Review: Anarchy Reigns - PS3 and Xbox 360
Anarchy Reigns is the latest game developed by Platinum Games, who brought us Bayonetta, Vanquish, Mad World and the soon-to-be-released Metal Gear Solid Rising Revengeance.
Platinum Games have been famed for making some of the best games in their respective genres, but sales never quite meet up to expectations. This seems to have been accounted for with Anarchy Reigns being released for less than £20 despite being a full game with better production values than games at twice the price.
Anarchy Reigns was released at full price in Japan six months earlier, so anyone cautious about the low price indicating a low budget need not fear.
Anarchy Reigns is a 3D fighting game with emphasis on adding more people into the action, including up to 16 players online, something that is unprecedented for console fighting games.
There are two full campaigns and these could be considered tutorials for the online modes, but there is enough here to make it worth noting.
It is surprising to see that there is an actual story involving a bounty hunter, a policeman and a suggested conspiracy. Although not the best story ever, it is certainly more than what is expected from this genre, considering its roots lie in saving kidnapped girlfriends in games such as Double Dragon.
Gameplay is relatively simple, consisting of light and heavy attacks, grabs, character-specific killer weapons, and utilising environmental weapons.
Characters are capable of dodging and blocking, but these can’t be overused as you will eventually leave an opening.
It is highly recommended to play the campaign mode to learn the basic moves before trying online, although characters can be unlocked either by playing online or through the campaign. This is a great addition and I would like to see this put into every game.
In all there are 17 characters (18 characters if you get the first-run limited edition, which includes Bayonetta and two extra modes). All the characters play different enough to warrant trying them all out.
It is worth noting you can revisit campaign levels using your favourite character, which is a great touch as it will certainly make you revisit campaign mode.
All online modes are playable offline with bots, and it is possible to setup private matches with friends and bots filling in the other spots. This means regardless of the activity of the online community you can play all the different modes or just practice.
The online part of the game is where players will spend the majority of their time. Players are capped at Rank 50 that will take dedication to reach, by increasing your rank you can unlock new abilities and characters.
There are various modes involving free battles, tag battles, team battles, cage matches, capture the flag, survival and death ball. Death ball is a unique take on rugby and is certainly worth trying to play at least a few times.
Survival mode pits you against 10 waves of increasingly hard enemies from the campaign with two other players.
The limited edition comes with dog fight where you can attack other players with helicopters while flying one, but the novelty wears off fairly quickly.
Mad survival, the other extra mode with the limited edition, pits you against five waves of multiple boss characters. This is a great bonus and has some of the most challenging battles in the game, but with good teamwork this can be overcome.
Despite the chaos due to the enemy count, the game’s visuals are crisp and the art style fits with the theme.
The HUD is clear and finding an opponent to be your next target is never difficult.
Throughout playing through the campaign there were no issues of clipping or frame rate drops, which is crucial in a game of this type. There may be occasional issues online due to lag, but that is present in every game.
The visual effects from hitting opponents light the screen up satisfyingly, without obscuring your view of the action.
The game has some violent content due to the 18 certificate so be aware of that, although there was nothing exceptionally violent in this when considering what else is on the market.
The game’s soundtrack suits the game’s theme and has some genuinely decent moments. The voice acting is of a high quality throughout.
Anarchy Reigns is extremely tongue-in-cheek, which lightens the mood of the game. There is a lot of swearing and people who are easily offended may wish to avoid this.
Though Anarchy Reigns is not for everybody with such a low release price it is difficult not to recommend it to anyone who is interested in fighting games or the old-school beat-’em-ups like Double Dragon or Streets of Rage,