Anarchy Reigns is a four-player arena fighting game developed by Platinum Games. You take control of one of sixteen characters in a battle with three opponents where the aim of the game is to deplete your opponent’s life bars before they deplete yours.
The single-player campaign is played out in an open-world environment, allowing you to run around a fairly empty land-mass beating up henchmen, finding quests to beat up henchmen, beating up more henchmen, finding a quest to beat up a boss, then beating up more henchmen and so on until you get to the next stage in the campaign. This portion of the game feels very uninspired and almost a bit tacked on, since it doesn’t differ much from just fighting bots in the multi-player. It feels like the same two or three missions over and over again until the credits roll. Anarchy Reigns features a somewhat deep combat system but when dealing with the campaign, I found just mashing the light attack button would dispatch most of the enemies with no bother at all. It could have been a decent way of training yourself for the multi-player modes but there’s a training mode included in the game, so it just feels like an obligatory mode. Truly, the biggest problem with Anarchy Reigns is in the fact that you must complete the single-player to unlock all the characters. This decision just baffles me.
The story found here is a very strange one. The game clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously when you look at it’s over-the-top gameplay and character design yet for some reason Platinum Games attempted to tell a story that seems like an honest attempt at a dramatic narrative but inevitably leaves you extremely confused about their intentions.
The combat system is a heap of fun though, and that’s the most important part of Anarchy Reigns. You get a light and heavy attack as basics but you can also hold the left trigger to modify your these into more powerful weapon based attacks which are usually sweet to look at and deal devastating damage. Your character can also enter a rampage mode, attained by landing attacks, which allows you to mash the attack buttons to deliver a flurry of blows to deal a grevious harm to an opponent in a short amount of time. As far as defensive options go, there is a block, and a roll. That’s pretty much it but if we’re being honest, this game doesn’t really strike me as one about defense.
The character design in Anarchy Reigns is awesome and for sure one of my favourite parts of the game. It’s completely over-the-top in that signature Platinum Games way. There’s a cyborg bull, a cyborg ninja (not that cyborg ninja), a ‘roided up pig-man and many other outlandish characters. Even though the character combos are all very similar, Platinum still manage to make most of their characters feel unique and fun in different ways.
The multi-player in Anarchy Reigns more than alleviates any sour feelings from the single-player. It plays the same but when you introduce human players, it changes everything. There are a bunch of game modes to play including battle royale, team deathmatch, capture the flag and even some more crazy stuff like a mode called Death Ball, which is sort of a variant of football. This being a fighting game, it’s really cool to see modes like capture the flag adding a little bit of variety. The best part about Anarchy Reigns is the absolute chaos that ensues when multiple humans are added into the mix.
Even with the sub-par single-player portion of the game, I still did find a lot to like about Anarchy Reigns. If you have friends to play with and you enjoy the type of gameplay Anarchy Reigns brings to the table then you should definitely give it a look. Normally, I don’t like to discuss value when it comes to reviewing games because price should not dictate the quality of a game. However, Anarchy Reigns is launching at a retail price of £20 or $30. So in this one instance, I think you are getting more than your money’s worth in this excellent yet flawed title.
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