Anarchy Reigns starts with one of the worst story introductions in the history of gaming. A wall of text scrolls down the screen absent of music or movement. In the background is possibly the ugliest picture of a war-torn landscape that ever existed. Don’t be misled, this title does feature a full-fledged story mode with voice over to back it up. Anarchy Reigns features two sides of an overarching storyline… the Black Side follows our anti-hero, Jack Cayman. Jack may be instantly familiar to those that have played the title “Mad World” on the Nintendo Wii.
On the opposite side of the light spectrum is, Leonhardt or Leo for short. Jack is a Bounty Hunter looking for the man who was involved with the shooting of someone important in his life. Leo is a Sweeper who works for the police looking for traitors. We are witnesses to a story that is a mix of comedic foolishness spliced with drama. The story in Anarchy Reigns isn’t all that cohesive, but from what I can tell… that’s the point. The tale is told through CG cutscenes that display hulking metal wearing dudes often having a stupid conversation that leads to a fight. Otherwise, we’ll see some dramatic back story about how Jack or Leo became involved in this Maximillian chase.
Get your fists ready to pound the faces of mutants and robots alike. Anarchy Reigns bears very little resemblance to Mad World itself. The title shares more of a similarity with a free roam version of Dynasty Warriors. It is more like a “Super” version of that series, with a lot more going on and a more detailed animation system. Players can attack with Normal and Hard attacks at any time, but also have the choice to switch to their “special” weapon. Items ranging from an incendiary grenade to a rifle will also drop from time to time. Consistently cracking your feet into the asses of your opponents will build up a rampage meter. Players can use the L3 and R3 buttons to activate Dragonball Z mode and barraging their opponents with unlimited specials and punches.
Anarchy Reigns is kind of… sort of… an open world title. Jack and Leo can run around various stages at will. They can run freely across any of the levels beating the pulp out of waves of enemies, or take on the six different missions in each respective location. Free missions are the side-missions of the game; players take on various missions like beating up a certain number of bad dudes or a gigantic monster. While the main missions focus on advancing the storyline and structured gameplay sections.
The monotony of beating down opponents is broken up by varied gameplay styles throughout the story. Throw exploding barrels at gigantic monsters, protect bar bots, and fight off stereotypical muscle bound pimps. This formula keeps the straightforward combat system from becoming boring too fast. Now I would speak about the multiplayer section of the game, but I couldn’t even get into one game. I was told that the lobby was full, or that matchmaking failed and I just gave up after 30 minutes of trying.
Dark and gritty landscapes and a post-apocalyptic atmosphere rule Anarchy Reigns. I’m a little upset that the comic book style black and white of Mad World didn’t make it into AR. It does have its own flair and while a bit muddy for my tastes; the over-the-top action dominates the screen without shedding a frame as a result. The hulking anime characters are believably cemented in the world, with detailed cybernetic parts and unflinching emotional states. The soundtrack surges with independent hip-hop artists and orchestral tracks for cinematic flair. The conversation sections lack any sort of lip-sync, with the title often coming off as an old skull Kung-Fu film.
At a resounding thirty dollars, Anarchy Reigns is an impressive beat-em up. Even without the opportunity to play the multi-player, the gameplay is good for random spurts of enjoyment. If you want a less restrictive version of the “Wall of Enemies” formula, you can’t go wrong when it comes to Anarchy Reigns. Anarchy Reigns is the perfect budget title, it offers a wide assortment of modes and some intense graphical prowess for a low price. It’s not a game for everyone, but it is a fun title for those that like to beat the living hell out of something for an hour. Anarchy Reigns receives a B from Half-Ass Gaming. It’s no Mad World in beauty or control, but it captures the spirit of the world effectively enough.