“Read my review, baby”
Game: Anima: Gate of Memories
Developer: Anima Project Studio
Publisher: BadLand Games/PQube
(Review code provided by publisher)
Anima Gate of Memories is a third person Action RPG that starts off quite promising. The story is pretty basic and you play as a girl named “The Bearer” and her sidekick Ergo. Both characters belong to a pact knows as Nathaniel and are given a quest to obtain an important relic known as the Byblos. They then find themselves transported to another place. with each not knowing how they got there.
The first thing I noticed when starting the game is the D-Pad does not work when selecting menu choices; a small issue some might say but still in this generation of games I have not played any where this is an issue. The analog stick is usually sensitive so usually you end up overstepping a choice but this doesn’t happen here which is good but still it would of made sense just to allow the D-Pad to work. No matter how much I access the menu I still cant seem to get used to using the analog. That being said let’s move on to the actual game.
You arrive in a dark street and are free to move around. You are given tutorials as you progress along on the controls for example how to roll; attack and jump; you do jump amazingly high and the way the screen pans was wierd on my eyes at first but you do get used to this. The high jumping makes more sense as platforms appear high up with items that can be obtained aswell as being a mandatory part of combat.
The battle system is made up of attacking, firing projectiles, combo moves and dodging. All these skills you will need to learn and make the most out of using at the right time. The difficulty in this game is immense and one of the hardest games I have come across in a while. Both the combat and difficulty is very similar to that of Devil May Cry; there are 2 modes that I was able to choose from; Easy and Normal; I picked Normal and compared to other games this mode is difficult so if you think that Normal difficulty will be manageable then I advise to think again and pick Easy as even on this mode, I struggled countless times!
While this is a hack and slash game; it is not in your best interest to just hack and slash as you will die a lot! You have to learn how to dodge, rush up to enemies then get a few hits in, retreat and then repeat. Sometimes you will be surrounded by 8 enemies at once all firing beams at super speed and you have to dodge all of them while picking off each enemy one at a time. Fighting less enemies is no easier feat however; I found myself at the top of a cliff where behind me had become sealed off and I had to fight 3 very creepy looking eyes firing beams at me; not only was I in a confined space but the camera panned out and was in a fixed position. Once I had beaten them a new door had opened and I could continue.
I did enjoy these set pieces and they added an extra layer of depth and difficulty to the game. While the game draws you in easily; it is very soon and apparent that you need to buckle down and not mess around. All of your skills are needed to progress anywhere in this game. While mobs of enemies can be hard the boss fights are on a much higher level. You will use your recovery items here but still they are not always enough as they regenerate your health over time and not in an instant. These Items can be registered to the directions of the D-Pad, holding in the D-Pad will then use that item after a short delay. The delay works both in and against you as in a difficult situation the time it takes to use an item could cost you your life but also stops you accidentally using an item when you didn’t need to.
Killing mobs give you EXP which count towards leveling up and they also drop health orbs which replenish some much needed health for your character. Characters can obtain new Skills once they have leveled up by using Skill Points. There is a very simple to understand Skill Tree which branches off onto more powerful skills and abilities. By developing two adjacent skills that are connected you can unlock the potential of that skill line; for example Critical will increase a character’s Critical Percentage.
Skills are linked to 3 different stances which the character is currently in. An example would be If The Bearer is just standing still she can perform a blessing buff by pressing the button it’s aligned to. If she is in the air or mid combo attacking an enemy the skill aligned to that button will do something else.
The Bearer and Ergo have their own Life Points; Skill Trees aswell as Weapons and Artifacts but Ki and Magic Points are both shared. Switching between both characters happens very often as some enemies are pure light that only The Bearer can defeat while some are pure darkness which only Ergo can defeat. This can get annoying very quick as most packs of enemies have both types in the fray and most of the time you are switching between both to fend them off; you could avoid them altogether if you feel like it as fighting isn’t always necessary.
The game also goes on record for having the quickest loading for a game over screen I have ever seen. If either characters fall in battle you are instantly shown a screen where you can either go back to the last checkpoint and try again or go to the main menu. The trouble is there is no telling when your character will fall in battle and you are instantly distracted when you are at low health as you don’t know if the next one or two hits will take you to the screen. After your character reaches zero health there is no animation of them collapsing; no rest time before a game over screen; while it’s nice that we are wanted to get back into the game as soon as possible this just makes the game feel rushed and cheap.
The soundtrack and sound is definitely one thing that saves this game as well as a very simple and easy to understand map that clearly shows current location and exit points as soon on in the game it can get very confusing knowing where you came from and where you’re trying to get to.
The voice acting in this game suffers greatly; while The Bearer doesn’t sound too bad, the voice for Ergo is plain awful and the constant use of him using “oh Baby” when conversing with The Bearer does it no favours at all. It makes sense why the girl is called The Bearer because not only is she almost on the verge of indecent exposure she is the character that is most bearable out of the two; Ergo should of been named Ego because that perfectly describes his personality.
Anima: Gate of Memories does suffer with some flaws; however they are minor otherwise it’s genuinely a fine game that looks great and has a nice difficulty curve to draw in many types of gamers. While it feels very polished in both gameplay and presentation there are some things that could of been improved to make this game really shine.
Agree with everything you said there Aaron. Top Review!.