Anarchy Reigns, previously known as Max Anarchy in Japan, finally made its way over to our shores. As the sequel to the Wii only MadWorld, it has a lot to live up to, but unfortunately it falls slightly flat. Anarchy doesn’t reign here.
Whilst there are some recurring characters from MadWorld, this is a sequel that can stand on its own two feet. The single player part of the game is the weakest, which whilst it features two interlinking campaigns, it clocks in at just under 10 hours and it all feels like a big build up to the online mode. It feels like the single-player was just tacked on to appease the masses, but it just wants to be a multi-player brawler.
The online mode works well, with some interesting match types which take influence from both Call of Duty as well as fighting games such as Tekken and Dead or Alive. It has the standard deathmatch styles and survivor, as well as cage matches, where it is just one on one. The deathmatch games are interesting to behold because the game at heart is a brawler, so there is very little hiding round corners sniping people. It is all out Anarchy. The cage matches work just as you would expect them to, with one on one fighting still looking rather chaotic.
The fighting is by far the best part about this game, with several additions making it stand out from the various other fighting games that are out there. The foremost of these is the addition of killer weapons, such as Jake’s chainsaw and Leo’s cybernetic weapons. These need to be built up during fights, but they are lethal and most enemies they can one-hit kill. If you build up high enough, you can also unleash the rampage mode, which can take out even bosses in about three hits. This is an absolutely lethal move, but it makes the game feel incredibly easy when it’s used.
There are two different types of mission in the single-player campaign, the Free missions and the Story missions. The Free ones feel tacked on to make the story-line seem longer, they are just there to accumulate points which you use to unlock more story missions. You can’t use them to buy upgrades or anything, there just there to make it seem like the game is longer. They also make very little sense in the grand scheme of things. For example one free mission lets you take control of a mutant berserker, but there is no explanation as to why, how or when you got the berserker and why you are fighting with it. The Free missions are also extremely repetitive; it feels like every stage you are asked to kill either 50 or 100 enemies. There isn’t much variation to them.
The cut scenes, whilst beautiful, are also unsynchronised to the English dub. They are still mouthing the Japanese words underneath and it is extremely noticeable, which detracts from the game. This can be quite annoying and it makes it seem like there was just a quick dub recorded over the top of the game and it was thrown out to try and meet public demand.
As well as fighting with your first and killer weapons, you also can pick up some standard weaponry in the form of special pick-ups. These can vary from a rifle to incendiary grenades, which whilst it makes some fights a lot easier, and some Free missions require you to only use these weapons, the aiming isn’t great as this wasn’t designed to be a shooting game. You can also hijack some vehicles throughout form a helicopter to a sled, which can offer some good variation to the standard fist fighting, but again it all feels very clunky.
One aspect that did make the game extremely unpredictable during the free-roam in between the story missions is the random elemental effects that affect the stage throughout the game. These can range from blanket bombings from enemy air-craft to a random black hole appearing in the middle of the stage. Whilst these do add to the gameplay and add variation, again there is no rhyme or reason as to why these are there. They just are.
It says a lot when one of the marketing premises of the game is the fact that you can download a character from another game to play in the Multiplayer Mode. The character in question is of course, Bayonetta, the sexy witch from the game of the same name. If this had been a downloadable content for Bayonetta and focused more on her, then this would have been good, but it is a sequel to an entirely different game and doesn’t feature anything from the Bayonetta world.
Overall the game is good, very good online, but it was rushed out to meet the public demand and it feels unfinished. If you want a good online experience that doesn’t revolve around COD or Battlefield then this is definitely a game to pick up. This is especially true as it comes with a reduced price tag of £17.99 out the gate, but don’t expect this game to be a great single-player experience.