Anima Gate of Memories – Review
Follow Genre: Beat-em-up
Developer: Anima Project
Publisher: Badland Games
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Anima Gate of Memories – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: The feel of combat, interesting backstory
Bad: Backtracking, poor level design
User Score
6.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Anima Gate of Memories is an arcade beat-em-up, which pits stereotypical Asian characters versus all kinds of evil creatures. Bearer of Calamities, a young girl without a name or a past will team with an evil book, Argo, which turns into a sexy and edgy young man to destroy what regular mortals cannot.

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Story

You follow the adventures of „Bearer of Calamities”, a young girl, whose name and past have been wiped away when she made a pact to be the master of a demon sealed into a book. The book is a sexist dick. It, or „he”, calls the protagonist „baby” and frequently insults npc’s you encounter throughout the game. It would add some character to it but its lines aren’t really good and poke you in the eyes rather than make you smile.

The story in Anima GoM is extremely complicated and twisted into memories collectible throughout the game, then labelled in the journal. It behoves to pay attention to them, as the names of places and characters are used as ciphers to unlock new areas. At the beginning of the game you are attacked by „The Red Lady”, and an anonymous, edgy guy, who talks about being too late. When you start anew with your powers wiped clean you’re in a huge building, which others cannot enter, although they can manifest inside to relay to you that exact info. There’s the douche book Ergo, „the Order”, „The Lady”, who is a goddess, act, or wing, bosses and their various interdimensional and artificial minions. Of all those characters, the book’s and bosses’ stories seem to be the most appealing.

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Graphics

At first glance, one might think that creators of Anima GoM played and loved the Harry Potter games from early 2000’s, as the game looks a lot alike. Textures, locations and overall ambience feel like a remastered HP game with some out-of-the-box character improvements. The models and textures are very simple, and the game feels like it would make 2005 feel inadequate, if it were released in 2005. What stands out almost immediately are the empty spaces. There are far too little random little things, which would make the world feel more alive and interactive. Character models are cell-shaded giving them that cartoony look, which works for some, but it just looks weird, when just the characters stand out in that way. When interacting with npc’s the game focuses on the two with the dialogue displayed on the bottom, a solution tried and true. What’s surprising is that the characters’ mouths don’t even pretend to move, which kills the illusion instantly.

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Sound

Get ready for the battle tune sample, cause you’ll be hearing it a lot and it’s not very long. Even in places where combat is a random event, it’ll just loop away leaving you wondering if you’ve missed something. It’s not bad, which helps a lot, but it could use some variation. The rest of the tunes melt nicely into the background. The sounds of combat fit the characters and enemies nicely, making the fights feel rather pleasant audio-wise. The biggest problem with the game’s sound is the voice acting. For the love of god, somebody buy the studio some pop filters.

Gameplay

As canon of beat-em-up games requires, you start off the game in a destroyed town, playing as the Bearer of Calamities herself, laying some major hurt on some very unlucky minions. Your reward for killing monsters is exp and currency, which you can spend on weapons, accessories and consumables at a merchant, who will also buy items you don’t have a use for anymore.  One would think the tutorial would be the safe space to practice the game before really getting into it, but one would be wrong in this case. Right off the bat you’re thrown at the mercy of forced perspective and some really awkward level design.

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You control two characters between which you can switch instantly without a cooldown – The Bearer and Argo – your douche book companion. You can chain combos by switching between them on the fly and while their skills and movement look nothing alike, the utility is literally the same, with some differences coming in later in the game. Both of them have a dodge, an auto locking dash, a ranged energy blast, and a launcher attack to knock enemies into the air. The levelling system allows you to unlock active skills and passive boosts to help you on your path to cleansing the place. In various locations you find weapons and accessories, which improve your combat and defence stats, but are not displayed on the characters in any way.

The combat itself feels satisfying and awkward at the same time. Due to the sound and visual effects the hits you land feel like they carry some weight behind them, but the combat itself doesn’t flow. Your character will stop after a dodge, will take a moment to recover from a jump and will again stop after a combo.

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What really kills the momentum and fun of the game is all the backtracking one must do in order to progress. The enemies respawn every single time you enter a room or a corridor, which aren’t big, which only adds to the hurt and artificially increases the game’s length.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say whether the creators wanted to appeal to the hardcore DMC/Dark Souls masochists or the casual crowd, but sadly the game’s not hardcore enough to appease the former and too frustrating to bring in the latter. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either, it falls somewhere in the middle. If only it were published in 2005, the outlook would’ve been much better.

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Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Anima Gate of Memories – Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
JumpinJesus


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