Demo Impressions

#1 Posted by jewunit (1091 posts) -

As Sarumarine noted in his blog, Platinum Games has pushed back the global release of Anarchy Reigns. However, Platinum Games also mentioned that a demo for the game was available on PSN in Japan and encouraged people to download it. Not being one to argue, I slapped together a Japanese account and downloaded the demo yesterday.

The demo consists of a tutorial mode, a story mode, and online multiplayer. The tutorial does a pretty good job of orienting you to the game mechanics. The story mode consisted of only three missions, but it is pretty obvious how this mode will flow in the final game. You choose between the Black or White side and either beat up hordes of smaller enemies or face one strong enemy. The singular strong enemies will likely be all of the characters that you can play in the online multiplayer. The interstitial scenes between missions range from "talking heads" dialogue to full-on, crazy cutscenes. This mode seems like fun, but it seems structured to prepare you for the online experience.

Before each match, you choose your character (I tended to go with the Baron) and, for the four-on-four matches, an ability. Other items are available within each match type and are indicated clearly. You can also pick up a number of background weapons like tires, sign posts, and cars. You can use them as melee weapons or throw them to incapacitate or knock back an opponent. The basic combat consists of two attack buttons, a grab button, a block button that can also be used to dodge, and a power-up button (i.e.- use Jack's saw, Baron's fire fists, etc.). You can power up further by pressing down the two sticks at certain times. The camera controls are generally pretty good with some soft lock-on options and the ability to re-center the camera by pushing down the right stick. However, it is really hard to see the action when you grab a tire or car. Those weapons become slightly transparent when you pick them up, but it doesn't make viewing the action much easier. It was also hard to tell where the weapons will go when thrown. These difficulties may just be part of the balance for the weapons, but I found it frustrating on occasion. My other big combat issue had to do with grabbing people online. The hit detection on the grabs seemed very squirrelly, especially if the person you meant to grab had a poor connection speed. The animation for the throws could also not be interrupted, which meant that a person being assaulted by three opponents could grab at one and stall for time until someone else arrives. It didn't become an issue when I played though and it was more of an annoyance than some dire error.

The online multiplayer has two different options: four-player death match and four-on-four team death match. The four-player death match takes place in much closer quarters than the four-on-four battles and doesn't involve randomly-generated events. The result is that you get back into the action much quicker, but the environment you play in is far less interesting. The real fun, and the reason I will be going back to the demo, is in the four-on-four battle.

Only one arena is available for the four-on-four matches, but it is large and made of a number of different tiers on which to battle. In addition to roughhousing in this large playfield, random events will occur that interrupt play. The events ranged from air strikes, a rampaging truck crashing through the field, or the introduction of a giant robot boss named Cthulu. It did not seem possible to damage Cthulu, so defeating it might require leveling up or some other strategy. Sometimes, these events come with a cutscene that interrupts play. I got frustrated a bit by the abrupt return to play as I would have to reorient myself and was open to attack at that time.

Generally though, the atmosphere of team death match was chaotic joy. The feeling of mobbing together and double- or triple-teaming an opponent feels great, but so does hunting around and picking fights. Make no mistake though, if you meet three opponents and you have no back-up, you are going to be gutted. You have the option of springing a knock-back attack on them at the cost of a little life, but it won't do much damage and is mainly useful for getaways and "resetting" a fight when something goes bad. The game seems fair about attack priority other than the grab issue that I previously mentioned. It can be a little hard to tell whether your opponent is being hit, is blocking, or starting the animation for a knockback move. I imagine that understanding will come with playing the game for longer stretches. It would be nice to test this stuff in a training mode, but I don't know if such a thing will be added. Some videos on Platinum Games' Youtube indicate it may.

Overall, I enjoyed the general presentation of the game and its various modes. The demo did exactly what it was supposed to: it made me excited to play the final game. I hope a final release date is announced soon or I might be making a trip to Ami Ami.

#2 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1872 posts) -

will they release the demo in america :[?

#3 Posted by jewunit (1091 posts) -

@connerthekewlkid said:

will they release the demo in america :[?

I am sure they will at some point, but they are probably working toward the Japanese release in July and concentrating on the global release later. I imagine a U.S. demo date will be revealed once the global release date is decided.

#4 Posted by Dawglet (316 posts) -

I think I'm going to import this since they're not giving any solid release date and the Japan release is just a month off.

The demo is hella dope though, that team death match mode is nuts.

#5 Posted by Redbullet685 (6184 posts) -

I also just slapped together a Japanese account. In the process of downloading it now.

#6 Posted by Demoskinos (16183 posts) -

Is it in english at all or is all the text Japanese?

#7 Posted by jewunit (1091 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

Is it in english at all or is all the text Japanese?

The select screen is in English. The rest is in Japanese. I could not tell what the abilities in the four-on-four matches did. I was able to guess my way through the tutorial just fine though.

#8 Edited by drac96 (745 posts) -

@jewunit: You can change all of the text and voices to English. I think it's the 5th choice in options.The final version of the Japanese game can be played in all English as well

Pepsiman kindly posted a picture in the blog you mentioned in case you can't find it from my kind of lame instruction.

#9 Posted by jewunit (1091 posts) -

@drac96 said:

@jewunit: You can change all of the text and voices to English. I think it's the 5th choice in options.The final version of the Japanese game can be played in all English as well

Pepsiman kindly posted a picture in the blog you mentioned in case you can't find it from my kind of lame instruction.

Ah, thank you for the clarification! I will have to make that change the next time I am online.

#10 Posted by Sarumarine (2471 posts) -

I also downloaded the demo through some digital magic, a Japanese account, and some help from Pepsiman. So instead of making a whole other topic, I figured I'd post my thoughts in this one. But I agree with most of the original post.

If you've played MadWorld before, the general feeling of the game and the controls can be summed up as a more refined MadWorld with the benefit of two analogue sticks. This also goes for the story mode which feels very similar with a new setting and characters. I won't dwell on that too much, as I know very little about the plot and the two parts you can play don't explain a lot except that Jack and the Baron have history outside killing each other, and Durga is very, very crazy. There is a long text scroll in Japanese as you boot up the demo that probably explains the story and setting, but I haven't found a way to get back to that after you set things to English in settings. The world is a very messed up place in Anarchy Reigns, that I can be sure of.

The bulk of this game is no doubt going to be the multiplayer mode, and it's nice that they've done their best to live up to the name of anarchy. In either mode there is a lot going on besides the combat. The team play is the best example as the one map they included has a number of scripted events that may or may not trigger. I played a dozen or so games and it was never a replay of the last one. The craziest event was the appearance of a killer robot by the name of Cthulu that can mess shit up. He has a shield that soaks up an insane amount of punishment. I actually did damage him once (probably after the other players had fought with him for awhile) and it took off a tiny blip. The best course is to run away (assuming little spheres he launches don't select you and warp you back to him) and it probably takes a combined effort from both teams to destroy him- assuming that's possible at all.

Other than that they have a jet liner that suffers engine failure and crashes on a portion of the arena. Microwave arrays that fry anyone caught in the open. Poison gas that forces players to take higher ground on towering sky scrapers, rampaging semis, and one strange event that causes the city to split and shift down the middle to rearrange the terrain. Not to mention smaller events like attack helicopters, flamethrower enemies, mutant attacks, and more. A nice lady with a robotic voice will keep you up to date on everything that's happening assuming you're not distracted by enemy players or your untimely death.

As far as characters, surprisingly enough the big guys seem like the ones to look out for. I found that Garuda is a wrecking machine for the most part. He can grab and throw two characters at once (making it easy to cut and do damage in a free for all) and has some pretty good reach with his giant drills. I lost a lot of my games to a Garuda... but I was mostly playing the four player free-for-all mode. They also have bots in the game that are pretty cut throat. They know how to do everything, use items, etc. and they will cut you up if you let them.

The demo put to rest a lot of the confusion I had about the Anarchy Reigns and I'm really excited to get my hands on the full version... assuming it ever gets released outside Japan.

#11 Posted by jewunit (1091 posts) -

@Sarumarine: I did not realize that Cthulu could even be damaged. It seemed like a fool's errand to get anywhere near him. The microwave was the toughest of the other events to escape. You lose a lot of health if you don't find cover real fast. It keeps you on your toes for battle and for whatever may happen to the arena. I can see why this game has been compared to Power Stone.

As for the international release, I think Platinum Games still intends to release the game outside of Japan. The question for me is whether I want to wait until that later release date is decided and reached.

#12 Posted by Sarumarine (2471 posts) -

Yeah, but it was a small amount of damage. Not to mention he damn near killed me with a death ray shortly afterward. Cthulu is nothing to mess with.

#13 Posted by s810 (35 posts) -

@jewunit: Cthulhu can be damaged. He has some very tough shielding that are purple in color, the best way to break them are to get behind him and just wail on him, but don't dare trying to do this without your team mates. After the shields are broken, he can be damaged. I've only see a video where he was defeated by all four members of one team, with several of them using rampage mode.

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