Anarchy Reigns Preview
Platinum Games knows how to make action games. Their latest two titles, Vanquish and Bayonetta, proved the team’s capability beyond a shadow of a doubt. Now, ironically enough, they’re working on a multiplayer-charged action bash-fest entitled Anarchy Reigns, which features a singular style and design most reminiscent of MadWorld. I say “ironically” because neither Vanquish or Bayonetta featured any multiplayer option at all; now it seems the studio is performing an almost complete 180. But can they pull it off? Will the action aficionados settle into this new format with ease?
To start, we should probably clarify that Anarchy Reigns is in no way a sequel or spiritual successor to the aforementioned Wii game, MadWorld. It boasts a few of the same characters (like Baron, for instance), but the storyline and game type is very different. The game does offer a single-player option and there, the story is about the competition between the Black and White factions. Characters from each clan will do battle, which will consist of one controllable character and several AI fighters. One of the ways multiplayer becomes a focus is that when you defeat a boss in single-player mode, that victim becomes playable in multiplayer.
See, that’s incentive to play both modes in the game. Plus, it’d be a mistake to assume that all one does is mash buttons and engage in constant confrontations. Some missions will have different objectives, such as retrieving certain objects or exploring about on a map. But once again, things do sort of come back to the multiplayer angle: while the single-player mode always remains the same, you can only customize combat abilities in multiplayer. You will earn experience when fighting online, which can be used to unlock fresh skills, although you’ll only be able to equip one skill at any given time. You can even spot some semblance of shooter influence in the multiplayer, as kill streaks make you stronger and offers bigger rewards. It's good reason to perform well, obviously.
As for the controls, they seem pretty straightforward. You can alternate between normal and strong attacks, grab and toss opponents, and lock on with one of the shoulder buttons. You can also block, jump, and rip off special devastating moves with a character’s weapon by hitting L2. The key is to balance your attacks and become a skilled, effective fighter, capable of surviving for long periods of time. Lastly, all of this will be taking place in quite an intriguing setting and atmosphere; for example, the soundtrack will be handled by those who contributed to the Madworld music. So yeah, some rap and hip-hop will be included, which isn’t common.
Anarchy Reigns is set to arrive in January, so it’ll miss the crazy holiday rush. And given Platinum’s success with action games in the past, we strongly expect a winner.
6/23/2011 Ben Dutka