Developer: Platinum Games
Genre: Massive online battle arena/Fighting game
Price: Rs. 1499 for Xbox 360
(Also available for Playstation 3)
Platinum Games is a fun developer. Not because it just does whatever it wants or because such efforts are always a blast to play, but because there’s a freshness to everything new. Even when it announces sequels to key franchises like Bayonetta, you still get the feeling deep down that it won’t be anything like the previous outing. However, as many fans as Platinum has, it carries its fair share of detractors who criticize its titles for being flashier rip-offs of more solid titles. Anarchy Reigns, an open arena fighting game, might be the great meeting ground that fans and haters have been waiting for – not completely despicable but still quite tough to love.
Unlike previous titles, Anarchy Reigns is best enjoyed in multiplayer. A single-player mode does exist, following the exploits of MadWorld characters Jack and Leo, but it consists of mindlessly fighting the same enemies again and again. Multiplayer, on the other hand, plants you firmly in an arena with 15 other players in a variety of hilarious and frustrating scenarios. You could be idly murdering an opponent one minute when a giant robot suddenly arrives and incinerates anyone unlucky enough to be in range. The environment is your enemy is much as your battleground, and the action stays fast and furious.
Despite all 18 characters (with Bayonetta being a pre-order bonus) playing more or less, the fighting system is quite nuanced and incorporates all manner of technicalities like throws and reversals while incorporating special attacks and combos. However, the lock-on mechanics and camera system are highly erratic, making each battle a test of patience. Imagine trying to successfully fend off 15 other players with such a setup – and pray you’re not backed up into a corner. At least the multiplayer modes are worth it, with Capture the Flag tasking you with alternating defence and offense to capture your opponent’s flag while Deathball plays like a roiled up version of Rugby.
Anarchy Reigns is fun, at its core, but is marred by basic flaws that could have truly made it great. The fan service alone would have been enough to improve the experience, but only two familiar faces duke it out. What could have been Platinum’s take on Super Smash Bros ends up as an enormous clusterfrak of alternatively endearing and annoying gameplay scenarios. But if you find fighting game order to be over-rated, then let anarchy reign.