Review: Anarchy Reigns
Anarchy. Anarchy. Anarchy. ANARCHY. ANNNARCHY. AAAANNNNAAARRCHY
- Worth The Time?Not so much.
- Things LovedThe characters are colourful and have some unique aspects to them. The combat can become satisfyingly frantic. The multiplayer, when it works, can be good fun. The boss fights are nice and varied. Some of the jokes can be rather funny.
- Things HatedThe repetitiveness of it all. A massive waste of potential with regards to character building. Not a lot to do. Unnecessary padding of the game. Not the best looking game out there. Has the potential to bore you to tears. The story is questionable. The multiplayer is just one massive inconvenience sometimes. The music is extremely tacky and just doesn't work.
- RecommendationIf you're looking for quick thrills and some enemy beating then it's definitely worth a bargain bin purchase, but otherwise steer clear
- Name: Anarchy Reigns
- Genre: Beat 'em up
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Yes, up to 16 players.
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Platinum Games
- Publisher: SEGA
- Price: R361
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Anarchy Reigns is a beat ’em up where you hit dudes in the face with fists attached to massive men that are about the same size as a refrigerator crossed with a truck or dudes that look like they belong in an anime Twilight series. That’s basically it. You would be forgiven to think that there would be a lot more to this game, but there really isn’t. There could have been a lot more done to it, but instead you get a meager offering that’s barely worth your time and energy. It has some redeeming qualities, but they are far outnumbered by the faults. Let’s break it down shall we.
When you hit the new game option you watch a little cutscene that introduces a lot of the central characters and after a while, two characters walk by each other and you are given a choice. Join the black side or the white side. It’s not as racist as it sounds believe me. The black side is composed of a massive muscle-bound-chainsaw-arm-wielding beast called Jack Cayman (which you may remember from MadWorld). He is on a journey to mess up the guy involved with the death of his daughter. He is also a well known “chaser” which in basic terms mean “bounty hunter”.
The white side consists of a skinny tech-heavy-blue-arm-sword-wielding guy with an emo haircut called Leo. He is a member of a security team that have to also find the guy that Jack is looking for. That guy was his mentor and he really looked up to him. The guy that they are both chasing has gone mad and pretty much lost his marbles. It’s up to you to choose what side you want to be on and which character you relate to the most. This might be a tough decision, but it won’t matter much because midway through the game you will change sides anyway and play as the other guy.
Anarchy Reigns is set in an almost post-apocalyptic world where corruption has reigned and destruction is everywhere. The citizens are also mutated and damn near out of their minds. In turn you get environments that have taken he turn for the worse and have started degrading and falling apart due to excessive damage. The citizens attack everyone in sight that they do not like and gigantic mutants roam the streets with massive hammers. Yeah, I couldn’t make much sense of it either.
When you pick your character you get thrown into a city with a bunch of enemies trying to attack you. Anarchy Reigns adopted an almost free roaming angle with regards to the progression of the game. There are various enemies roaming around the area just waiting for you to mess them up. What you need to do is kill enough enemies to earn enough points to unlock missions. These missions can be one of two things: side missions or story missions. Side missions are your regular “kill X amount of enemies” and “escort this jackass to point A and B without this jackass dying” things and it occasionally mixes it up with races or more challenging enemies. Story missions are for all intents and purposes boss battles. These boss battles range from human enemies to a goddamn Kraken. They are well varied and almost fun to do at times.
After completing all of the missions you move to a different hub area where you do it all over again only this time it’s in a new location with slightly different enemies. The environments are bordering on interesting with unique locations and settings, but they are so dull and emotionless that you will find yourself bored of them in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t help that the game’s graphics aren’t that great to start off with. It’s not horrible, but it’s also nothing special.
Anarchy Reigns’ biggest flaw is surprisingly its combat. It’s a simple system composed of basic attacks, heavy attacks and jumping attacks. You also have something called a Killer Weapon which is your super move. You only get a limited amount of attacks in the form of a gauge that fills up as you deal damage or take damage. In Jack’s case, he has a chainsaw arm capable of doing massive swipes and killing lots of enemies and Leo has his arm blades that have almost the same effect. You also have an ability called Rampage that you can use when a gauge fills up throughout your battles. This turns your character into a killing machine that has attacks with increased damage at higher speeds and makes you regenerate health. You can also infinitely use your Killer Weapon.
The problem with this system is that it’s severely limited. That’s all you have at your disposal. There aren’t any moves you learn later on or some sort of upgrade system to improve those attacks. That’s all you can do throughout the entire admittedly long campaign. It’s just a giant waste of potential and something that is sorely missed. For a while I thought that the points I was earning in combat were some sort of XP, but it was just for unlocking the next thing that I can do.
The battles that take place throughout the game are sometimes frantic and even bordering on fun, but if you’re doing the same thing over and over for hours on end then it does tend to become boring and even repetitive as much as I loath using that word. After playing for about five hours, you start to realise that you’re not having fun at all and just doing the same thing you have been doing since you started the game. You will find yourself bored and looking to play something else in almost no time at all.
The game has some redeeming qualities. The characters you meet on your journey are colourful and interesting albeit a bit stereotypical. A black pimp with enough bling and glitter to make Edward Cullen blush, gold chains, a pimp hat and using the phrase “Oh hell naaaw” way too many times. An Asian girl that talks like she’s straight out of an anime with a ridiculously unpractical hairstyle and speaks in Engrish. Do you understand now? Even with these ridiculously obvious stereotypes, they still have a certain uniqueness and quirkiness about them and it’s pleasant to interact with them at times. They do make a lot of jokes and some of them are actually pretty funny.
These side characters also sometimes join you in battle and you even have the option to use them in the battle if you want which gives the game a little more variation, but not enough to become entertaining. Their attacks are almost exactly the same as Jack or Leo’s with the only difference being the Killer Weapon. Still, it’s nice to have something different in this otherwise monotonous game.
When you are done with the black or white side and completed the final boss battle, you start the entire game from the start with the opposite of the side you picked. All that has changed are some of the boss battles and the main character. Otherwise it’s exactly the same even with the same side missions and environments. There’s no variation at all and you’re just doing the same thing with a skinnier or fatter version of yourself with a few different cutscenes.
The music consists of “gangster rap” and some techno. It’s as unpleasant as it sounds. It’s very tacky and out of place that it’s almost laughable. It’s grinding on the ears and you will want to mute it and play better music on your phone. There’s nothing redeeming about it whatsoever. It’s not bombastic and encouraging it’s just there for the sake of being there.
The multiplayer is where the real party is at because you get to choose from a huge list of characters each with their own special features and moves (that you have to unlock in the main campaign which is a schlep of note) and you can potentially use them in full on 16 player battles. The problem with the multiplayer is that it’s one massive inconvenience at times. If you are lucky enough to find a match then you have to wait for all players to be ready for the match to begin. It sounds simple, but there will be times where you’re waiting for one guy to initiate the match and he is either a troll or he killed himself on his couch. More often than not someone will leave the lobby and the whole process has to start over again. I have waited in a lobby where we only needed 8 players for literally 45 minutes until the match began. Every time it looked like the match was going to begin, somebody left and we had to wait for someone else again. It’s just one massive waiting game most of the time.
The actual matches are good fun with people just beating the hell out of each other with very different characters and super moves. It’s quite a spectacle and with a huge list of modes, there is something for everyone. If only it worked. One more waste of potential in a game that could have been so much more. That is what Anarchy Reigns is at its core. A game that has the potential and the means to be a great game, but in turn we got something mediocre and disappointing. It’s not absolutely horrible and it can be fun for a little while. Pick this game up if it’s cheap, but don’t expect to wowed.