Anarchy Reigns is a spiritual successor to Platinum Game's Mad World. While both games share many of the same characters, the two games do not take place in the same world. Additionally, this beat-'em-up comes in brand-new full color. For our hands-on we played two rounds of the multiplayer versus mode and brawled against three other eager beavers. The playable roster included Mad World's protagonist Jack, along with main foe Leo. We decided for our first match to take a spin with Zero, a speedy ninja with dual blades.
The start of the match placed us close to one of our competing duelists. We quickly slammed this foe with an assault of quick jabs and a few slashes of our katanas. Drawing your weapon should be used strategically, though, because it can break once its durability meter empties. Soon enough the other two players joined in our scuffle and turned the mess into a fearsome foursome. In the crazed melee, blocking and grappling became heated tactics to avoid strikes.
As we explored the battlefield, we found items and power-ups that gave us abilities, such as an energy shield to absorb blows. As we scored more hits, our rage meter built and let us release an extra boost of damage. This massive power combined with Zero's speed proved to be a deadly combination. We reached the top of the scoreboard, so high that a bonus round was initiated. At what should have been the end of the match, an extra 15 seconds were added to the clock to let the other players catch up--or let us dish out more humiliation.
The speed demon proved to be a good choice, but variety is the spice of life. For the next round we picked Big Bull, a large cybird from Mad World. This choice wasn't for the better. The slow, lumbering robot took quite some time to execute his moves, and the damage output didn't seem to compensate. When going into rage mode, it appeared that the droid was taking more than he could dish out. Even his powerful sledgehammer didn't outweigh how easily it broke after only three or four strikes. On the plus side, Big Bull could throw two enemies at once, causing good crowd control against the enemies. Using the brute, we came home with only a bronze.
We hope to try out all of the characters and the single-player mode when Anarchy Reigns arrives in January 2012.