Having spent the last six months in Japan under the title of ‘Max Anarchy’, the game as developed by Platinum Games (Vanquish, Bayonetta) and published by SEGA, finally sees European shores under the new name of ‘Anarchy Reigns Limited Edition’ – quite possibly the only edition you can buy and certainly not limited for the really cheap price you can pick this up at retail.
Anarchy Reigns may be cheap, but it’s certainly not nasty. This massive brawler feels like the love-child between ‘Gears of War’ and ‘Power Stone’ as you take to the streets smashing, fighting and intensely button-mashing your way through alien urban environments. Initially the game can feel very intimidating as the loading screens present an image of the controller with all the different button configurations that mean jack-shit, but instinctively you know you have to smash someone’s face in regardless of what button you press. In a horde-style battle arena you are instantly placed in a kill-or-be-killed situation with an endless amount of enemies heading towards you from every direction – and when I say endless, I really mean ENDLESS! It’s not every day you have to fight your way through a ton of enemies just to access a tutorial option.
As it’s often said “there are two sides to every story”, Anarchy Reigns allows you to initially choose your battle-side in the two part story driven campaign mode where you choose from playing as Jack on the Black side or Leo on the White side, with each having their own unique combat style, but other than the occasional option to play as side-line characters for a short while during parts of the campaign – most of the single player you will play as either Jack or Leo unless in multiplayer. The story itself isn’t really all that evident as the key focus seems to always be about survival and endurance with a few objectives thrown in for good measures, but the paths of both Jack and Leo cross in search for an evil cyborg named Maximillian. Jack and Leo play from two different perspectives, so you get to complete the game twice if you think you can brawl your way through it again after completing it the first time?
The plot is not all the memorable and barely feels relevant as it is a game where you are placed into different arena’s featuring different urban and futuristic environments, and then the objective is to fight your way through a horde of enemies to earn enough score to unlock the next mission. It feels solely about endurance and earning your mission unlocks which consist of both Free Roaming (for score) missions and Main Story missions to progress. Even on Normal Mode it is relatively tough and takes quite a bit of time to complete depending upon how quick you can get your Score up through Free Missions or simply attacking the endless horde of enemies. After a while the enemies do become harder and bigger to take down, so you’ll start to think a little more tactically and take different approaches.
Although the tutorial is optional, due to the control system it’s worth taking a shot at it to learn how to defend and attack properly as it will show you different manoeuvres to master to help you take down a giant or two a lot easier. As a brawler there are many combo’s you can perform where the most deadly will net you the highest score. Keeping it short you can grab things, throw them, pick up enemies, throw them, kick, punch, block and defend, perform 360 attacks, use your unique killer weapon and even go out on a Rampage. Or mission permitting catch an enemy rocket and throw it right back, use a Sniper rifle, throw down some shock traps and set the enemy on fire! There’s definitely a lot of fun to be had in Anarchy Reigns even if the campaign doesn’t consist of a great deal of missions, they are to some degree very challenging – as I’ve already quoted a few times now, “it’s about survival and endurance”.
Anarchy Reigns has an extensive multiplayer offering more than sixteen different characters to play from, with the majority unlocked from playing the solo player campaign – or using a DLC code to play as Bayonetta who had her own game from Platinum Games and SEGA in 2010. As well as serving up thirteen different multiplayer modes. Is there any other game that can offer this using generally only melee attacks? The options allow you to brawl in Ranked Matches for serious brawlers which affects Leaderboards (does anyone care about Leaderboards anymore?), Player Matches for more casual fighting with randoms or invited LIVE Friends, or alternatively opt for a fully customisable Private Match to suit you. The matches allow for up to sixteen players with different mode variations of Battle Brawls, Deathmatches, Cage-Matches, Capture the Flag, Co-op Survival modes, and explosive Helicopter Battles using guided missiles all across eight different large spectacularly designed maps.
Without having a loadout there is not a lot you can do to customise your character other than try to unlock more through the campaign as each has their own unique battle techniques, strengths and weaknesses. You can earn different emblems to show off and if you like – set your preferred region to match up with North America, Europe, Asia, Japan, Oceania as the closer other players are to you, the more responsive the gameplay will be which helps in such a manic all-fist’s blazing game as this!
Anarchy Reigns thankfully has been priced to be reflective of what is on offer, a basic campaign horde-esque mode where the majority of action is best suited for online multiplayer. At such a budget price you are getting a great deal of content for your money. The campaign can get a little repetitive though with the need to constantly roam around the same areas until you’ve racked up the score, but if you want to get the most fun out of this – take it online. With a great range of multiplayer modes you might it find it a nice change to play your favourite online mode without a gun in-hand!
Anarchy Reigns will pleasantly surprise you as a decent online multiplayer game, despite a few graphical flaws if you look hard enough. It doesn’t disappoint and is appropriately priced at under £20.00 brand-new.