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Reflections: Anarchy Reigns

Anarchy Reigns officially got released outside of Japan earlier this month, in what was a very long overdue release. When it was released last year as Max Anarchy in Japan, it was actually very import friendly as the text and dialogue could be switched to English with ease, not to mention the game was region free. In other words, just about anyone could enjoy the game but it was quite the pricey import from Japan. After numerous unnecessary delays, the game eventually did get an international release, but to make up for the long wait Sega decided to release it at a budget price of $30 (even less in some places), with many copies coming with a free code to download Bayonetta as a playable character. Not bad at all, and for that price you can't go wrong. Patience is virtue I suppose.

After clocking the single player and having some online multiplayer sessions with friends, I have to say that not only was this a great release considering its bargain $30 price-tag, but had I spent $90+ last year importing the Japanese version then I honestly would not have been disappointed. I enjoyed my time with Anarchy Reigns, and will continue to do so in online multiplayer. 

Anarchy Reigns oozes with that distinct Platinum Games aesthetic, that unique cool and edgy charm that can be found in other games developed by the studio, mainly Bayonetta, Vanquish, Mad World, and the upcoming Metal Gear Rising. It has the same aesthetic and aural vibe to it, not to mention very similar style of character portrayal and narration.

While the single player of Anarchy Reigns does not get much praise, I actually enjoyed it for what it was, because it certainly pulls of its intended design and structure quite soundly. The world presented is interesting, a very cool cyberpunk setting with vividly zany and over the top characters. It's hard not to dig the character designs of the game, and the way they are portrayed in such a charmingly cheesy manner. The dialogue is fun and loaded with foul language, but genuinely hilarious at times. As crazy and corny as it appears, the underlying plot is actually quite meaningful and well worth experiencing. 

The combat system is a ton of fun, the single player does a nice job showing you the ropes and preparing you for the truly chaotic and always exciting multiplayer. The single player mode has some interesting boss battles, but rest assured these bosses randomly appear during online multiplayer matches without warning. The combat system is quite varied and pretty much utilizes every button on the game pad, similar to Bayonetta but with plenty of cool hooks of its own, such as being able to hijack vehicles. 

What stands out the most is the amazing soundtrack, easily among the best I've heard in this console generation. It features a wide selection of upbeat and fully vocal rap songs that simply ooze with personality and charm. It's a pretty hard hitting score that really gets you in the mood for some chaotic brawls.

Amusingly enough, a friend of mine asked me "Does this game remind you of Streets of Rage?"...and it suddenly hit me, Anarchy Reigns is very much a modern Streets of Rage, in particular the old school brawler design and the intoxicating upbeat soundtrack. 

Anarchy Reigns, for its bargain price-tag...unmissable.

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