Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review #74: Anarchy Reigns

 This game is flippin' awesome.
 Anarchy Reigns is part-reboot part-sequel to Madworld, a Wii game. It's not entirely clear where would it be placed, but many familiar faces return, from Jack, the protagonist, to the Black(er) Baron, Madworld's final boss. They are also joined by plenty of new characters, among them being Leo who serves as co-protagonist alongside Jack. Like Madworld, Anarchy Reigns is, at it's core, a Arena-based Fighting game, although the story mode would have you believe that it's very arcadey brawler, reminiscent of Beat-em ups like Final Fight, only in 3D. The game is very different from Madworld, however.
 The focus has clearly been placed in multiplayer, there's around 8 different modes. This range from classics, like Team DeathMatch or Battle Royale, to capture the flag or the co-op survival mode, there's even a Soccer mode where each time must bring a ball to the other team's goal. Every mode has it's own rules, but most of the time it's reduced to beating your enemies to a pulp with your fists. Most modes also feature usable items, like Sniper Rifles or Shields, and some even place random enemies to add to the already chaotic nature of the game. If that wasn't enough, stages also have "events", usually a deathtrap of sorts gets activated and it's in your best interest to avoid it.
 There's 17 different characters, 18 if you buy the 1-dollar Bayonetta DLC, each one falling in the  Light, Medium or Heavy weight category. Each category has minor differences from each other, but each character has a more-or-less unique movesets. Certain types of moves, like anti-airs or launchers are performed the same with each character, but they behave in different ways, combos are also unique to each character due to the properties of their moves. There's two different attacks, Weak and Strong, but holding the left trigger activates your Lethal Weapon, that also has Weak and Strong attack, these consume energy from a gauge below your health bar, but it's very easy to refill by hitting or getting hit. Lastly, there's a third gauge, Rampage, it's raised in the same manner as your lethal weapon, but it takes more time. Once you activate Rampage mode, you become invincible and get unlimited Lethal Weapon gauge for a little while, and your basic attacks get stronger too.
 In order to unlock most characters, you'll have to go through the story mode. You get to pick between Leo or Jack, but after you are done with either campaign, you get to play as the other one and then go back to your original character for one last mission. In Story mode, you are thrown in a large area, where you must rack up points in order to open up story missions. You earn points by fulfilling Free Missions, which you can redo as many times as you want, or simply kill the endlessly spawning enemies. It's not as tedious as it sounds, finishing one free missions should be enough to open up a Story mission, and hey, Free missions usually provide variety, from a racing minigame to a shooting gallery where you get unlimited ammo. Story Mode also features a lot of cutscenes, and while the story is nothing special, the dialogue is totally off-the wall. The Blacker Baron in particular steals every scene he is in.
 The game has a very unique art-style with some pretty nice character designs. These characters look very heavy, and the animation makes the action look very visceral and brutal, even when there's little to no blood. Every move feels as if it has weight to it, which meshes with the style of the game perfectly. Stages do feel a bit brownish, but they have plenty of different areas to do battle in. The Soundtrack is a phenomenal, it has a lot of Hip Hop and Electronic music, and even though I'm not a fan of Hip Hop I adored the soundtrack, it suits the game very well. Voice acting is alright, most characters have some kind of accent, which sounds really fake, but Jack and Leo are very well done. They also get some of the best lines in the game, when the Baron isn't stealing the show that is.
 As great as the game is, it has one fatal drawback.... No offline multiplayer. This game was made with multiplayer in mind, and the multiplayer is nothing short of fantastic, but it can't be played offline. Not even Cage Matches(1 vs 1). This game has been marketed as a Fighting Game, not having offline multiplayer is unforgivable and crippling, tournaments can't be held, you can't play against your friends if they don't own a console, etc. Even sadder, and also proof of why it was a bad idea, the online is basically dead, save a few regulars that I came across as I tried finding matches. You can play the multiplayer modes with bots though, but it's hidden under the Training Menu, in the Simulation Option.
 I absolutely loved this game, but as good as it is, not having offline multiplayer in a fighting game is just too bad. Single Player is entertaining, and after beating it you can use any character via Stage select, but it's not the same. Having bot matches is a small relief, but hardly makes up for the lack of offline. Still, when it's all said and done, it is a fantastic game.
 9 out of 10.

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