That helicopter never stood a chance. Bulky Jack Cayman leaped to its underside, fired missile ammunition by punching it, unloaded with the chain gun, and then utilized a piledriver to finish. That’s logic in Anarchy Reigns.
Of course, these moments come after a fight with a missile launching, electrified Kraken, or a timed race through a course littered with mutated humans. They’re fodder used to slow Cayman down, not much else. Cayman is a chaser, a bounty hunter in a world left reeling from nuclear warfare, most humans requiring mechanical body parts to function.
In this mixture is a narrative that clumsily tries to structure itself without any tonal discipline. Anarchy celebrates the pulverizing of deformed beings, and then expects emotion over a cemetery sequence dealing with the loss of a daughter. Cayman’s visit to a gravesite seconds after a fight with a gold-plated, self-admitted stereotype pimp is laughable.
If the name Jack Cayman is familiar, you’ve either played or followed the saga of Wii exclusive Mad World. Admitted or not via marketing, this is the sequel, minus the tough black-and-white art style. Intact though is the helicopter jacking, car throwing, weapon spearing violence. Heinous acts are dulled by a general lack of blood, so deformed is this rabid populace of the planet they’re bleeding purple.
The game is instantly familiar via a powerful, albeit loose combat system that ekes in enough substance to garner a pass. Brawls stretch across multiple selectable characters as the two-sided campaign runs on, serving as an unlock fest for the multiplayer.
Anarchy Reigns, no matter the proficiency in duck/dodge/punch/throw combat, fails to find a structural groove. Much of the game is laid out over open worlds representing countries, these non-mission oriented sequences aimless short of scoring. The goal is gain points, unlocking the next side quest or story bit. Scoring poorly within the mission means spending time replaying for better rewards, or grinding it out in street chaos until the next stage icon appears. The “open” world has little reason to exist outside of acting as time filler.
Often stunted, the title will wear itself down despite wisely limiting itself in mission length, cheeky dialogue told through talking head models that barely understand the basic concepts of narrative delivery. Anarchy Reigns will tire itself out if you’re an under performer, although you’ll gloss over the thick of the energy sap if you are gaining platinum scoring runs in each mission.
The game sells itself on its title, total anarchy celebrated through nonsense such as random aerial bombing runs, black holes, rogue vehicles, and poison gas. What little these events add to the experience they more than chip away at the whole. In the midst of battling crowds of varied foes, you’ll also be contending with an erratic camera and scattered level design. Finding exists or platforms needed to access basic progression can often be a chore as Anarchy continues to shovel in lackeys from the nether regions of the title’s code.
Augmented with metal fists or high-priced machinery for the rich, the uncontrolled chaos of online versus combat – across an array of modes that seem odd for a melee fighter – will appeal to a small swatch of the community looking for something new. While the odd third-person shooting will appear via power-up guns, much of the insane pacing is derived from fisticuffs. Teams plow into each other, seeking explosive debris, cars to throw, or sneaky combos to execute. Although similar to Capcom’s Power Stone offerings, Anarchy is missing the sense of control. It is too wild and too haphazard to truly enjoy.
Selling itself by being sexy with an edge, Anarchy Reigns succumbs to its overbearing weirdness and purposeful lack of cohesion. Splattering punks with metal fists has its delirious charms until it crumbles under its own anarchist attitude.