Anarchy Reigns Preview - First Impressions

We take a first look at Platinum Games' chaotic multiplayer brawler.

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As the Anarchy Reigns demonstration wraps up, producer Atsushi Inaba addresses the problem of assimilating what we've just seen: "There was so much going on and there's no way we can explain every single thing that happened here." He's not wrong. Our first look at the game, variously described as an online action combat game and a third-person multiplayer brawler, was a violent whirlwind of leggy cyborgs, berserker mutants, tsunamis, black holes, and carpet bombing in the ruins of a postapocalyptic city. And though we say "post"-apocalyptic, it's not clear if the city was ruined before or while the game's freak-show cast set about each other with chainsaw arms and spiked maces, dodging smartbombs and collapsing bridges and giant saw blades as they went. The presentation is light on the game's fiction. What little is said about the game's single-player story mode amounts to: "It has one." The focus is unambiguously online multiplayer action.

That online multiplayer action has groups of players clobbering each other across large stages while natural and unnatural disasters wreak havoc around them. It's "basically a fighting game," says Inaba-san, "but with not only a couple of characters fighting each other." The roster of fighters revealed so far is a motley cyborg crew, each more or less human according to how much nanotech-enabled body modification they have undergone: cybernetic bovine Bull, ninja-like Zero, MadWorld's Jack Cayman, and frosty femme Sasha, with two more MadWorld cameos (pimp caricature The Black Baron and Mathilda of the nipple spikes) unveiled for this demonstration.

Inaba-san promises "unique moves and fighting styles" in combat, which combines hand-to-hand and melee weapons. In the game's deathmatch mode, Battle Royal, eight players had at it on a wrecked urban battleground. MadWorld's Jack smashed pavements with a high-diving attack, hurled cars, and cleft opponents in two with his chainsaw arm. Mathilda mixed slapping and throwing attacks with blows from her huge spiked mace, the Iron Maiden. In rage mode, signalled by a flaming aura, ice queen Sasha pummelled foes with a super-fast, button-hammering lightning kick. The up-close multiplayer combat meant opportunities for players to gang up against an opponent--or to take advantage by picking on someone already locked in battle with another player. In Inaba-san's words, fighters "can cooperate with each other and supplement their weaknesses with someone else." Within the deathmatch mode, two players can also be pulled via an item pickup into a "duel to the death mode": an instant one-on-one cage fight.

Anarchy in the u-KO.

On top of the fluid alliances of multiplayer brawling, the game adds a second layer of chaos with environmental hazards. These include computer-controlled enemies, such as scaly berserker mutants, but also, more notably, "action trigger events": large-scale catastrophes that tear through the battlefield's broken streets, disrupting fights and damaging players who don't get clear in time. These ATEs included surging walls of water, a collapsing bridge, a black hole vortex, and a rain of smartbombs, each announced moments before hitting. Inaba-san sees these regular disasters as a kind of equaliser--an element of chaos to make things interesting and keep less-skilled players from being consistently, frustratingly trounced. ATEs "can change a situation completely," he says. "A pinch can turn into a good opportunity."

In contrast to the free-for-all of the deathmatch mode, Anarchy Reigns serves up a cooperative survival variation, like Gears of War's Horde or Halo's Firefight mode. In this, we saw the three MadWorld escapees team up against waves of tougher enemies: thugs in masks with flaming torches, mutants with concrete block clubs, and armoured soldiers with laser-sighted guns. Being on the same side paved the way for more strategic combat; Jack and the Black Baron (now "the Blacker Baron," apparently) joined forces to freeze and strike a mutant enemy, with an electric stun from the Baron and the classic vertical bisection from Jack's chainsaw appendage.

Word to your moms, they came to drop bombs.

As a first foray into online multiplayer for Platinum Games, Anarchy Reigns is a bold one. Platinum's four Sega-published titles (MadWorld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta, and Vanquish) were decidedly offline, single-player affairs. That makes the game a challenge for the studio, admits Inaba-san, but worthwhile; though third-person, multiplayer action combat doesn't seem like such an exotic proposition, there's nothing like Anarchy Reigns already out there. "Usually it's only shooting games," he says, referring to the lack of third-person, multiplayer brawling. The immediacy and intimacy of punching someone in the head rather than shooting him from a distance is something Platinum wanted to pursue.

"We wanted to do something different," says Inaba. And Anarchy Reigns is nothing if not different: an online mishmash of cyborg gladiators; frantic, free-for-all battles; computer-controlled enemies; and spectacular disruptive events. Though combat didn't seem to use quite the same graceful, elaborate combos as Bayonetta, for instance, it'll take a hands-on demonstration to tell how skilful and technical the fighting gets. A glimpse of the control scheme, at least, showed strong, weak, and special attacks, a weapon attack, and a taunt move--we're looking forward to trying it out for ourselves.

Discussion

74 comments
beastwithin
beastwithin

@hwrdstrnsbals Yes, your right in saying that it is extremely popular. Hell, if i didnt have to pay for it I would use it. But I aint paying for something like that that is mainly used to talk to friends and play games, both of which I can do on a PC. You say that they dont have to waste resources and creativity on single player yet they still put them on games like COD. You just contradicted yourself. Although, I'm sticking with what I've said about gaming companies showing very little if any interest in people such as myself who dont want nor need online gaming because if gaming companies actually worked harder and made games like COD for example, they could have the online aspect of it where its effectively a free-for-all but also use their imaginations and come up with a fair storyline, enough action to satisfy even the hard to please to make it an ALL round good game. I feel that you have to have online gaming as oppose to it being a choice.

hwrdstrnsbals
hwrdstrnsbals

@beastwithin Online gaming is extremely popular. I for one like the fact that developers make online only games. It just means they don't have to waste resources and creativity on single player. campaigns. You'd probably be surprised to know how many Call of Duty and Battlefield players have never even touched the single player side of the game.

beastwithin
beastwithin

What's this game doing for people who aren't online? Many games get made with no or very little consideration for people who aren't online, I think this is one of those games; shame, I really like the look of it as well :(

ParisSun
ParisSun

Sorry, just can't buy a game that looks like this.

Kendojin
Kendojin

I'm glad to see a different type of online game, I may like shooters but god there's just too many coming out now. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out considering this is their first time making an online title, but I think Platinum will deliver.

valengar
valengar

Little rough around the edges isn't it? I saw a fair amount of clipping when they were talking about the single player.

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

this game sounds fun and different! looking forward to at least trying it out.

Freethinker101
Freethinker101

@trywizard The bad port for PS3 of Bayonetta was sorted by an update, and an ability in to do a data install. After that most if not all of the PS3 problems were sorted! In addition the Bayonetta creator said he is only interested in creating new IP's. So Bayonetta 2 if it ever happens will not have his guiding hand, and may end up being Pants!!!!!

savagehulk
savagehulk

This game gets me more and more excited the more i hear about it. Can't wait for this one a Brawler with an Online mode sounds like lots of fun.

Smittius
Smittius

@trywizard What's God of War like on the Xbox? Right.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

Jack AND The Black baron? ill be honest, i kinda want to see this.

BFKZ
BFKZ

the hell is this crap?

Rovelius
Rovelius

@Freethinker101 Yep. Didn't bother explaining further tho since it wasn't necessary to make my point. Sure, Sega handled the port, but in the end they're not the ones who created the game itself. That is why metalkid9 is wrong when he says "Since they are all published by Sega I can refer to them as Sega games." It's giving credit/blame where it's not due.

jmr1986
jmr1986

@trywizard The DMC franchise doesn't belong to Platinium Games, it's a Capcom game.

trywizard
trywizard

we want DMC 5 not a DMC reboot and bayonetta 2 the first one is hell "for da XBOX not da PS" so yeah give them to us "thx god that ninja gaiden 3 will be released soon"

Thehobb
Thehobb

this looks cool and entertaining :)

Freethinker101
Freethinker101

@Rovelius. Quote: publishers PUBLISH (print copies and ship them to the shelves.) I think this is very simplified account of what publishers do. As well as this they handle marketing, PR and give money to the creatives so they can develop the game. In addition Sega was responsible for the terrible PS3 port of Bayonetta, and is a game developer as well as publisher. I think the relationship is similar to how it works in the record industry with the publisher underwriting the cost of the development and reaping the rewards when the game sells well. This is very much the case with Platinum as they had a 5 game deal, the last one being Vanquish, and that deal has now been extended. Although Platinum has lost a few of it's creatives recently and we may see their standards slip. My opinion of this game is it could be loads of fun, but with the emphasis on multi-player it only works if lot's of people buy and play it.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Looks like Dynasty and State of Emergency had a baby. Random.

supertrooper23
supertrooper23

looks terrible guys.. cmon surely most people can see how bad the game looks.. like ur faces.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

well let me first say thank you gods of japan a game i can play with buds thats not a dumb fps ty ty ty game looks kick ass only bad part i saw was the dumb rap playing

ansef1x
ansef1x

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLZ MADWORLD 2 PLZ PEOPLE MAD WORLD 2

dragon_king64
dragon_king64

It looks alright. But, I was hoping for a Madworld 2 instead. I prefered the over the top violence and the awesome gameplay like the first one had. Oh well.

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

Ah, Platinum Games - what ever you do will never disappoint us.

Acid_Kenobi
Acid_Kenobi

Wow, none of that sounded new lol, Although it might drag some younger people into the genre who missed smash bro's or power stone, can't be a bad thing :)

game-spy
game-spy

another fun game hope that this game is good.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Anarchy Reigns still sounds a lot like Power Stone to me. This could be good--it's not going to be some "skillful and technical" fighting game like GameSpot apparently wants it to be, but it should provide some fast-paced fun.

Elann2008
Elann2008

Another over-the-top Japanese developed game that refuses to evolve with the gaming industry. All I see from this is a modern day game, with modern day graphics, without all the modern day advancement in gameplay and gameplay mechanics. At least Bayonetta and Vanquish were "new" and fun to play. This screams cheesy and puke in the passenger seat, total crap.

metalkid9
metalkid9

@Rovelius, I never said Sega developed the game. I simply specified Sega games that try to appeal to the westerners. Since they are all published by Sega I can refer to them as Sega games.

tsukikage123456
tsukikage123456

I want to hear how these worlds collide in single player mode. Hope there is a zombie world where all the old bosses come back from the grave

ziproy
ziproy

This sounds a alot like super smash bros. I hope you can get some local play, you can connect four controllers for a reason you know

Rovelius
Rovelius

@metalkid9 What's up with you people mixing up devs and publishers constantly -_- Is the concept too complex to comprehend? Devs DEVELOP (create, craft, imagine games), publishers PUBLISH (print copies and ship them to the shelves.) Sega had nothing to do with Bayo, Vanquish or Anarchy.

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Hopefully this will work out well. Bayonetta and Vanquish are great games that were overlooked many.

Da4biddenOne
Da4biddenOne

Platinum Games are at it again. Im looking forward to seeing how this game comes out.

Crazyguy105
Crazyguy105

Looking forward to this quite a lot. Platinum is an amazing developer who earns points just for creating new and unique games. If they can keep the gameplay fun and balanced at the same time, I think we have a winner on our hands.

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

This seems pretty brilliant. If multiplayer is anything like Smash Bros in a city I'm in

Scynt
Scynt

I'll most likely buy... But the blood color really needs to change to red.

DEATH775
DEATH775

Bayonetta and Vanquish was a blast. I'm sure that Platinum game is going to make this one a win too.

normpap
normpap

I wanna customize my characters.....

Antillio
Antillio

100% buy why? Platinum games delivers with 3rd person action games!!

elbert_b_23
elbert_b_23

i guess every company needs a bad game now and then

megakick
megakick

about time a company made sumthing other then a multi-player shooter.