E3 2011: Anarchy Reigns Preview – You Don't Know Jack...
Written Thursday, June 16, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
It's no surprise to learn that in Platinum Games' Anarchy Reigns, rules are there only to be broken. That's according to Kagasei Shinomura, Producer at SEGA Japan who with Game Designer on the Platinum Games side, Hirono Sato is on hand to take us through the multiplayer-centric brawler, which stars Jack from MadWorld on its black side and his rival from that very game, Leo on the white side. Anarchy Reigns is a game of two halves in two respects then, with a mission-based offline campaign story mode sitting alongside the game's online multiplayer, with the story-driven aspect telling the same narrative from two divergent perspectives.
There's a variety of characters to choose from, each of which provide “different gameplay possibilities” says Shinomura, as he fires up the game, revealing the character selection screen where the eight announced fighters reside alongside a further nine locked spaces for what we assume will be additional combatants. Once you've picked your fighter, there are several outfit colours to choose from, before jumping fist-first into the action, which in this case is the second black mission entitled 'Enter the Ninja'.
In this particular mission, Jack and his black team buddies Blacker Baron and his S&M assistant Mathilda encounter Zero, the cyber ninja with twin katanas and an army of ninja minions at his beck and call. As the trio waltz into the arena, a cut-scene introduces Zero as he leaps from a rooftop into the fray and Jack lays into him with his chainsaw while Mathilda and Baron provide support against the other ninjas. Multi-directional, fast-paced combat is the order of the day in Anarchy Reigns, but you'll also need to employ a modicum of strategy with your moves and fight together as a team in multiplayer. In the offline single-player mode however, your buddies are AI controlled, but seem to be more than capable of taking care of themselves.
As you'll have no doubt seen in the numerous gameplay trailers for Anarchy Reigns, the action is quick and frenetic, with plenty of flashy pyrotechnics in the typical, inimitable Platinum Games style. Animations look slick and fluid, and the action is immediate, gratifying and most importantly of all, fun. Defeating Zero unlocks him in the rest of the game, so you'll be able to take him online for multiplayer, where you can either play as a lone wolf and attempt to take down enemies on your own, or team up with friends to tackle more skilled players. Multiplayer will bring with it Battle Royale, Deathmatch and Survival Modes at the very least, with more match types to be announced at a later date.
The second part of our demo drops us straight into a cut scene where a meeting between the gruff Jack and villainous pretty boy Leo takes place in a rainy, derelict airplane graveyard where the fuselages of jets and discarded engines litter the arena. The two exchange stern words in a cut-scene, with plenty of gravelly-voiced dialogue (Steve Blum reprises his voiceover role as Jack) and dramatic camera angles, before the inevitable duel breaks out. It seems slightly off-pitch when Platinum Games' Sato affirms that this kind of cinematic is indicative of the game's serious tone, as it's hard to take a conversation between a robot-armed effeminate fellow and a musclebound, cigar chomping brute with a chainsaw mounted to one arm seriously at all. Still, it sets up the ensuing battle appropriately and creates a certain degree of tension to frame the action, so in that sense these sequences work just fine.
Leo and Jack have a history that harks back to MadWorld, so there's clearly unfinished business there, making the fight an intense one as Leo's glowing blue Positron Blades crackle with energy as he tears into Jack, while Jack's Gator Tooth chainsaw glows bright orange and strikes Leo with white hot sparks. It's pretty epic stuff it must be said, and as you'd expect from Platinum, it looks quite spectacular. To fully understand these portions of the story, Sato says that you'll need to play the campaign from both the black and white sides to tie together the narrative strands, so it appears that there'll be adequate longevity in the single-player mode. Approximately ten hours or so, apparently.
Multiplayer will be where it's at though, and it's where the 360-degree brawling and light strategy should come into its own. On the surface, it seems like button-mashing is an acceptable thing in Anarchy Reigns, when in fact there's a time and a place to draw your weapon, as there's a durability level to keep your eye on, and allowing it to wear down will dull its impact. Blocking and close-quarters rumbling plays its part in proceedings too, and you're also able to pick up and throw certain chunks of scenery. There's even power-ups and environmental aspects to take into consideration, which should ensure that Anarchy Reigns' fighting action remains fresh fight after fight. Shinomura and Sato bring the demo to an end and assure us that the characters in Anarchy Reigns, though all remarkably different, will all be balanced accordingly to make sure that the game is as fair as possible.
We finish by asking whether we can expect to see cameos from other Platinum Games' characters, like maybe Bayonetta when Anarchy Reigns launches... Sato replies with a coy, but nonetheless positive response, stating that “future additional fighters are possible”. Anarchy Reigns is looking good and the roster of fighters is genuinely exciting, but if you factor in the potential for cameos from other Platinum characters, then Anarchy Reigns could well be something rather special indeed.
Anarchy Reigns is slated for release in January 2012.