Anarchy Reigns is another insane fighter from the geniuses at Platinum Games. New and old characters have been brought together to create this brawler which is closer in spirit to Powerstone and Smash Bros. than your average fighting game. Oh, and you can literally punch out Cthulhu… what more needs to be said?
Anarchy Reigns’ story mode is split into two parts, white and black, with you taking control of new guy Leo and Madworld’s Jack respectively. Each campaign is split into maps, with hidden collectibles and missions scattered about. To progress through each map, you must earn points acquired from completing both side missions and story missions. Most side missions are just filler, with the game expecting you to kill a certain amount of enemies, with some extra objectives occasionally being thrown in.
Story missions are where some of the more interesting parts of the single player happen, usually involving an epic scrap with another character, or a giant boss enemy. While these missions are fun, it can often feel like a slog to reach them because of the side missions you must complete. They’re also the easiest way to unlock extra characters to use during multiplayer, the only other way to get them being to slowly increase your rank online.
The single-player story as a whole is fairly enjoyable, with a fun but completely nonsensical story that’s mainly there just to give you an excuse to beat up several dozen more enemies. Rankings for each mission give you some incentive to replay them, but most of them are easy enough to complete on the highest rank first time.
The main meat of the game comes from its many online multiplayer modes (no split-screen unfortunately). There are ones you’d expect, like the chaotic Battle Royale and Team Deathmatch modes, but there are some strange inclusions. Death ball is a surprising fun team based ball game, where each team must attempt to get a ball into the oppositions goal. Less fun is dogfight, where each character is hanging on to a helicopter, and must shoot down opposing players. While this sounds cool, it ends up being an uninteresting mess, with the outcome of each match feeling more like luck than skill.
Thankfully, Anarchy Reigns’ other modes make up for one or two duds, thanks mainly to its fighting system. Each character has a base moveset made up of different types of attacks and throws. The main difference between each character comes from their signature moves, like Jack’s chainsaw arm or Leo’s blades. These add some variety to the cast and allow for some interesting combos and strategies to be created.
While the different online modes can be fun, it’s marred by a couple of problems. Some of the more intense modes like Battle Royale can be to chaotic for their own good. While the camera is fine most of the time, it can sometimes swing around too quickly or fail to lock onto enemies entirely. While this doesn’t happen too often, there is something that is more likely to affect your enjoyment with the game; it can take far too long to find a game.
For a game that’s only been out for a few weeks (in Europe at least), you will have to wait a while just to get enough people in a lobby to start playing. Of course, that’s if you can get into a lobby at all. Whether this is just due to bad match making or not, it’s not a very good sign for a multiplayer focused game. When you do manage to get a game, everything is smooth most of the time, with some slowdown if there are many people fighting in one area.
Another problem that you’ve most likely noticed from the screenshots is that the game isn’t exactly much of a looker. Most of the characters are nice and detailed, but it doesn’t seem like much attention was given to the regular enemies and environments. A lot of the maps are fairly bland and don’t match up to the quality of Platinum’s other games like Bayonetta and Vanquish. It’s not the worst looking game I’ve seen, but it’s definitely a step down in most areas.
One final mention should go to the game’s amazing soundtrack. It’s a mixture of rap and hip-hop, and it really helps to get you pumped up during battles. It really does sound better than most modern rap I’ve heard recently, with lyrics that suit the situations and characters that are involved.
Even though Anarchy Reigns has its flaws, it’s a fun multiplayer brawler at a budget price. As long as you don’t expect it to have a deep storyline or the best graphics, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth from it.
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