the young soldier to his destination.
The player is let loose inside the city of Xastil, and gain the freedom to explore the area at will, but are encouraged to follow the soldier to the catacombs to continue the story. Upon arrival, Norris sees a group of humans and sulkrik individuals sharpening weapons and discussing their next move. Norris notices a strange piece of machinery in the back that looks completely foreign to him, but pushes it from his mind as he hears pounding at the door, a signal that the soldiers are breaking in to divert the bandits over to him. Leaping into action, the player is introduced to their first major fight.
After the battle, Norris wanders over to the piece of machinery he noticed earlier, a strange purple chitinous-looking device that is unfamiliar to him. Suddenly, one of the human soldiers plunges his sword deep into the machine, causing it to spark and the lights on it to fade. When asked what he was doing, the soldier states that multiple bits of machinery like this had been dug up around the continent recently, and they had been ordered to destroy any they found on sight. Nobody had any clue as to what they could do, so nobody wanted to risk them being a threat.
Chapter 2: Lessons
The second chapter begins with Elina waking up at dawn. Noticing her father isn't in the house, she becomes concerned, grabbing her nearby staff and venturing out into the city to look for him. The city becomes free to explore once again, but the player is directed to head towards the marketplace, where Elina encounters a young woman being assaulted by another sulkrik bandit wearing a strange device on his arm. In a tutorial battle that teaches how Elina plays, she fends off the bandit.
Helping up the woman, Elina is accosted by another soldier, who praises her strength with magic and asks if she could potentially help with interrogation of another captured bandit. She first asks where her father, Norris, has gone, to which the soldier responds that he does not know.
The player is then tasked with searching Xastil for a clue as to Norris's whereabouts, eventually culminating to Elina entering the castle. Entering a side room, she encountered Norris speaking with multiple soldiers, who demanded he not reveal the existence of the machinery he had found. Elina was confused, but kept hidden to ensure nobody found her; she felt as though something big was happening.
She decided to explore further into the castle, eventually making her way to the dungeon. Seeing a small side door, she entered to see a strange humanoid-looking figure made out of a shining purple chitin-like metal, hulking over her at over twice her size. The figure's eyes light up as it walks forward, clearly determined to attack Elina; with no other choice, she raises her staff to combat it.
Elina manages to defeat the creature, having it topple to the floor in a broken heap in front of her. Confused and scared, her mood got even more conflicted when Xastilan guards walked in, attempting to confront the source of the noise and lights. She was held at swordpoint, demanding to know what was going on with the entity they had locked up, but she was interrupted by a sulkrik woman in black robes entering the room, a sinister look in her eyes. She tapped Elina on the forehead, a burst of black matter clouding the area in front of her and rendering her unconscious.
Chapter 3: Memorium
Ascerth Stories: Keats is an action-rpg inspired by various Platinum Games titles, including Bayonetta and NiER Automata. The player takes on the role of both Norris and a younger Elina during the course of the game, both of which have different skills that allow them to traverse the game world differently. Norris plays more like a traditional 3D brawler game in the Platinum vein, fighting with magically charged fists, while Elina must rely on her staff to cast magic and as such acts more like a glass cannon with superior ranged abilities.
The player will automatically lock on to a given enemy once provoked, enabling them to strafe and plan attacks accordingly; targets can be switched using the left bumper. The Alpha and Beta buttons function as the Light and Heavy attack buttons, respectively, and can be chained together for elaborate combos. The Delta button functions as the Cast button, reliant on the chosen character's MP and their equipped spell- Casting acts as a combo cancel, allowing the player to chain together even more elaborate attacks through ideal use of spells. Norris's spells typically apply as an elementally-charged melee attack of some kind, while Elina's spells usually manifest as ranged attacks. Omega allows for a parry maneuver, which stuns the offending attacker and grants the user a few seconds of invulnerability.
The player is localized within the city of Xastil, and have free reign to explore the city as desired, battling gang members or collecting sidequests.