The chainsaw wielding protagonist, Jack Cayman, from Platinum Games’ Madworld – a black and white brawler that was released exclusively for Nintendo Wii – makes his return in Anarchy Reigns. Like Madworld, the player must survive in a post-apocalyptic world where society has fallen into ruin.
After the world powers devastate the planet by using chemical and nuclear weapons, the surviving populous resorts to living in a state of anarchy. The streets are dangerous; they are populated by groups of violent street thugs and unthinkable mutations that derive from radiation.
Anarchy Reigns is a 3D brawler that takes place in the city of Altambra. The city is an open sandbox that can be explored with no restrictions. The missions, on the other hand, are divided into zones and can only be unlocked by earning points. The player must battle hooded thugs in bio masks, mutated creatures and even Government extermination squads to earn enough points to reach these areas. When enough points are earned, a green mission circle appears on the world map. Once you find the mission area, you can enter it by pressing the Select button.
The mission areas are zones that represent smaller sections of the world map. Each mission has a set of conditions that range from killing a certain number of thugs to escorting a victim to a safe location. The mission objectives vary the further you progress through the story. Since points are needed to unlock missions, the player can use the Free Mission system to earn points and collect power ups to enhance Jack’s abilities. Unlike the Main Missions which progress the story, Free Missions can be replayed as many times as you like. A scrolling message appears at the bottom of the screen when you are close to having enough points to unlocking a new mission.
Anarchy Reign’s gameplay is exhilarating and fast-paced as you pound enemies into the pavement. Groups of mutated punks wielding spiked bats and stun rods approach leisurely from all directions as you engage groups of thugs in combat. Jack is capable of devastating combos that can kill groups of enemies with just a few hits. By tapping Circle button, Jack will pummel his adversaries with a series of punches and kicks. If the Triangle button is pressed before the combo ends, Jack will juggle his opponents into the air to set them up for an additional attack.
Jack’s chainsaw from Madworld happens to be the best weapon in his arsenal of attacks and the most useful when surrounded by groups of enemies. While limited by an energy bar, the chainsaw can decapitate large groups of enemies. It can also cleave thugs in half and incapacitate bosses when they charge at you. Since the chainsaw needs to charge after being used, it’s important to use it during a combo for maximum efficiency. The chainsaw also charges quickly when you fight enemies using normal attacks.
Extermination squads appear frequently; they carry flamethrowers with enormous tanks on their backs. They also drive hover vehicles that can be hijacked by the player. After dismounting the enemy from the vehicle, you can reprogram the controls and use the vehicle to explore the game world. These machines are equipped with flamethrowers, and while the range of these weapons are limited, they come in handy during combat situations. Vehicles can only sustain so much damage before exploding, so it’s safer to use their weapons from a distance.
Being attacked by your enemies is the least of your worries. A large variety of environmental disasters occur during most of the missions. These disasters range from poisonous gas to fighter jets bombing the environment. Even large, mutated plants will breech the surface and attack. It’s possible to survive these disasters (especially the poisonous gas) by reaching a location that is high above the play field. When the environment is bombed, debris and other hazardous material will explode, potentially injuring or even killing Jack. These attacks on the environment can also kill your adversaries, so they do serve another purpose.
Many elements have been borrowed from the game Madworld. For starters, the gameplay almost mirrors its black & white cousin on Nintendo Wii. Most of the objects from the environment can be used as either melee or projectile weapons. Explosive canisters can be used as projectiles and street signs make for great melee weapons. Even the slot machines that distribute power ups are present.
Skills unlock during single-player as you defeat your foes. Some skills, like Splinter, can only be used during training and multiplayer matches. Power ups include abilities like ‘Stealth’ which temporarily cloak your appearance. This ability gives you the advantage against strong opponents since you can sneak up behind them. It has a short duration, but if it’s used effectively, it can be deadly..
Anarchy Reigns’ single-player mode is fun to play, but the game really shines as a multiplayer excursion. With Ranked, Player and Private matches to choose from, the player can participate in co-op mash ‘em ups against CPU thugs or all-out deathmatches against human opponents. Additional characters unlock during online matches the longer you play. Additionally, boss characters that have been defeated in single-player mode become available in multiplayer.
Multiplayer also has eleven different game modes that include, but are not limited to – Battle Royale, Deathball and Survival. There’s even an option to choose your preferred region (i.e. North America, Europe, Asia and Japan). An online Leaderboard keeps track of world rankings for every game mode.
As far as beat ‘em ups are concerned, Anarchy Reigns is one of the best releases this year. It combines fluid controls, brutal fisticuff action, and great multiplayer gameplay into a violent, adrenaline-pumping fighter that keeps you at the edge of your seat. And what it lacks in story it makes up for in action. Gamers everywhere owe it to themselves to experience this gritty, but very unique fighter.
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: PlatniumGames Inc.
Publisher: Sega of America
ESRB: M (Mature)
|Incredible 3D graphics and special effects.|
|A rockin' soundtrack and great voice acting enhance the experience.|
|A comprehensive story mode, solid multiplayer options, and plenty of unlockables prevent the game from going stale.|
|Brutal and violent, Anarchy Reigns is the beat 'em up we have all been waiting for.|