Review: Anarchy Reigns
Anarchy Reigns is the latest smash-fest from the folks over at Platinum studios, who you may be familiar with if you’ve played Bayonetta, Madworld, Vanquish or one of their other titles. Anarchy Reigns finally makes it’s way out of Japan after being released there around a year ago, until the title Max Anarchy, which sums up the game perfectly.
The core of the gameplay here is in the multiplayer arena, that’s not to say that it should be totally ignored if you’re not interested in multiplayer but it’s worth remembering before making your purchase. The single player follows two separate paths, the White path and the Black path. Taking the White path will task you with controlling Leo Victorion, whilst the Black path gives you Jack Cayman, both characters are taken from the Platinum’s earlier release, Madworld.
You’re thrown into an averaged sized open world arena where you can either hunt for goodies, fight baddies or take on the missions. There’s two different types of missions you can sink your teeth into, Free Missions and Story Missions. Free Missions act like side quests, you’ll have to defeat a certain number of bad dudes, escort someone and so on. The quicker you do these missions the more points you’ll be given which works towards unlocking more missions. Once you completed all of the missions in a certain area then you’ll be moved onto the next one.
Story Missions are, funnily enough, there to progress the story. These don’t differ too much from the Free Missions in the way that you’ll still be punching dudes in the face. However, these missions usually revolve around taking on a boss character who you’ve just randomly bumped into – beating this boss will unlock them in the multiplayer arena. Therefore, if you want to unlock all 17 of the fighters then you’ll have to complete both the White and Black story modes, which takes about 10 hours to complete between them. If you’ve managed to get hold of the Special Edition (by pre-ordering) then you can also use Bayonetta in the multiplayer.
That’s pretty much the story mode for you, the story itself is over the top and almost nonsensical, the male characters make the guys in Gears of War look like a bunch of CIA pencil pushers and the dialogue is chock full of innuendo and one liners, so if that’s your thing then it could be for you. As I said before, the multiplayer is the heart of the game, so much so that the story mode only gets a brief mention on the back of the box.
There’s plenty of modes available on the multiplayer side of things, from classics like an all-on-all brawl and team modes to capture the flag, one-on-one battles and dogfights. 16 players can enter an arena and smack seven bells out of each other until their heart’s content. If you’re tired of playing online shooters then this could be one for you to look at, however, it does gets a tad disorienting at times, as you can imagine with a 16 player brawl.
Players have a standard attack, heavy attack, grapple, power attack, power heavy attack, block, dodge, the ability to use items, throw objects and a berserk mode. This means there’s a lot going on and whilst it can be a little daunting at first you’ll soon find your groove. Also to throw a spanner into the works you’re not always alone in these brawls. Occasionally the levels will have a few tricks up their sleeves such as, runaway trains, falling jumbo jets and exploding bridges. Yes, that’s right, at any time a bridge can explode and throw dozens of flaming cars down onto the fighting arena, leaving you with the decision whether to run or continue fighting and hope for the best. When these moments occur the game really does live up to the Japanese title of Max Anarchy.
As with most things it has it’s downsides, the main one being the camera and targeting. As there’s so much going on it’s easy to lose track of who you’re fighting and you’ll regularly be fighting thin air. There is a lock on system but this does little to rectify the fiddlyness of it all. The multiplayer can also be a confusing and irritating affair, with 16 players all fighting in one area, you can be battered around, grabbed and stunned constantly leaving you without a prayer of surviving.
Anarchy Reigns is a button-mashers paradise, sure, experts will prosper but a masher can easily hold their own. There’s few games out there that can replicate the sheer mayhem that can be experienced in Anarchy Reigns, from start to finish it’s a bonkers, crazy thrill-ride with some moments that’ll leave you baffle and confused to others that’ll leave you giggling like a crazy person. If you enjoy punching people in the face with one hand and throwing a car at them with the other then this may be the game for you.