Originally I wanted to write this blog as a lead up to a game I've been looking forward to coming out in July. Anarchy Reigns from your friends and mine at Platinum Games has really caught my attention for a number of reasons. I would be lying if the original appeal had nothing to do with MadWorld that came out on the Wii. I've written a bit about that game before, but long story short, I liked it. The game wasn't perfect or anything, but it had a lot of entertaining quirks, a great voice cast, and an even better soundtrack. Not to mention the insane joy of Bayonetta from the same developer promised they would keep up the great work with Anarchy Reigns.
But as of 5-25-12, it's officially TBA for North America and Europe. It's still scheduled to release in Japan early July... but that doesn't help me any. So now I'm just going to use this post to talk about it and somehow take the edge off the indeterminate wait.
Anarchy Reigns (I'm Cautiously Optimistic)
Much like Matt Rorie's attitude toward movies, I never play a video game wanting to hate it. It would be better if everything was awesome so fun was easy to come by. But I really have no idea how well Anarchy Reigns is going to turn out. It certainly sounds good on paper. Most things do. From the multitude of YouTube videos I've watched, it seems like a cross between a fighting game and a beat em' up, with a little arena combat to make full use of pick ups and environmental hazards. One possible move involves hanging from the bottom of an attack helicopter and redirecting its missiles and nose gun to shoot enemies stuck on the ground. If a match takes long enough, they have critical threats appear in the form of submarine missile strikes, rampaging big rigs, monsters, and more to up the ante. Comparisons to Power Stone and jokes about a Platinum Games Smash Bros. game have already been made.
How it Plays (I Guess)
The most telling thing (to me, at least) about how this game plays is a few scattered videos of a training room where you can practice character specific combos like a fighting game. Bayonetta had something like this in the form of a loading screen where you had the option to press select and hang out to play with different weapon combinations. So far, the combos just seem to be button combinations. No quarter circles or stick movement. On top of that are the character specific "killer weapons" that do serious damage for a short amount of time and recharges through damage inflicted and received. Naturally these work into combos. It doesn't seem like a basic button masher a beat em' up format would suggest. This I can wrap my head around.
What I'm not sure is how it's going to work when you're running around a 3D plane and have to target specific enemies or opposing players. I hope it's a happy middle between MadWorld (the game's primary inspiration) and the tight controls of Bayonetta. I'm not big into multiplayer, but I can't fathom how they're going to pull off an eight player free-for-all and make it feel good. They do have other game modes in the form of the usual suspects, including a football (soccer) looking game, class based team battle, and capture the flag. Personally, I'm more interested in the survival mode, which is basically horde mode with three players. Co-op is more my cup of tea. But my concerns still stand in that mode too. This is why I try to remain cautiously optimistic.
An Interesting Crew of Killers
On a more positive note, the biggest thing going for Anarchy Reigns for me is the delightfully crazy cast that make up the sixteen (plus Bayonetta as DLC) playable psychopaths. The character reveals didn't really pick up until they introduced a man with a revolver in his cybernetic right leg who fired it when he kicked and kneed people. That's not to sell Jack Cayman, Black Baron and Mathilda short as returning familiar faces from MadWorld... but it only got better from there, so I'll make a quick list of my favorites.
I love the concept of this guy. Durga here has a giant revolver built into his cybernetic right leg. All of his voice acting so far makes him sound totally unhinged. It seems obvious they tried to take Adon's Jaguar Revolver and make it as literal as possible. He attacks with his legs exclusively, which makes it easy to work in his cannon when he kicks people.
Of course, it's a lot more fun to see him in motion.
Possibly to make up for the blatant tiger theme of Durga, they have the animal hodgepodge of Edgar Oinkie. As a... human... he wears a pig mask and makes light of his weight and size with karate moves and Sonic the Hedgehog style spin attacks. His killer weapon isn't so much a weapon, but a green drug that turns him into a lizard-ish mutant in a way that would make Bane proud in order to do some Fist of the North Star business. Did you get all that?
Considering Platinum has released a trailer for every character, I can't help but post a link to Edgar's, here.
Something you might not know about me, is that I rather enjoy the time honored trend of making characters that blatantly reference Bruce Lee in video games. Ai Rin covers that base with electrified nunchaku and a great idle animation where she never keeps her feet still. Not to mention she makes plenty of appropriate noises when swinging her weapon around. She gets by in style in an outfit resembling Lee's Game of Death suit.
If you like funny Bruce Lee noises and lots of flashy movement, here's Ai Rin's intro video.
The most obvious thing about Garuda is that he's a transforming jet robot. That automatically earns him a Starscream reference, if not Optimus Prime for his blue color scheme. But I like his design, not to mention his killer weapons are a mean pair of drills. Another thing is that he can throw two characters at the same time, due to his size. I don't know many games where characters have the ability to throw two people at once. That's pretty awesome.
Get your transforming jet, drills, and double-character throwing action here.
So Mathilda is actually a returning character from MadWorld. You may or may not remember her as the silent woman who demonstrated all the Bloodbath Challenges by killing the Black Baron in the process. Her role in Anarchy Reigns hasn't dulled her fondness for pain and spiked bats. It's great to have an opportunity to play as the woman behind the man. I find it surprising.
Her video has been out for a long time, but I'll link it here anyway just to be consistent.
I could probably list more, but I'll stop here and just say that there are more crazy characters. I can only hope they'll all be fun to play.
Tracks that Kill
If you haven't played MadWorld, the majority of the soundtrack (or all of it, I guess) was rap tailor made to address the characters and basic set up of the game. Anarchy Reigns continues the trend, and I couldn't be more excited. Even if the game somehow turns out to be total garbage, I can take solace that the soundtrack will turn out solid. I'm no connoisseur of rap or hip-hop. Most of my exposure is from the mainstream and a dash of lesser known stuff due to my roommates in college. But for the game and the style, there's really no better choice of genre. Most of rap nowadays is aggressive by nature, banking on rivalries and talking shit as part of the material. Is there any better music for a man driving a double chainsaw down someone's throat?
Still, I know how subjective music can be. If you really hate this kind of stuff or quality, I can understand that.
The official site for Platinum Games have released a few preview tracks that I wanted to share. And I don't mean to imply that I love all of it, but I do have my favorites.
This is Madness: - A more low key track compared to the others, but still nice.
Testin' Me:- First heard in Leo's introduction trailer, it caught my attention immediately. I can't wait to hear the full version.
Play For Keeps:- A damn catchy song with some pretty good rhymes. Very upbeat for talking about winning at all costs.
Days of Old: - A full version of the Black Baron's theme. I love all the horns in the chorus.
Unknown Track: - This is a trailer for the various battle modes, but the song in the background is awesome. It might be the full version, but I'm not sure. I still felt like sharing it.
Hurry Up and Wait
So until Anarchy Reigns gets released, those are a few reasons why I'm still looking forward to it. I hope everything works out well. I hope it's fun. I would love to play as a man with a revolver in his mechanical leg and remember it fondly. Not sure how the story will work out, but I bet it will be deadly serious contrasted by the insanity of everything that happens during gameplay. And if I had to sell it to you... Bayonetta is going to be in it. That's pretty cool, right?