Anarchy Reigns (released as Max Anarchy in Japan) is a beat ‘em up title from the makers of Bayonetta in the vein of Devil May Cry and God of War.
Released in Japan two weeks ago, it was originally slated to hit the Western market at around the same time. However, shortly before release, Sega announced the game would be delayed outside of Japan until March of next year -- despite the fact that the full English language version of the game is available on the Japanese disc. Speculation has run wild as to why this is, but after spending over 30 hours with Anarchy Reigns, I have a feeling that I know why. But before we get into that, let's take a look at what Anarchy Reigns does right.
Good -- Tons of Fun Multiplayer Modes
Despite having a robust and fairly plot-heavy, single-player campaign, the real draw of Anarchy Reigns is the 13 different multiplayer modes. All the normal multiplayer staples are there -- deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag -- but so are some more unique games like helicopter battles and deathball. For me personally, the highlight was the two "horde mode"-like co-op modes. The multiplayer modes have just the right mix of chaos and skill -- and despite playing every night since the game's release, I'm not tired of them yet.
Mixed -- Infinite Juggles
The only problem with the battle system in multiplayer is that it is quite easy to juggle a person (or be juggled yourself) long enough to be killed if you have help from another player. All you need is one clean hit to get them off the ground and your opponent is locked into a sure death --
or vice versa. While the game was clearly designed this way -- and you learn quickly to play with juggling in mind -- it is still rather annoying to go from full life to death all because of a single unblocked jab.
It's even worse in the co-op and story hard modes as the computer-controlled enemies have 20 times the life and perfect coordination. You can be playing perfectly, chipping away at an enemy's lifebar; but a single mistake -- or blindside attack from another enemy -- and you're juggled till dead.
Mixed -- Play Through the Same Game Twice
Anarchy Reigns is built around a two-sided narrative. At the start of the game, you choose to play as either the cast of characters from fellow Platinum title MadWorld or a squad of
cybernetic police. However, both sides are after the same goal -- the capture of a rogue police officer -- and follow the same level progression as well. Each level has its own sandbox-style world map, a third of which is unique to each side with a common area in the middle. Missions within each level are never the same and boss fights are usually different -- though a few fights are repeated in both campaigns. All in all, though you must play the game twice to unlock the ending, it is usually different enough to be enjoyable.
Bad -- The Glitches
As I mentioned above, people have wondered why, despite the game coming out in Japan with the full English game on the disc, Anarchy Reigns is not getting an international release till March 2013. I have one good guess: the glitches.
Over the course of my time with Anarchy Reigns, I experienced the following glitches:
• Whenever two people in co-op attempt an execution move at the same time, both players do their full animations but neither kill the monster.
• I got stuck inside the body of one of the bosses. Both of us became invincible to each other as well as to all other enemies and allies.
• After a cutscene, the boss never spawned; so we just stood there looking confused.
• In co-op a party member was invisible. On my screen it looked like she never moved from her starting position.
• Bayonetta's attacks can cause enemies to be stuck deep inside walls with no way to kill them.
• The game completely froze my PS3 three times in single player, requiring a reboot of the system. After one of these, my PS3 wouldn't let me continue until after it did a full hard drive scan for errors.
that's in singleplayer, co-op, or versus multiplayer. The plot has some issues in how it is told (e.g in its relation to MadWorld) but overall it's satisfying enough -- especially in seeing the whole story through two completely different viewpoints. Yet, the glitches do make an ugly stain on an otherwise enjoyable experience. So if waiting until spring next year is what it takes for those outside of Japan to get a fully polished and glitch-free version of the game, I feel they are getting the better end of the deal.
Anarchy Reigns was released on July 5, 2012, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Japan and will be released outside of Japan in March of 2013.
Going into Anarchy Reigns, I knew two things about it. 1) It was made by Platinum Games and 2) you could play as Bayonetta in the multiplayer. And with its Western release pushed to 2013 (despite the full English game being on the Japanese disc), it seemed like a must play. More »
With all the hype surrounding Platinum Games' Metal Gear title, another of their games, Anarchy Reigns, has somewhat fallen through the cracks. Anarchy Reigns is a 3D beat 'em up in the vein of God of War and Devil May Cry starring much of the cast of previous Platinum Games title MadWorld. More »