Exaggerated character design. Hilariously terrible dialogue. Mind-numbing button mashing. Anarchy Reigns had it all, and I enjoyed every bit of it! Developed by PlatinumGames, and published by Sega, Anarchy Reigns was released in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For my Anarchy Reigns review, I chose the PS3 version. The game is very rough around the edges, but once you embrace it for what it is, it’s an enjoyable experience where there’s plenty of fun and laughs to be had. Let’s roid up and punch into this Anarchy Reigns review!
Anarchy Reigns Plot:
Before firing up Anarchy Reigns, I wasn’t aware of the connection it had to the Wii console exclusive, “MadWorld”. Oops. At the time of writing this review, I haven’t played MadWorld, so I hope it didn’t spoil the experience too much for me. Instead of a direct connection, it’s more of a spiritual successor, so hopefully, I’m in the clear for any major spoilers if I choose to play MadWorld at some point.
The game takes place in some alternate version of Earth. Due to pollution or chemicals, the majority of humans have transformed into mutants who have organized gangs. Much of the world is left in ruins and only a few remain. Along with the humans that have become mutants, there are plants and new species that terrorize the living.
Anarchy Reigns features two main playable characters. There’s Jack Cayman who was from MadWorld. He takes the shape of an enormous roided-out angry middle-aged man. His biceps are bigger than my body and he’s one grumpy SOAB. (Son of a bitch, for those of you not familiar with acronyms) The other main playable character is Leo, he is the clone of Raiden from Metal Gear Solid. Okay, maybe not an exact clone but it’s clear he was inspired by Raiden from his suit, powers, hair, and passive nature.
Jack and Leo both have the same goal. They want to capture a man named Maximillian. Jack has been hired by Max’s daughter to capture him alive, but the twist is that Max killed Jack’s daughter. Leo on the other hand is Max’s former squad leader. He looks up to Max and is hesitant about why he has become a fugitive but wants to capture him alive and bring him to justice.
Character design is the strong suit of Anarchy Reigns. There are a few different characters that make their way into the story. All of them are distinct, all of them in the form of the early 2000s designs which are over-beefy, big-boobed, and full of spunk. I loved it. I miss this type of video game where everything isn’t serious or politically correct. All characters have terrible accents and their dialogue is cheesy.
Jack works with a pimp named Black Baron and his robotic hoe. Black Baron was just as awesome to witness as his lines left me smirking and laughing. He embellishes being the token Black character and embraces. One quick exchange with a ninja assassin has the Black Baron yelling “Ninja Please”. I’m sure you can use your imagination and put together the joke.
Leo and Jack battle it out a few times before realizing they have the same goal to track Max down. Jack reaches him first and is tempted to murder him for killing his daughter. (Understandable) Meanwhile, Leo has been having internal conflicts within his unit. His commander, a Russian man named Nikolai has been bickering about what to do with Max and why he has turned into a fugitive. Max has been accused of killing his wife, and Leo believes he is innocent.
After Leo and Jack defeat Max and are prepared to take him in to face justice, Nikolai storms the premise. He and Leo finished a battle against each other a few minutes prior after Leo becomes suspicious of him. Nikolai goes on a strange tangent about justice before being defeated by Leo and Jack. They take the remains of Nikolai’s body (he is part cyborg) and drag him back to have his day in court. Max is alive, and with the help of Leo walks back with them.
Anarchy Reigns Gameplay:
Anarchy Reigns is a throwback in terms of gameplay. If you played Fighting Force on the PS1, you’ll be right at home with what Anarchy Reigns offers. You’re presented cinematic intro video and then allowed to choose between Jack and Leo. Whoever you pick, you’ll play through their story and when theirs ends, you’ll start over at the beginning with the other character. When both stories are completed the game will wrap up with a conclusion mission that involves both main characters.
Just because you pick Jack or Leo doesn’t mean you’ll be playing with them the entire time. Anarchy Reigns allows you to select different fighters for missions as they team up with you. I didn’t stray from the main characters, but I liked the option.
Before completing the main campaign, I did the tutorial. I’m happy to say that it proved beneficial as I learned a few tricks of the trade. Locking on an opponent is a must as chaos ensues all around you during the brawls. If there’s a boss, you’ll want to lock onto them to avoid punching the wrong enemy. Each character has their unique skillset and moves. Jack came with a killer chainsaw (Yes, I liked it) and Leo had strange blue blades on his arms and legs. After landing enough punches and kicks you can use these moves to deal massive damage. You are also given a rage meter similar to God of War. Fill it up and unleash it to become invincible for about 20 seconds and destroy anyone in your way.
There are 24 missions for Jack and Leo to complete. Missions are spread between four worlds and split into two categories. There are the side missions that are completely ridiculous like shoving huge balls into nets or delivering briefcases within a time limit. Main missions push the plot forward and were my favorite. To play the main missions you’d have to unlock them by completing the side missions and scoring points. Points were used to unlock missions. Sometimes I was forced to replay side missions to earn more points to unlock main missions.
Combat wasn’t difficult. It revolves around pushing the same button over and over. The harder enemies were the ones that kept a guard up but once you break it, they are easy to defeat. I was defeated only a few times throughout Anarchy Reigns’ review. Something I didn’t do but I believe would be tons of fun is the multiplayer. There are many characters to choose from and it would be great to learn their moves or play against friends.
I picked up Anarchy Reigns very cheap. Reading the mostly negative reviews didn’t spark my interest in playing it. It wasn’t until I grew a bit burned out on cognitive skilled games that I wanted a change of pace. To my surprise, I loved playing through Anarchy Reigns as it refreshed my brain by making any activity mind-numbing. (No, really I needed this type of experience!)
Anarchy Reigns Review Score:
As the main character, Jack, Anarchy Reigns is rough around the edges. The dialogue is laughable and the character mouth movements make you think you’re watching a poorly dubbed movie. Characters are designed in a throwback form, and the entire game is nothing but just beating people up and completing silly challenges. All this said if you think this game will be a disaster you are sorely mistaken! I had way too much fun playing through it and learning about the characters. Don’t expect the Mona Lisa, and you’ll learn to love this game. It’s the perfect example of a low-budget but FUN game.
Anarchy Reigns scores a 7.3 out of 10.
What are your thoughts on Anarchy Reigns? Who was your favorite character to fight with? What did you think of the designs? Which mission was your favorite? Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to read them. If you’d like to own a used copy of Anarchy Reigns for the PS3 you can purchase a used copy of it on eBay for over $5.