Up Up Down Down: Anarchy Reigns
Anarchy Reigns is very likely to be one of the sleeper hits of 2013. Well, at least in North America — the game launched in Japan last year. What makes this game so awesome is how it's almost like watching an anime. It's wild, it's hilarious, and it's absolutely ridiculous. If that's your thing, you're bound to get a kick out of not only the single-player campaign, but the action in general.
On this installment of Up Up Down Down, we're going to venture forth into the weird land of pimps and geisha girls, where beating the crap out of each other is the only option.
Up Up: Sweet beat 'em up action
The brawling mechanics in Anarchy Reigns are fast-paced, hectic, and satisfying. This game is quick to toss you into levels where a whole group of characters are just beating the ever-loving life out of one another. Basic attacks are easy to pull off, and stronger special moves offer up animations that are usually hilarious to witness. Seeing characters deliver seemingly countless punches and kicks to each other in rapid succession is pretty dumb, but hey, that's not exactly a bad thing when it's so much fun to both watch and do.
Down Down: Not exactly deep
Cool moves and intuitive mechanics notwithstanding, it's impossible to deny that Anarchy Reigns isn't all that deep. You could argue that maybe beat 'em ups don't really need to be overly complex, but even Bayonetta, which was also developed by Platinum Games, added a few wrinkles and nuances to its formula. You're bound to have loads of fun playing Anarchy Reigns, but you may also get burnt out once you really start investing some serious hours into the game.
Up Up: Online multiplayer can be fun
When you think about beat 'em ups, you probably don't associate online multiplayer with the genre. Anarchy Reigns does away with that stigma by offering a fully-featured online component. You've got standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch variants along with Capture the Flag. There's also a beat 'em up version of soccer called Death Ball, and even a Cage Match option for good measure. When shit gets real, you can only settle your differences in a cage.
Down Down: Online component is hardly without flaws
Playing Anarchy Reigns online can be fun, but it can also be an exercise in frustration. Connecting to games is frequently a hassle, and sometimes you'll even experience weird pauses in the action while the game tries to connect to a new server ... mid-match! In addition, there are various glitches that longtime players have been known to take full advantage of, making the Anarchy Reigns online battleground a less-than-friendly place for newcomers.
Up Up: Awesome soundtrack
Don't get me wrong, Anarchy Reigns is a ton of fun, but even more entertaining than its actual gameplay is the weird and catchy soundtrack, which consists of off-kilter hip hop anthems that fit this highly Japanese action game quite well. Songs like “Over in a Flash” and “Testin' Me” are among the highlights, but there are many more that really stand out. Hell, even Dilated Peoples got in on the whole thing by providing an original theme. Do I even have to stress how kick-ass that is?
Down Down: Story mode is over way too soon
You could potentially get to the end of the campaign in three to four hours. No matter how you look at it, that's ludicrously short. Hell, even for a beat 'em up lacking in depth, the completion time is just way too short. There are two main characters to play as, but once you've played through the story-based mode once, you're not likely to want to go through it again. At a minimum, a six-hour campaign would've been a bit better.
Up Up: Hilariously ridiculous
Thankfully, even though it's over nearly as soon as it begins, Anarchy Reigns is wholly entertaining throughout. The action is just totally in your face, and it's so stupid that it's bound to put countless smiles on your mug and make you chuckle, if not burst out laughing. There are also some great characters, but the Blacker Baron is easily the most hilarious. Sure, he's kind of stereotypical, but even then, he'll end up doing or saying something weird that makes you say, “WTF?!”
Down Down: What the hell is this game about again?
There's a difference between ridiculous and nonsensical. When Anarchy Reigns is being dumb, you'll really enjoy it. When it's being convoluted, you're bound to scratch your head and wonder what exactly is going on. If you're not confused, you really won't care, which is equally problematic. You'll be better off if you don't take the campaign too seriously. A few of the characters take an overly solemn approach, but there's no reason for you to do the same. Just trust me on this one.
Left Right Left Right: Oh, Anarchy Reigns, you so crazy!
As someone who greatly enjoys absurdity in video games, it's impossible for me to tell you not to play Anarchy Reigns. If craziness isn't your thing, just stay away. If you do like stupidly awesome action titles that are gushing with over-the-top themes, characters, and action, you should make it a point to play Anarchy Reigns in your lifetime, especially considering the fact that it's only 20 bucks.
Load up the game, don't take it at all seriously, and just just have some good fun with it.
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