Anarchy Reigns is madness, a game where black holes, air strikes, and a pimp dragon punching a robot is something that happens all within a ten minute match. That is what it would leave you to believe, but really it is a solid brawler with a lot of problems that hinder the game. The question is can these be overlooked? Read to find out!
The first real issue the game has is its story. It starts out pretty confusing by introducing you to the two main characters, but telling you very little about them. The game has you pick who’s side you want to see first Jack or Leo. There is no real way to pick one besides the fact they are labeled light and dark, or if you like the design of one more then the other, so I just went with Jack. Then after six missions the game finally fills you in on the back story of the character you chose for your first playthrough. So turns out you are a chaser (which is basically a mercenary) and Jack is being chased while chasing the man who killed his daughter while lamenting her loss. Leo on the other hand is working to find his master Max. Overall, it can be hard to follow and by the time you don’t understand what is going on, you probably just won’t care.
On the presentation side of things, Anarchy Reigns fails in a lot of ways, but has some redeemable parts to it. The graphics look awful; at times it literally looks like an upscaled PlayStation 2 game. Environments are gray, boring, and uninspired. The only nice things I can say is the frame rate on the 360 is consistent and the character designs are ridiculous in the best possible way. Cyborg ninjas, fire pimps, bikers with chainsaw arms. The only word I could describe there design is cool. A ton of thought was put into this set of characters, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every character’s design.
The same could be said about the music. The catchy original rap, hip-hop, and pop the game uses fits right in with the madness that is going on in the gameplay. When fighting a giant squid with Jack and his fire chainsaw this music makes the scene look like something pulled from an anime. Sound effects are just as good, though the same phrases get repeated over and over during fights which can get tiring. Not only that, the voice acting isn’t super great mainly do to a weak script because the voice cast does have some real talent behind it such as Steve Blum who most people will remember as the main character of Big-O and Grunt from the Mass Effect series. The presentation has some really great parts to it, but for the most part, nothing is remarkable.
Onto gameplay, Anarchy Reigns is a 3D brawler with a heavy focus on it’s multiplayer. The single player sets you into one of the multiplayer arenas and has you run to an area to do the side quest known as free mission, then it gives you more experience to run and do the main mission. Most of these are timed missions where you have to kill as much as possible, escort someone somewhere, or race. Each mission you are ranked, given a score, and given a medal where the better you do, the more experience you earn to unlock more missions and characters. The traversal and exploration might as well not even be in the game as the real focus is the combat taking a lot from modern fighting games and put it into a brawler. The fighting is fast paced and fun, with a heavy focus on using super moves at the right time so you don’t waste your super on being blocked or missing. The single player is at it’s best when fighting the bosses which feel epic. These one-on-one fights featuring ultra powerful characters with weird powers creating total chaos everywhere. The reason for this is that it emulates the game’s strongest feature, the multiplayer.
Anarchy Reigns at it’s core is a multiplayer game with crazy characters fighting each other in these huge arenas with complete madness going on. The game is at it’s peak with smaller matches using team work and strategies to work your combos into your teammates, using tag attacks, and tag grapples. These small skirmishes are where the game just shines, where the game falls apart are the bigger matches especially in free-for-all. Instead of feeling like epic battles, these battles have a tendency to feel like a mess of just random things happening, not only that, the camera, just like the single player will jerk around and focus on everything but your primary target and if you do lock on to someone then you can’t focus on the other 14 people you are fighting. It just feels like a gigantic mess in bigger games. That said, if you keep it to four versus four or under the multiplayer, it is a blast.
Anarchy Reigns has some cool ideas and can be a lot of fun. It just also has a lot of problems. The character design is cool and the game has some great music, but on a technical level the game doesn’t look that great and the environments look awful. While the voice acting is good, it doesn’t matter because the story is told poorly and when you finally do get what is going on, you probably won’t care. The single player feels like a mediocre tutorial to get you ready for the multiplayer. The multiplayer is total chaos and a blast when it is scaled back to eight players or less, but when you go over that mark, it just becomes a total disaster. As a whole, Anarchy Reigns is a solid game with some cool ideas, the problem is that it just fails to execute on a lot of the basics.
Final Score: 7.0/10