Anarchy Reigns Review
Platform: Xbox 360
Time Spent: Around 10-20 hours.
Completion: Both main stories & a whole bunch of online multiplayer matches.
Review Spoilers: Nothing that’s not found out within an hour of playing.
Platinum Games has an impressive history of creating 3rd person action games with immensely enjoyable combat experiences, and Anarchy Reigns is no different. Whether you’re cleaving through wave after wave of the equivalent of the Star Trek red shirts, or are brutalising a giant mutant with one of the game’s many cinematic-style executions, the game is undeniably satisfying at times.
The gameplay usually revolves around traversing an open area, whilst beating on whoever or whatever gets in your way. To accelerate this process, not only are the areas littered with various objects that are just waiting to be hurled at whichever poor target whose day you wish to ruin, but each character also has a crazy over-the-top “Killer Weapon”, such as positron arm/leg blades, giant flame-spewing gauntlets, and even a giant dual-chainsaw-mounted bionic arm. Rounding off this experience is the existence of potent environmental hazards, which can occur at any moment – such as a military bombing run, a giant killer robot entering the fray, or even a tornado sweeping through the map.
For all of its craziness and excitement on the gameplay front, those that are looking for a deep and engaging single player campaign that complements this are going to be disappointed. Whilst it tries to weave an interesting tale by offering two different sides of an intertwining story, it simply boils down to being little more than “In a distant future that has been ruined by nuclear war, Person A and Person B both seek Crazy Person C – with slightly different motivations”. Throw in some rather over-the-top characters, some hilarious dialogue and some rather silly reasons to fight, and that’s pretty much Anarchy Reigns’ story mode in a nutshell.
Despite how lacklustre the story mode is, it’s within the multiplayer that this game truly shines, and leaves you wondering if the single player campaign was just an afterthought. At its core, the combat is simple enough for casual players to be able to mash buttons and enjoy the resulting carnage, yet deep enough for the truly competitive-minded gamers to invent longwinded combos and impressive tactics that allow them to assert their dominance over others. This added dimension of having multiple human players completely transforms the experience from a repetitive grind against generic enemies, to one of intensity and survival – with pride on the line. Anarchy Reigns also features a plethora of multiplayer modes, from your standard 16-player deathmatches, to your typical capture the flag, to even an interesting sport-styled ball game – there’s something for everyone, and each mode is a frenzied fun fest.
Whilst the graphics aren’t anything to write home about, it is worth mentioning the sound of the game. From the energetic soundtrack that complements the crazy gameplay to the delicious meaty thuds of fist-to-flesh, Platinum Games were right on the money in this department.
All in all, Anarchy Reigns is a solid game that was an unfortunate casualty of a lack of marketing – but give it the time of day and you’ll be rewarded with a chaotic experience that has been surprisingly lacking in this console generation.
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