Anarchy Reigns (Xbox 360), Review
After hours of struggling through the post-apocalyptic universe, we give you the skinny and the warning labels on this game.
Anarchy Reigns? Does it? Does it really?
In a post-apocalyptic world where people have become mutants and/or bionics by sheer necessity, we follow the story of a fugitive being hunted by two parties, from the two parties’ point of view. On the ‘Light’ version gameplay, we follow members of the cybernetic police force (BPS) that are after the fugitive, who was once their leader and mentor. The Dark side of the gameplay follows a bounty hunter after the same prey. If I made this story seem interesting and compelling, it was purely accidental, guys.
Playing through Anarchy Reigns was slightly painful to me, and I have the inside scoop for you all so that those who love this genre can go to it, and those who don’t can keep your well earned cash for something better (like the new Devil May Cry reboot).
First of all, I must explain that “Story” is used rather loosely in this game. When I told you the basics of the story, I wasn’t holding back. They really don’t tell you much more starting out, and watching it “unfold” was painful to me. The dialog was like something out of Street Fighter, with very bad trash talk and near absence of plot. If this wasn’t bad enough, the game itself doesn’t follow the traditional story structure either. Instead, you are dumped in the middle of a hostile environment and you need to just go and hit stuff until you’ve earned enough experience to unlock something.
I can see what they were going for, and I wish the story and dialog were a bit better. I’m sure they could’ve been greatly improved if any of the testers or writers had read a book. (If you were a tester or a writer for this game, I do apologize. I’m sure it wasn’t really your fault, but I don’t know who else to blame.)
The graphics were not horrible, but they were slightly dated in many ways. The look is very Metal Gear Solid style during cut-scenes and conversations, but considering what conversations look like in MGS (the static faces with facial expressions were actually more detailed in MGS), this isn’t a fantastic compliment. The graphics during gameplay are decent, but not as sharp as you’d expect for something that came out a week ago. The look is sort of as if they took Double Dragon and tried to turn it into a combination of Phantasy Star Online and Skyrim, but achieved neither.
The game is somewhere between mission-driven and open-world. You have “Free Missions” which are technically optional and have nothing to do with the storyline, and you have Story Missions which move the plot forward. To be able to move the plot forward, you need to unlock Story missions. You need to gain experience points to unlock missions. You unlock Free Missions before you unlock Story missions. Getting the hint yet? That’s right, if you want to advance the story line you pretty much need to either walk around forever defeating the endless onslaught of every Tom, Dick and Harry that exists in the game (because EVERYONE you see is going to attack you unless they are on your team. There is no side-conversation possible. There’s no one to talk to!) OR you can do the “optional” missions so that you can find yourself actually advancing the plot.
While you’re out saving the world from itself by beating every gangbanger in existence senseless, you have the witty rapport of Judge Dredd, as your Light Side character says things like “I Am The Law!”. (I really wish I was kidding). My favorite part of the gameplay was when I received a phone call on my cellphone and discovered that the lame and laughable conversations/trash talk is unskippable, unpausable and that even if you hit the Xbox button to force it to stop anywhere in the game, the game continues regardless. So, you better hold it in until you can find someplace to pause and/or tell whomever is at the door to give you a minute (or five).
Now, if that weren’t bad enough, the characters themselves are beyond annoying and a few are downright insulting. There’s a chubby guy called Oinkie, with a metal mask over his nose to make him look like a pig and he talks of nothing except eating, how ‘delicious’ your ‘technology’ is, and he actually oinks and squeals. I kid you not.I wish that I was kidding. I wish that this entire review was a ruse, an April Fool’s joke. And above all, I wish I had my cash back instead of this game right now.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and so in this concerted effort of optimism in my part, I focused on the music. The music was actually pretty good, with some techno/hip hop combinations in there that were intriguing when they didn’t annoy me. If that music type is your style, you’ll love it. It keeps you in the fighting mood, which is good since that’s all you do. Ever.
I’m the completely wrong person to ask at this point. I don’t want to play it again; I want to delete the memory files off my Xbox that it put there and pretend I never played it. But if you’re into mindless carnage with no real excuse or story to go with it, all you want to do is kick butt and take names, then you might enjoy this game enough to play through it and try your hand at Hard, unlock the concept art and character profiles, and have fun with it. As it stands now, I feel like my intelligence has been insulted considering this game is M for Mature, meaning that they know the brain power of the person they intended to be playing this.
The saddest thing is that this game could’ve been so much better with a few changes and some intelligent dialogue. Maybe it’s just not my style, guys. You decide.
Story: 2 / 10Graphics: 5 / 10Gameplay: 4 / 10Music: 7 / 10Replayability: 2 / 10
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