Anarchy Reigns

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7.0 Overall Score

Over The Top Action | Fast Paced Multiplayer | Fantastic Soundtrack | Only Costs $30

Lack Luster Single Player | Cooperative Multiplayer Notably Missing

Written by on January 15, 2013 in [, , , , ]

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The Wii exclusive Mad World, while not selling many copies, became a cult hit following its release. The brawler was one of the only “ultra-violent” games released for Nintendo’s console, featuring over the top death sequences and cheesy voice acting. Mad World was the first title from Platinum Games, a company formed after Capcom’s Clover Studios closed. The title was so close to the studio that, despite poor sales, they decided to make the sequel, known in the west as Anarchy Reigns.

Anarchy Reigns is set in a seemingly post apocalyptic world, where many inhabitants have been mutated by war. The game features two single player campaigns, titled the “White Side” and “Black Side,” each telling a different side of the same story. On the White Side you follow Leo, a member of the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS), as he tracks a former agent named Max who went insane and supposedly killed his wife. On the Black Side, the game follows Jack, the protagonist of Mad World. He is also tracking Max, but for him it’s because he wants revenge for the murder of his daughter.

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The story itself isn’t very deep or thought provoking. The real draw of the story is the ludicrous characters you will encounter along the way. Returning from Mad World is the Black Baron, one of the most over the top, stereotypical characters in any video game ever produced. Oinkie, as you might be able to guess from his name, is an insane cybernetic pigman. The voice acting is just as absurd, featuring lines that would make Tommy Wiseau blush, and the soundtrack is a fantastic, rock-jazz-hip-hop fusion.

Each campaign is broken into four chapters, each with their own hub world. In order to unlock new missions you need to obtain a certain score. This can be done by either killing the various enemies that will randomly spawn into the world or by completing side quests. These side quests have a decent variety, featuring different goals ranging from killing a certain amount of enemies, to winning a race using a hover car, to playing a significantly more violent version of soccer. While the core game is a brawler, the game knows how to break up some of its monotony.

The fighting mechanics, from the outside, may seem like they have very little depth to them. There are light and heavy attacks, a “killer attack” and grabs. By dealing a certain amount of damage you can fill up your rampage meter which will allow you to unleash a series of unblockable attacks. Learning how to string these various attacks together becomes crucial later in the game as you will often have to fight off waves and waves of the game’s biggest and toughest enemies in side missions alone. The punishment for failing to master these techniques can be fairly brutal. You can easily get backed into a corner, while getting pummeled with no way out. You usually get three lives to complete a mission and you’ll often times need all of them to win.

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There are missions that feature AI partners and this is where the game really shows what it should have been. Early on, your partners will often do all of the work in a fight for you. Later, however, they are dumb as rocks, often times running away from the enemy when you are engaged in combat. It feels like this would have been the perfect place to add in co-op play.

Another problem is the game’s inability to convey information correctly. In one side mission, you will be faced with a wave of small enemies. Half way through, a larger enemy will appear to attack you. Killing fifty of the small enemies will trigger a small cutscene telling you that you need to attack two specific places in order to complete the mission. However, even if you do exactly what the game tells you, you’ll still fail. You can retry the mission countless times and still have no idea what you’re supposed to do. Later missions will feature death traps that you will have no clue about until you fall into them. For a game so dependent on knowing exactly what you are doing, there is a lot of unfortunate trial and error involved.

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While the single player is fairly lackluster, it is all meant to be a prelude for the multiplayer. Completing the campaign will unlock the sixteen playable characters for multiplayer, each with their own style of gameplay. Certain characters will be faster but somewhat weaker while others will be extremely slow but powerful. Learning this balance takes a good deal of gameplay, especially considering just how skilled some of the other players can be. Figuring out exactly how to counter enemies can be the deciding factor in a given battle.

The biggest draw of this mode is Battle Royale where up to sixteen players fight it out in any of the large environments. The game adds a twist with random events occurring throughout the stage at any given time. At one point a storm may occur, causing players to be randomly targeted with lightning, while other stages can have random weapons spawning throughout. It can be chaotic but extremely fun depending on your play style. Other standard modes (such as Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag) are featured with the same sort of chaos.

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That said, there is a very clear divide in the community already between skilled and unskilled players. Playing with high ranking players can lead to the needed score being obtained within a matter of two or three minutes. If you want to try to get better at the game, unfortunately, the number of players online is dwindling at the moment, meaning just getting the number of players needed to start a match can take fifteen or twenty minutes. It’s not the fault of the game itself, but it seems like a larger community is needed to keep this game going. With the game only costing $30, it seemed that Sega hoped its low price would bring in more people however it doesn’t seem like it worked. It’s a shame considering just how fun the game can be online.

While Anarchy Reigns features a fairly bare-bones and lackluster single player mode, it seems the multiplayer was always meant to be the main draw. Playing alone can be somewhat boring and extremely frustrating at times. However, when playing the multiplayer you can easily see how good the game should be. There’s a ton of fun to be had in one half of the game, which is awesome and a shame all at the same time.

A copy of Anarchy Reigns was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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