It’s finally here, after being delayed for so long, we’re were wondering if this game was ever going to get a western release. Platinum Games made the Japanese version “Max Anarchy” region free so we had that option. But it has finally got released to western regions and at a reduced price as well to make up for the delay.
Anarchy Reigns comes with what you’ll expect from Platinum Games, an extremely fun game that you won’t want to stop playing. It was mainly made for online play, but also has a single player campaign which actually has a really decent story. From day one that we heard about this game, we were led to believe that it would be game only enjoyable if into online play. But it has enough single player for those of you who aren’t into the online side of gaming. The game includes 16 playable characters all with unique move lists (includes Jack from Platinum Game’s Mad World). As well as a good variety of online modes.
The game’s soundtrack is all rap and it’s actually really good. There has been a lot of work been put into this area of the game, it includes all sorts of different artists. It’s not all rap either, there is a few tracks that could be classed as different genres, but you are looking at mainly rap in this area.
The voice acting is really good, there is no option for Japanese as back when this game was Japan only for a while, it was fully English. Most of Platinum Games are made this way whereas everything is fully in English for some reason. It has been that way for ages now, even back when most of them were with Capcom, that’s the way most of their games were done. However, the voice acting is perfect, no voice seems weird to that character so it works. Some voices are a perfect fit, Oinkie’s has been done to sound like a talking pig, which the character pretty much is.
The graphics are really good at most times. Often the cut-scenes in story mode look lower res than that of the normal in-game graphics. But that doesn’t happen too often, so it isn’t an annoying thing. Overall they are very nice looking. The environments aren’t repetitive at all, in the story mode, you play in at least four of them and can explore them. The best one is probably Hong Long which is based on Hong Kong, it just varies quite a bit. But so do the other stages too. It’s just that is the most fancy looking one I guess?
Character animations are done very well too, the Killer Weapon attacks are really awesome looking once you get a direct hit with them. At least some of them are, some look a bit plain compared to others. You can also choose what color you want the character to be. This is probably also used for online play where players can use the same character but not ending up being confused. But you can use this feature whenever, so if there’s a character you want to play but don’t exactly like their default colors, then change them to whatever you want from the selection of colors.
Players can also unlock models of the characters to view and concept art of the game.
Well, I honestly didn’t expect much of a story in this game, but Platinum Games goes and exceeds my expectations again! You get to play as either the White or Black side, on the White Side, you’re looking for Max mainly to kill him for what he’s went and done. On the Black Side, Max’s daughter has contacted you and asks you to find him and bring him back safely. On each side, you play as a certain character. On the White Side you play as Leo, a young rookie who looked up to Max when he was in his better days. On the Black Side, you play as Jack, which some of you may know from Mad World, I have never played Mad World, being a Wii exclusive game, so I don’t exactly know if he takes his previous character development with him in this game or not. But Jack is not part of any organization and is basically a chaser, he gets paid for chasing down people pretty much. He has been asked to find Max and bring him back safely, while there is probably nothing more than what he’ll want to get to kill him instead as he has done something to affect Jack as well.
The story is done so you experience both sides before going off to the final stage which both sides would meet up on, and having not played the other side, you’ll wonder what they were up to. So the game makes you play as both sides during a play-through. You get a different kind of ending though for whichever side you started with. So it has great re-playability just because of that.
Overall the story is short, but it’s good, not all games need a long story to be good. After all, this was more story than what I expected the game to get to be honest with you. I was expecting just a really random story. One that you could easily forget after playing through the game. Each of the game’s characters make their appearances too. You may not learn a lot about most of them, but you’ll learn what their character is like at least. There is even non-playable ones you may end up liking, such as the Bar-bot.
The gameplay has been done really well. It has some quite flawless design. Platinum Games are what I would class as the best Hack n’ Slash developers as all their Hack n’ Slash games (Bayonetta is their only one, but they have made games like God Hand and Devil May Cry with Capcom) are often the best ones I have played. Since it is mainly based on online play, I guess I’m best to talk about the connection and stuff. Well the connection seems to work. It probably looks for your region and then puts you into a lobby whereas there be least lag. During the time I played online, I experienced zero lag. I haven’t got the best internet either which means I’m really restricted to mainly playing against my own region. But that is what you would expect from all kinds of online game-play. Compared to playing against someone in your own region and playing against, lets say, someone in Japan, you’ll expect some lag just because of distance mainly.
You have a variety of modes to play as well and up to 16 players can play these modes so it can get quite chaotic at times online. You also can play as 16 different characters. Each with their own move lists. Players who pre-ordered or got the Day One Limited Edition can also play as Bayonetta and have two additional online modes to play in. These may become available to buy sometime later as they are currently available in the Japanese marketplace. But to be honest with you, they are the kind of things that you would mainly only want free with your game.
Onto talking about Single Player now. You can play the campaign on Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties. Each difficulty differs a bit, Hard obviously being the frustrating one and Easy being the cakewalk one. And Normal just being right. You can also unlock Max Anarchy difficulty by completing the game on any difficulty and not using any retries. And well, I don’t really want to know what that difficulty is like as I’m on my Hard play-through now and it has had me using rather cheap tactics which I don’t like doing much. I’m more of a player who likes to play the games properly rather than exploiting certain stuns and so on. But that is what that difficulty has led me to. So you’ll get a good challenge from the game, the fact you don’t get any upgrades to make stuff easier is something that makes it difficult as well.. Normally Platinum Games games always include upgrades, so you can get fully upgraded and then just fly through these higher difficulties.
It is no Ninja Gaiden game though. You shouldn’t struggle as much as you would on that game. But this is coming from me, and Hack n’ Slash is one of my favorite genres, so I’m in no way a beginner at the genre, but I’m also not the best ever at it, so if you are a beginner, you may have a bit of a learning curve, but keep at it and you’ll learn. There is a training and tutorial mode so you have no excuse that the game doesn’t let you learn the move lists and so on. I recommend going into the tutorial mode, even for those Hack n’ Slash veterans, its good to know the system so you can always look back at what you learned and if you’re in a bad situation, you’ll know what kind of move will stop you getting beat up on.
Overall, its only really the bosses that offer any real difficulty to this game. The regular enemies are ridiculously easy to get rid of. Mutants are maybe a bit harder, but again, not too bad on the Normal difficulty at least. But at those times you have, say five of them going at you at once. That is when they get quite annoying, because you’re mainly not going to do it unless you’re lucky enough to have the right kind of power ups on you at that time.
So its an easy enough game to learn. There is an Easy difficulty there so that’s always a way you can experience the story if this genre isn’t exactly the kind of genre you are good at. You can maybe upgrade to a higher difficulty once you think you are ready.
The game’s story is split up to 4 stages on each side, these stages can last quite a while. Each stage is an open world, you can do whatever you want. Although the fastest way to progress, would be doing Free Missions to earn points, which will eventually unlock Main and more Free Missions. The missions offer quite a good challenge as you are limited to lives, in which this game calls retries. You don’t have unlimited lives to do the mission on. The highest amount of lives you get are 3. And these are all set, so you never have the option for selecting the amount of retries you want. Some you aren’t even allow to die in. All of the Free Missions have some sort of time limit too, so that is something that can also cause you to fail them. Main Missions however don’t have Time Limits and give you at least 3 retries to use. This is what mainly gives the game it’s difficulty too. Because if it didn’t limit you on lives, anyone could do the harder difficulties.
So is Anarchy Reigns worth it? Well at the reduced price, its worth the shot for almost anyone. I can tell you, its much more expensive to import it and I’m glad it’s finally got a release over here, there has been so many times I have been close to importing it and rather glad I never did. It does offer a great deal of re-playability, and if you are into online play, you could be playing this for a while. It’s one of the best Hack n’ Slashes I have played. To compare it to last year’s Lollipop Chainsaw or Ninja Gaiden 3, I would have to say, I have had more fun on this than I have had on those. But it’s Platinum Games, these guys know what they are doing when it comes to this genre. The next Hack n’ Slash we expect to see from them is Metal Gear Rising. So this is good warm up for that if anything.