Anarchy Reigns - Preview

Anarchy Reigns Preview for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at GAME

Anarchy in the UK

Mad. Crazy. Over-the-top. Wild. All these words have been used to describe a fair few video games recently, but never have they seemed more apt than with Anarchy Reigns. This brawler throws a bunch of PlatinumGames characters together with the loosest of story-telling reasons in order to get some of the maddest, craziest and wildest over-the-top fights seen in a long time.

Anarchy Reigns is already out in Japan, with the much-demanded 'western release' coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in January 2013. This week we were able to get our hands on the game for a few hours, trying out both the single-player campaign and the various multiplayer modes and seeing just how wild it could be.

Why Does It Always Reign On Me?

Campaign came first, as our way of finding our feet with the controls and the world of the game. The plot is quickly set-up - Jack Cayman, last seen in MadWorld, is simply trying to drink quietly in a bar when obvious bad guy Nikolai and his agents turn up to cause trouble. Jack steps in to do the right thing, and... you're off! You can choose to play as the Black Side (Jack) or White Side (rival character Leo), with each offering different cut scenes, objectives and bosses to fight, but the gameplay is much the same - brawl your way through hordes of bizarre-looking enemies, most of whom explode into splotches of blue blood when you kill them.

Anarchy Reigns Preview for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at GAME

Different missions will crop up as you're fighting your way around. Free missions, which are almost like tutorials with a purpose, can be re-played to increase your skills and earn XP, while the main missions push the stories forward and see you take on - and unlock - boss characters for multiplayer. But whatever the objective, from killing 50 enemies in under five minutes or taking on a boss, the gameplay and tactics are very much the same - brawl your way through!

The controls are easy to learn, with strong and normal attacks and a grab function which often results in some sort of hardcore wrestling move. On top of these are your Killer Weapon moves where Jack will pull out a double chainsaw from his robot arm to give him that little bit extra when needed (Leo has a couple of charged positron blades). Like all fighting 'Special Moves', use of the Killer Weapon is limited so it's best to save it for multiple foes or the truly big bads.

The environments themselves are also a big part of the gameplay. Each location has all the nooks, crannies, and various levels that make running around them lots of fun, complete with dangers like quicksand or industrial smelting to avoid, and various items you can use in your attacks. Feel like mixing your style up a bit? Pick up an oil can, or crate, or forklift truck and attack with it. The game will mix things up for you as well, triggering Action Trigger Events - ATEs - which can include driving a truck into the battle (stay out the way), transporting everyone somewhere else with a Black Hole (you get used to it...), and more. All this serves to help keep things fresh, and keep you on your toes.

Anarchy Reigns Preview for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at GAME

It's Reign-ing Men. And Women. And Robots.

The 'practice' we got in the Campaign Mode was a good primer for the multiplayer, where all the controls, environmental mayhem and ATEs all carry through. On the competitive side, there's standard squad-based melees which we tried as four-on-four. Things got a bit more hectic in Capture The Flag with three teams of two all scrambling for said flag - which can also be used as a weapon. Teamwork came to the fore in Deathball (think indoor rugby, cranked up to 11), and grudges were made and settled in one-on-one cage fights. Pure co-op modes include Survival, where the enemy hordes just keep on coming (and where the ability to wield a forklift as a weapon comes in very handy).

Unlike the Campaign, multiplayer offers a much wider range of characters to play as, from slinky lady assassins, to cybernetically enhanced bounty hunters, to what can only be described as a transformer. This cast of characters is part Tekken, part Borderlands, and like the best fighting games, each has a different style and a different Killer Move, and you'll soon find one that suits you (and learn, to your cost, which ones don't!). Again, the better you do, the more XP you earn, the more you can unlock, with individual and team-based rewards coming from each mode. Online multiplayer supports up to 16 players, so the potential for really wild and scrambled combat is almost too much to think about!

All in all, Anarchy Reigns is, indeed, wild and crazy. The couple of hours playing was just a dip in the ocean of the mayhem that could ensue with the multiplayer, and the Campaign shows potential to be just as unpredictable. Everyone came out of the session grinning from ear to ear, and looking forward to grinning a lot more come January 11th.

SKU: Previews-196772
Release Date: 04/12/2012