Game Review: ‘Anima: Gate of Memories’ (PS4 Version)
Well, isn’t this exciting! I’ve never been sent a game to review before! Books, movies, comics, podcasts…never a game. And I love games! Let’s take a look at Anima: Gate of Memories!
The name actually did strike a chord with me. Anima was a Kickstarter project based on a paper RPG game. Having been successfully funded this digital adaptation promises fast paced combat and exploration of the fantasy world developed through the original game series. Unfortunately for people not already invested in the title there are quite a few frustrations that get in the way of the experience.
Everything starts well enough. The combat features visually impressive moves that bounce the enemies about (at least, they did at first…you get it all stripped down after the prologue). The main combat mechanic that distinguishes this from similar titles in the genre is the ability switch between the two characters with the click of a button. This is fun trick to pull if you’re in a corner, but the characters are almost identical so it doesn’t changes things up much. If the characters had different styles of combat, or differed greatly in their attributes, this might’ve been more interesting.
The central concept of the plot involves mystical demon type folks who are the living embodiment of magical books, and their keepers who are part of a mystical society. The beginning of the game is a huge infodump of backstory and plot. It feels like it’s aimed at the players already familiar with the lore rather than newbies. This can leave some feeling a bit lost.
Design and presentation is the game’s best feature. The world looks interesting and the characters are distinctive and well designed. The attacks are all have some cool particle effects so it feels like everything you’re doing packs a punch.
Unfortunately the camera is not a team player. Quite often during challenging combat sequences the camera will follow a pre-scripted zoom out to a dramatic angle making it almost impossible to distinguish your character from the mess of bad guys. In order to progress you have to mash buttons until the sequence comes to an end. It’s even worse when facing platforming sequences, leaving you to jump into space with fingers crossed or try to judge distances without having the camera in a spot that allows depth perception.
The Devil May Care approach to the gameplay and the anime aesthetic don’t do a great deal to endere the game to us, but that’s a personal choice. It’s neither a genre or a style that has ever appealed to this player. If you’re a fan you’ll get more out of Anima than we did.
Whilst it has some good elements to it, this wasn’t our cup of tea. With more variation to the combat and a decent camera we may have happily skirted through it without paying the plot much attention, but as it is the frustrations outweigh the fun.